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Chemical Leaches From Baby Bottles

The jury's officially out on whether and exactly how a commonly used chemical called bisphenol A is hazardous for our health. The chemical, known as BPA, is used in polycarbonate plastics. These plastics are used in many products in our lives including baby bottles and sippy cups. While the chemical has been shown to cause reproductive problems in animals, a National Institutes of Health's panel last year decided that more research needs to be done to assess the health effects on people who have been exposed to BPA. In a 2007 CDC study, 93 percent of the people tested showed exposure to BPA; the levels of the chemical in urine were highest in children.

New on the BPA front this week is a study released in Canada yesterday that confirms last year's reports that BPA leaches into liquids in some polycarbonate baby bottles, according to the Globe and Mail.

"Environmental Defence tested brand name Gerber, Avent and Playtex polycarbonate baby bottles, checking three from each manufacturer. It found all of them released BPA when heated to 80 degrees, although all three of the Gerber bottles and one of the Avent bottles had no detectible levels in fluids stored at room temperature. All the Playtex products leaked BPA, regardless of whether they were heated or not."

Buying BPA-free bottles and sippy cups is possible, though it's likely to cost you more. For a rundown of products with and without BPA, take a look at this comprehensive list of bottles, sippy cups and pacifiers at Z Recommends.

Are you worried about your children's exposure to chemicals? How do you balance these concerns with daily life?

This Week's Talkers: Pregnancy Does Cause Memory Loss, Study Says ... Gross! ... Hyper Kid? Sleep Apnea May Be the Culprit ... Super-Successful Siblings: Is It Nature or Nurture? ... R-Rated Valentine's Day Cards for Kids Pulled ... Unrecruited Prospect Admits to Hoax ... Family's Struggle: All Six Kids Are Autistic ... Nature Tops Nurture For Heavy Kids, Study Says

Recent Recalls: Kids II Crib Toys ... Toy Gardening Rakes ... eeBoo Sketch Books ... Hooded Sweatshirts ... Trek Girls Bicycles ... Egg Shaker Toy Instruments

By Stacey Garfinkle |  February 8, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Babies
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Comments


makes me glad I nursed! Dontcha love how this stuff is totally safe until its not.

Posted by: Moxiemom | February 8, 2008 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Me, too, Moxiemom. Makes me very happy with the choice I made to nurse. Better living through chemistry was not the way my baby was going to go.

Slightly OT but since Stacey linked the article: Regarding the family where all 6 children are autistic, why oh WHY did they keep trying after child number three? I mean it's heartbreaking but obviously there's something in their genetic makeup. Six healthy children would be insanity, but six autistic children sounds absolutely punishing.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 8, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Even if you plan to nurse until you're comfortable giving them glass to drink out of, you'd still have to avoid tupperware, sandwich bags, canned foods, frozen meals, tap water, bottled water, etc, etc, in order to keep your kids from encountering some sort of plastic that leaches some sort of chemical. No need to wag your finger at people who've given their kids bottles (possibly filled with breast milk), like all the working moms out there.

Posted by: atb | February 8, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm not wagging my finger, atb. I made my choice for my own reasons, and I assume others made theirs in a similar fashion. I had the ability and drive to breastfeed AND wasn't working. Why would I have bottlefed my child?

And the better living through chemistry was kind of meant to be tongue in cheek. As I tell my sister-in-law, the average life span has increased so tremendously and at least some of that must be due to the chemicals and preservatives we're getting in our food supply. :)

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 8, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm assuming you were nursing because you wanted to nurse, not because you were worried about the safety of bottles. In retrospect, you got lucky. It just reminded me of a statement I once read from a women who was having trouble losing baby weight. Once she heard that quickly losing weight means all the fat-soluble toxins are released into breast milk in a possibly dangerous bolus, she changed her tune. Suddenly she was proud of the baby weight she was hanging onto because it demonstrated how much more she cared for her baby than people who lose their baby weight quickly.

Posted by: atb | February 8, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

We had our first child 15 months ago and I am very upset by this. I'd been methodically boiling our Avent bottles to sterilize them only to find out that I could have been doing my child harm. We switched to Nuby's right before he turned one year old b/c they advertised that they were BPA free. But looking at the link provided, it seems like they're not to be trusted completely. Ugh. The companies claim that this is safe but I think we'll find out their research is either faulty or something new will come up, proving this is bad. I don't trust corporate America one bit and think that they bully the FDA to not test this any further.

