Shopping for baby goods as new parents can be pretty overwhelming. 

Should I get regular bottles? Anti-colic(hyperlink to colic article) ones? Glass ones? Bottles with vents? Wide neck? Natural bottles? Angled bottles? Do brands matter or will a cheap one do?

Let’s face it, we were once first-time parents and have experienced the bombardment of new baby products in the market. We stress over what is best, but the truth is when it comes to types, there are no right or wrong answers because nobody can predict what your bundle of joy will need or prefer. 

However, there are some important pointers to consider when buying that first bottle for your little one ⏤ even if friends and family swear by certain brands. You will also note that even as you browse through the milk bottle isle, most reputable brands emphasise that they are BPA-Free. 

So let us address the elephant in the room by discussing what is all the FUSS about BPA free products and why are most parents are gearing towards them. 

What does it mean to be BPA free and is it harmful or not? Should parents only choose BPA free products? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.  

What is BPA?

BPA stands for bisphenol A, which is an industrial-grade chemical used when making certain plastics and resins. It is also found in polycarbonate plastics that get turned into consumer goods such as containers that store food and beverages. This includes infant milk bottles as well unless it is stated otherwise.

You see the very first baby bottles ever used were made of glass. They were heavy, difficult to carry around and broke easily. Just imagine dropping one during a night feed! Oh, the horror!

So plastic bottles were introduced as the more convenient, light-weight and durable solution. Parents started reaching for plastic feeding bottles and all of a sudden nobody wants to use glass bottles anymore! They became a thing of the past, even though they contain zero chemicals which means no leaching.

However, the same cannot be said about the early plastic bottles. Research has shown that as plastic bottles are made from synthetic chemicals, these chemicals can leak from the bottles and even more so when exposed to heat. When ingested, BPA, looks like estrogen to the body and this can really mess things up in your system. 

Sadly it is so easy to be affected because we are exposed to BPA every day. In fact, experts found an increase of up to two-thirds of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in the urine of their test subjects who drank from polycarbonate drinking bottles for just a week! Too much exposure to this chemical has been known to cause negative health effects in animals and humans which is why it is banned in countries like France, Canada, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden.

Effects of BPA

The outcome of having too much BPA in the body varies from person to person, but for infants and children, here are some of the negative effects:

  • Disruption in brain development
  • Possible behavioural problems in toddlerhood for example hyperactivity or attention disorders
  • A higher risk of obesity
  • Prone to asthma
  • Inhibits proper development of the ovaries for females

But it is not only our children that are at risk. Adults too are not spared – more so if you are an expecting mother.

From cardiovascular disease and diabetes the list does not end here. Below are some other possible issues to be concerned about:

  • Thyroid problems
  • Prostate gland problems
  • Increased risk of breast or prostate cancer
  • Increased levels of liver enzymes
  • Miscarriages
  • Reproductive problems for males

The FUSS about BPA Free Products and how can we stay Safe

Would we still be asking this question if we were aware of the possible health dangers? I think not. Especially since BPA is pretty harmful to babies and pregnant women where development is at its peak. I am sure plenty of us would rather be safe than sorry.

But if BPA is everywhere around us, how then can we possibly avoid being in contact with it? 

Choose BPA free, Glass or Stainless Steel Storage options

One way is to minimise the amount of contact with plastic, especially when storing milk, food and beverage that we feed our little ones. Look out for BPA free feeding bottles from Philips Avent as well as cups and water bottles from our Nuby range. 

Expecting mums can switch to glass, ceramic or stainless steel food storage containers. Ensure that your plastic storage containers are BPA free be it for everyday use or storing baby food. Glass water bottles and baby bottles are also making a come back. Now they come paired with coloured silicone sleeves that go over the bottles to protect it.

Avoid eating canned food

The biggest reason you should limit your canned food intake is because the resin coating on the inside also contains BPA. If for whatever reason fresh food is not an option, you are still better off getting frozen compared to canned and prepackaged food that uses the same resin coating. 

Prepackaged food kept in glass jars is a lot safer although you are more likely to find more canned goods in Malaysia. Of course, the odd canned food every now and then doesn’t mean the end of the world for everyone. As long as you keep them to a minimum and avoid it as much as you can when you’re expecting or trying for a baby, it should be alright.

Never microwave plastic

Of course, you should never reheat milk bottles containing milk in the microwave, be it formula or breastmilk. But even reheating everyday food stored in plastic should be avoided as well. If you need to reheat anything, transfer it to a glass, porcelain or any microwave safe container that is not plastic. 

When in doubt

When unsure, avoid plastics marked with recycling codes 3 or 7 because those may contain polycarbonate plastics. And of course, use your own discretions when the plastic containers are unmarked. 

Does BPA remain in the body forever?

Thankfully the answer is NO. BPA flushes out of your body pretty quickly within a day or two provided you do not continue to be in contact with it. So making an effort to avoid it as much as possible really does make a difference.

Remember that you are in control when making these choices, so do not be so quick to say any old cheap or used plastic milk bottle will do. Choose what is safe and healthier for your loved ones. The right choice might mean a brighter future for your family. Remember to check out Philips Avent and Nuby’s BPA free range! They are all BPA free and remember to keep an eye out for our CarrotClub loyalty stickers! Start collecting them today!