Posted by: Bob | February 8, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

No need to wag your finger at people who've given their kids bottles (possibly filled with breast milk), like all the working moms out there.
----

No, the need is to feel superior and it reflects badly on them. but that's their need.

Everyone knows that chemicals are passed through breast milk too. Primarily because breast milk is organic chemicals.

Of course, BPA is hazardous to us how exactly?

Posted by: DCer | February 8, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

"Once she heard that quickly losing weight means all the fat-soluble toxins are released into breast milk in a possibly dangerous bolus, she changed her tune. "

Yike, thanks ATB now I have another thing to worry about.:)

Posted by: Irishgirl | February 8, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Even if you plan to nurse until you're comfortable giving them glass to drink out of, you'd still have to avoid tupperware, sandwich bags, canned foods, frozen meals, tap water, bottled water, etc, etc, in order to keep your kids from encountering some sort of plastic that leaches some sort of chemical. No need to wag your finger at people who've given their kids bottles (possibly filled with breast milk), like all the working moms out there. Jeeze people, own your decisions, instead of jumping at evey single perceived slight.

Posted by: atb | February 8, 2008 09:12 AM

Jeepers - sensitive today. Just saying that I'm glad I nursed - period - kind of like being glad you wear your seat belt when you hear about someone dying in a car accident w/o one. My honset intent was not to judge anyone who doesn't nurse, but there will always be those who hate anyone who likes and advocates nursing. Your animosity says more about how you feel about yourself than it does about me.

As an aside, I do serve my children most things in glass, not plastic. I use baby good jars for fruit at school. Son gets his milk in an old Worstershire sauce bottle (which also looks like a beer bottle - hee hee). I always did this mostly to be environmentally positive, but I'm glad that the side effect was that I've exposed my children to fewer chemicals.

Posted by: Moxiemom | February 8, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

DCer, I happen to be VERY proud that I breastfed my baby. I'm also sick of people (especially women who made other choices) trying to take that away from me. You can say what you want about chemicals passing through breastmilk, or the absence of vitamin D or whatever, I don't give a rat's a$$. I support any mother who chooses to formula-feed her child. So why should I be ashamed of doing what I thought was right for me?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 8, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Nursing doesn't solve everything. I pumped and you end up storing the milk in plastic bottles and plastic bags anyway. I almost forgot about the little plastic nipple guard that some people have to use to help the baby learn to suck better from the breast. Face it, sometimes, you gotta use plastic. Let's not play guilt trip on our bottle-feeding sisters. Everyone can't breastfeed.

Anyway, didn't a study show that women can have so many chemicals in her breastmilk, including rocket fuel??? I mean, if you smoke, live near a freeway and eat McDonald's everyday, your breastmilk may not be the cure-all you think it is anyway.

Skip the sippy cups. It's not good for their teeth. It's just as easy to teach your kid to drink from a straw (mine learned at one year). Let them practice drinking water (better than juice anyway and won't stain anything and very cheap).

Stay away from plastics in general and anything made in China! I'd rather eat a sandwich that was stored in tupperware than to buy my kid a happy meal that's loaded with sodium and crap. Nothing is completely safe, but we can use common sense. Know we are all doing our best!

Posted by: MDmom | February 8, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

By the way, not insulting the first poster, I'm just saying that we shouldn't get sidetracked by things that are out of our control.

You can control whether you give your kids healthy foods etc. But, as my mom told me, just being alive is a danger in itself because you could die!

Anyway, I don't think the dads are sitting around wringing their hands about whether little johnny drank out of a plastic cup or whatever.

So, as Oprah says, when you know better, you do better.

Posted by: MDmom | February 8, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Are sippy cups filled with water bad for teeth? My son won't drink juice to save his life, but he always has a sippy cup of water around. I hadn't heard it was bad for teeth... He can/will drink out of a straw, so should I switch away from sippies?

On-topic, I had also heard that the plastics issue was only a problem with clear plastics - is that not the case now either.

Too many things to worry about!!!

Posted by: runkara2 | February 8, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

To the person who said "everyone can't breastfeed".

Grammar aside, the only women who cannot breastfeed are those without mammary glands. There are very few who shouldn't breastfeed, such as women with AIDS, drug users, and so on. The total percentage of both groups comes out to about 1-3% of women.

There are plenty of women who won't breastfeed. This is very different from those who can't, and unfortunately it's a much larger number.

It is a choice that mothers make, to breastfeed or bottlefeed. It's not a matter of can't.

Posted by: bf consultant | February 8, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Great, another opportunity for bottle-haters to shower us with smugness. Whatever.

Posted by: CallMeSkeptical | February 8, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I think the greater debate is about the companies putting things out that are initially safe and then turn out to be dangerous - coupled with our willingness to embrace new, convenient stuff without much investigation.

Posted by: Moxiemom | February 8, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Must be Nursing Nazi Day.

Posted by: Jake | February 8, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Just nitpicking - Oprah may have said that, but she was quoting Maya Angelou

Posted by: Me | February 8, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

To bf consultant, give me a break.

Plenty of women don't produce enough milk or have to use prescription medication that leeches into breastmilk. It's not just AIDS sufferers and druggies who should not nurse.

More importantly, those who cannot nurse, and even those who simply don't want to nurse, do not need lectures from you.

Have a nice day.

Posted by: Bob | February 8, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Bob,

The "not producing enough milk" excuse is a myth. Those woman haven't gotten good enough instruction on how to establish breastfeeding with a newborn.

If a known contraindication (such as a medication) is identified, there are often options -- switching to a different medication is one of them that comes to mind.

Fact: Breastfed babies are healthier and so are their mothers. Find me a study that disputes it and then we can chat. Until then . . .

Posted by: bf consultant | February 8, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

My $0.02 on breastfeeding: It is empirically better for the health of your child. That does not mean that it is possible for everyone. Sometimes the health (mental, financial, or otherwise) of the mother and father has to come first. My baby was in the NICCU for 4.5 months and unable to take any food by mouth. I had planned to breastfeed but was reconsidering when the doctors told us that hospitals abound with viruses and that breastmilk would assist in protecting her from getting sick, which she could little afford in her condition. So I pumped for 5 months without ever having a baby at my breast (she is still fed through a tube in her stomach). Once we finally got her home, she was so sick she cried ALL THE TIME. My minor postpartem escalated to major. I had to plan to go back to work and deal with what was the worst time off in my entire life. I chose to stop breastfeeding 2 weeks after I got her home because I had to triage and prioritize and it was too difficult to pump for me. I made that decision knowing that it would be better for her nutritionally to wait at least one month more, but I had to choose my mental state and the time spent away from her pumping while she was crying against the benefits of breastmilk. I don't regret my decision. But neither do I need to take away from the decision of breastfeeding mothers that didn't have our complications or who would have been better able to sacrifice. Breastfeeding is better for the health of the baby. That certainly doesn't make breastfeeding mothers sanctimonious or judgemental. In summary, make your decisions, live with them, and don't criticize others who were able to do what you can't or don't want to. I aplaud them without feeling any guilt for my decision.

Posted by: LJB | February 8, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

runkara2 - I think that the previous poster meant that the sippy cup itself, the part that is sipped, is not ideal for palate-formation as your child is growing. When your child is old enough, ditch the sippy cups and go for a regular cup.

Water in a sippy cup is highly preferable to juice (when we're talking about teeth) anyday.

Posted by: harerin | February 8, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"Fact: Breastfed babies are healthier and so are their mothers"

Breastfed babies have higher rates of autism.

Posted by: Jake | February 8, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

This isn't a breast vs. bottle debate. It's an issue of giving your kids anything that's been in contact with plastics. Just because you've breastfed doesn't mean you're safe from plastics.

"Own my decisions," you say? Who's not? I'm just not eager for this issue to become another arrow holier-than-thous can launch at women who make different decisions than they do, like those who give their kids breast milk out of a bottle instead of out of the breast or in addition to the breast.

Irishgirl- I really don't think you need to worry. It wasn't supposed to be about toxins, it was supposed to be about how she latched on to a new idea and pretended that was her reason for her behavior all along. It went from "I can't lose the weight" to "I'm intentionally not losing weight because it's best for baby."

Posted by: atb | February 8, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Jake, that is a bunch of bull. Cite your sources.

Posted by: bf consultant | February 8, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The "not producing enough milk" excuse is a myth. Those woman haven't gotten good enough instruction on how to establish breastfeeding with a newborn

----

And your company can do it for them, BF Consultant. I see your spamvertising a mile away and you can take your business promotion elsewhere- like calling me up during dinner or mailing out postcards.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

"Own my decisions," you say? Who's not? I'm just not eager for this issue to become another arrow holier-than-thous can launch at women who make different decisions than they do, like those who give their kids breast milk out of a bottle instead of out of the breast or in addition to the breast.

If you truly owned your decisions, you wouldn't jump and perceive a slight where there was none. The simple statement "I'm glad I nursed" means just that. It is the insecurity of others with their choices that led them to read much more into that statement than was there. Besides being glad I nursed, I'm glad I have a happy marriage, I'm glad I have healthy kids, I'm glad to be of Swedish ancestry and I'm glad I'm not fat.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | February 8, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

You can be as proud as you want over any decision you make in life, it's a question of couth at this point. On a parenting chat, starting out with how proud you are that nursed only makes you look smug and opens the door to let people judge you. I'm proud I lost my pregnancy weight quickly, but do I say that in a group of new mothers? Of course not. I'm sure my friend is proud she was able to work out a telecommute situation. Would she say that in front of me, who is having trouble with work/life balance? Of course not. We're trying to teach our children to be empathetic and sensitive and realize that even as egocentric toddlers, there is a big world around them... it has to start with the parents.
Be proud. Wear a pin. Know that you are the Best because of your Breats, but maybe it's Bester to tailor your message to your demographic and think a bit about who is reading and how you sound... not to mention the subject matter you're writing about.
As far as the real topic today goes... we are really confused. Our daughter used Dr. Brown's bottles which we had planned to re-use this spring when #2 arrives. Our pediatrician gave us the thumbs up... now, we're thinking about the added expense of all new bottles... and throwing out our current sippies? It's really another tough one in a sea of tough questions. :(

Posted by: Mama | February 8, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Nice try, whoever you are at 11:09. I've been with the NIH for more than 10 years. Don't need a moonlighting job.

Posted by: bf consultant | February 8, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

bf consultant: I'm still not buying it.

"The "not producing enough milk" excuse is a myth."

Well, if it's a myth, tell that to the pediatricians. In the meantime, I'm more likely to believe a doctor than some random blog commenter.

"If a known contraindication (such as a medication) is identified, there are often options -- switching to a different medication is one of them that comes to mind."

If one medication will contaminate breastmilk, it would stand to reason that another medication to treat the exact same thing would also contaminate breastmilk.

"Fact: Breastfed babies are healthier and so are their mothers. Find me a study that disputes it and then we can chat. Until then . . ."

I think this is vastly overstated. To the point that you couldn't even notice the difference for an individual kid. Certainly not worth the stink made by the breast nazis.

Posted by: Bob | February 8, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

bf consultant

"I've been with the NIH for more than 10 years. Don't need a moonlighting job."

You DO need a personality transplant. Heil!

Posted by: Jake | February 8, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Healthy Breastfed babies with Smug Mommies vs. Healthy Bottle Fed (Horror?! Formula fed?) babies with Happy/Secure Healthy Mommies. Hmmm.... ? Which is going to do better in society?
Please. Back to the topic... ?

Posted by: Mama | February 8, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

If one medication will contaminate breastmilk, it would stand to reason that another medication to treat the exact same thing would also contaminate breastmilk.

This made me laugh out loud, Bob, thanks.

Hate away on me all you like, fellows. And do some research when you have children (maybe start with the AAP and WHO websites, Bob). New moms, ASK FOR HELP.

Posted by: bf consultant | February 8, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

So...Potentially we have companies producing products that come in contact with food that potentially could cause adverse affects in humans.

Potentially the FDA has allowed these products to be sold without warnings.

We could as a group of mothers, humans, stewards of the Earth work together to demand research to prove if these chemicals are not harmful and demand that the FDA be more stringent in regulating products that come in contact with food and water.

Or not.

People working together can be a powerful force.

Posted by: SadForOurFuture | February 8, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

amen, Mama.

you know, breast milk is a highly-contaminated food source precisely because so many factors in our environment work their way in. factors like... PBAs in plastics that we use everyday.

discuss.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

moxie, I was reacting to "Better living through chemistry was not the way my baby was going to go." I wasn't responding to you. She said it was tongue-in-cheek, but I initially read it like a pro-lifer calling a pro-choicer pro-abortion: intentionally inflammatory. I assume you think I regret my non-breastfeeding ways and that I feel your happiness with breastfeeding somehow belittles my formula feeding. Not so much. I breastfed and loved every minute of it. It was my favorite part of having an infant.

Posted by: atb | February 8, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

We could as a group of mothers, humans, stewards of the Earth work together to demand research to prove if these chemicals are not harmful and demand that the FDA be more stringent in regulating products that come in contact with food and water.

Sounds like everyone is more interested in arguing about breastfeeding. Arguing about breastfeeding will do little to change FDA policy - that's my finding.

ATB - o.k. point taken.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | February 8, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I should replace "factors" with "toxins:"

"you know, breast milk is a highly-contaminated food source precisely because so many TOXINS from our environment work their way in. TOXINS like... PBAs in plastics that we use everyday."

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Mama- You have 2 choices: BPA-free plastic bottles or glass bottles. I used the Gerber milky BPA-free bottles, and they are about a dollar a piece. MUCH cheaper than Dr.Browns. They don't have that fancy air system, but I never had any problems with gas. I didn't bottle feed until 4 months, though, so I don't know if it makes a difference in newborns. Replacing the sippies will be more expensive, but how many do you need? We run the dishwasher so much we only need a day's supply.

Anyone trying for a plastic-free household? It's almost impossible. We've gone mostly paper-free in the kitchen, but, like plastics, there is so much in PACKAGING.

Posted by: atb | February 8, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

moxie- I'm not picking on with this statement, but those baby food jar lids contain BPA, at least the Gerber ones. The stuff's EVERYWHERE in our food supply.

Posted by: atb | February 8, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I apologize for the smugness of my previous statements. I didn't mean to upset anyone or to lord it over people, though I see that's how it came across.

If I can get back on topic, atb, I would like to hear about your challenges with aiming for a plastic-free household. I started making a mental list of what would have to go and I think I'd be left holding a fork, the metal can opener we use when we go camping, and that's about it.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 8, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

moxiemom1

You're right that we're more interested in arguing about breastfeeding. Probably because it is a lot easier than doing anything about the underlying problem. The reality is that no matter how a child gets their food they will come in contact with these chemicals over the course of their lifetime. And we don't really know the impact of that exposure. It might be completely harmless, but we don't know. I believe we could find out if there is a danger if we all worked together.

Posted by: SadForOurFuture | February 8, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

It sounds like atb's challenge for a plastic-free home is a great start. We have tried to reduce our dependence on plastic, but we're still left with tons of those plastic lunch containers (Tupperware and the like). What do you recommend to replace them? What's worked for you that we can do too?

Posted by: SadForOurFuture | February 8, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

moxie- I'm not picking on with this statement, but those baby food jar lids contain BPA, at least the Gerber ones. The stuff's EVERYWHERE in our food supply

ATB - you are right, but it is a lot better than having the mandarin oranges sitting in plastic from factory to the lunch room. My theory with all of this stuff is, you do the best you can and a lot like exercise, every little bit helps. If diminish your use of plastic, the environment wins and so do you. You don't have to be perfect at it to get a benefit.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | February 8, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

The fact that discussion began with a full-on attack of a woman who simply stated that she was glad she nursed her babies is just sad. Every nursing mother deserves to enjoy and be proud of what she has done for her baby. Breastfeeding is better -- there's not one study or bit of evidence that proves otherwise. Some mothers overcome very difficult odds to breast-feed. I know I pumped several times a day at work and in the most unpleasant of places in order to ensure that my baby had the best nutrition possible when he wasn't with me-- and good breastfeeding comes with responsibility to eat well, to avoid toxins to the extent possible, and to remember always that you're still "ingesting" for two. Certainly, children can drink formula, but read the canister or bottle--talk about unnatural. Our world is full of toxins -- let's get back to the basics and remember that warm-blooded animals are intended to drink the milk their mothers make. Why not give a few pats on the back to those people who do the best possible for their babies?

Posted by: Seriously | February 8, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I'll give a pat on the back to people who are doing teh best for their children. But "best" is a continuum and based on a variety of factors - from reading stories at night time, to providing role models and nutrition and love and attention ... to being happy, healthy Moms and Dads ... etc. etc. etc. "Giving pats on the back to people who do the best for their babies" is a given, but not based on just one variable.

And... thanks for the heads up on the less expensive Gerber bottles. Definitley going to look into those.

Posted by: Mama | February 8, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe this argument is still going on - here and elsewhere. I find it hard to believe that the vast majority of mothers/families don't make the decision as to nursing or bottle-feeding based on what they believe is best for the collective whole of their families. If that is the case, then no one should need a pat on the back/slap on the wrist for that decision. Why is this a topic that so many people feel the need to share/impose their views on? Do what you think is best based on your own evaluation with your doctors' input, and be done with it.

Posted by: runkara2 | February 8, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

"Certainly, children can drink formula, but read the canister or bottle--talk about unnatural."

Do you use "natural" diapers?

Posted by: chittybangbang | February 8, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry I started that mess. All I meant was that your kids are going to ingest plastic whether or not they bottle feed. It's how our food is packaged, and it's bad news. Unfortunately, the best packaging alternative is glass, which is heavy, expensive to ship, and prone to breaking. Fresh produce is great, but I LOVE frozen veggies. I guess I could start buying those little square waxed paper packages. The eggs I like are in plastic, but I could get them at the farmers market and re-use the paper containers. Cheese? There are some paper-packaged cheeses. Irish cheddar comes to mind. I have glass pyrex storage containers, but the lids? You guessed it. Plastic. From what I understand, all metal cans are lined with plastic. Sandwich bags could be replaced by glass containers or foil. It's not easy. BTW, I'm not plastic free. I'm just looking for ways to get there.

Posted by: atb | February 8, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I apologize for the smugness of my previous statements. I didn't mean to upset anyone or to lord it over people, though I see that's how it came across.

------

And I also apologize for being flippant in my response to multiple posters.

Posted by: DCer | February 8, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Well when I was in school (this relates, promise) in grade four we did a whole unit on the state of things (solid, liquid, etc.) where the teacher broke 8 large mercury thermometers in front of the class and then we chased the little balls around for about 4 days.

I avoided large portions of tuna during my pregnancy.

I guess my point here is that you go on the information you have and do the best you can, but there will always be toxins and we will always be learning more about them on all sides.

Although I may be stupider than I would have been, or I may get cancer later from other things we did, I'm having a good life. I hope the same for my son. You can't live in fear or shame all day long of all the things you don't know yet, or didn't know then. You can't control all the variables, so do the best with the ones you know.

I used avent sippy cups and used to heat things in plastic in the microwave, but now we do neither.

Posted by: Shandra | February 8, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

It's not about imposing one's thoughts -- it's about the facts. The problem with today's society is that there are no moral imperatives anymore -- no rights and no wrongs. People tiptoe around worried that they'll offend someone if they state a true fact or make anything that appears to be a judgment. Formula--corn syrup and vitamins mixed together with cow's milk powder--is what they feed foundling puppies and kittens who arrive to shelters without their mothers. They either die or get this sub-standard food. Clearly, that's the best anyone can do for them. If people must make the decision to feed their kids sub-standard nutrition, than so be it -- this goes for formula, pre-packaged kid-cuisine for toddlers to having to make that unfortunate decision to stop at the Taco Bell on the PA turnpike because there are no more snacks in the car. I've done the Taco Bell thing, and I'll happily admit that it wasn't a good decision, because it wasn't. The point is that we need to reward and positively reinforce the healthy/right decisions in our society -- that's how our children learn best. Not this endless crap about how people do things differently and that it's a-okay. Let's teach our kids to strive for the best. And yes, I do use natural diapers -- they are cloth, but of course, I must use detergent to wash them. My babysitter, however, uses pampers -- like the poster who tries everyday to use less plastic, this is the best I can do, and it takes planning, work, and commitment -- for my baby, for our world, and I'm proud of it.

Posted by: Seriously | February 8, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Seriously

"Not this endless crap about how people do things differently and that it's a-okay. Let's teach our kids to strive for the best. And yes, I do use natural diapers -- they are cloth, but of course, I must use detergent to wash them. My babysitter, however, uses pampers -- like the poster who tries everyday to use less plastic, this is the best I can do, and it takes planning, work, and commitment -- for my baby, for our world, and I'm proud of it. "

What a hypocrite!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Breastfed babies have higher rates of autism."

Is this true? Can you give me some more information?

Also, my daughter would not latch and my milk did not come in until she was almost a week old. The docotor said not to give her formula, he was an idiot. Thank God for my mother who said to give that baby a bottle. My daughter lost half her birth weight and got jaundice.

So, the rant about "can't" breastfeeding as oppossed to won't is stupid. Some babies won't breastfeed and some mothers can't.

My boy breastfeeds and he eats all day and all night.

Posted by: Irishgirl | February 8, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Breastfeeding, sometimes called "nursing," can be a convenient and inexpensive way for a mother to feed her child. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Policy Statement on Breastfeeding, women who don't have health problems, like HIV, should exclusively breastfeed their infants for at least the first six months of life. AAP suggests that women try to breastfeed for the first 12 months of life because of the benefits to both mother and baby.

If a mother stops breastfeeding before the child is a year old, then she should feed her infant iron-fortified, commercially available formula. Health care providers advise women not to give their infants cow's milk until the child is at least a year old.

Breastfeeding offers many benefits to the baby. For instance, breast milk provides the right balance of nutrients to help an infant grow into a strong and healthy toddler. Some of the nutrients in breast milk also help protect an infant against some common childhood illnesses and infections, such as diarrhea and certain lung infections.

Some recent NICHD-supported research also suggests that breast milk contains important amino acids, protein building blocks, that help an infant's brain develop. Specifically, researchers discovered that two amino acids present in breast milk, which are currently not added to infant formula commercially available in the United States, may help infants to increase their cognitive skills. Infants who were fed formula with the two amino acids added scored higher on intelligence tests than infants whose formula lacked the nutrients. Further research is now underway to see whether adding these amino acids to infant formula is safe in the long-term. For more information on these and other findings, read the Institute's news releases about breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding also benefits the mother. In response to the baby's sucking, the mother's body releases a hormone that makes the uterus to contract. Many mothers also reap emotional benefits from breastfeeding because of the closeness of this interaction with the baby. Many societies and cultures also encourage mothers to breastfeed, which can offer support to a new mother.

Even though breastfeeding is a natural process, it's not always easy. Many health care providers suggest that women work with a lactation counselor or lactation specialist to learn how to breastfeed and to learn what is involved with breastfeeding. Many health centers, clinics, and hospitals have lactation counselors on staff. Ask your health care provider for more information about getting help with breastfeeding. Even with help, though, some women still have trouble breastfeeding.

In certain situations, health care providers advise a woman not to breastfeed. For instance:

A woman with certain health conditions, such as HIV or active tuberculosis, should not breastfeed because she risks transmitting the infection to her infant through her breast milk.
Women who actively use drugs or do not control their alcohol intake, or who have a history of these situations, may also be advised not to breastfeed.
Certain medicines, including some mood stabilizers and migraine medicines can also pass through the breast milk and cause harm to the infant.
Women with certain chronic illnesses may be advised not to breastfeed, or to take special steps to ensure their own health while breastfeeding. For example, women who have diabetes may need to eat slightly more food while they breastfeed, to prevent their blood sugar levels from dropping.
Women who have had breast surgery in the past may face some difficulties in breastfeeding.
If you have any health conditions, or you are taking any medications or over-the-counter supplements, you should discuss breastfeeding with your health care provider. The National Library of Medicine provides patient information about breastfeeding.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I had a similar experience with Irishgirl where my milk did not come in for a week and a half, and my daughter was diagnosed with jaundice the day after she was born. The lactation consultant insisted that we not feed her formula, to which I (as a first-time mother who wanted to breastfeed) listened. It turned out that my daughter was seriously underfed and had to be fed with formula while under observation for her jaundice.

I am all for free choice when it comes to raising kids, but sometimes, those choices are (and sometimes should be) trumped by kids' safety and well-being. I was very bothered by the lactation consultant's insistence to stick to "my values" as opposed to evaluating the situation and providing advice that would best for the baby.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

The problem with today's society is that there are no moral imperatives anymore -- no rights and no wrongs.

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Oh yeah, sure, that's what our church says too. Uhhh... what society do you live in where there are no rights or wrongs, cuz it ain't the USA.

I mean I got kids on either side of us arguing over the FACTS of High school Musical vs Hannah Montanna, so let me tell you, there is still absolute truth!

Posted by: DCer | February 8, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Wait, I know the lactation consultant at the NIH, and she's nothing like "bf consultant." The NIH LC never once made me feel like a failure when my milk started drying up, claiming it isn't possible, but she also didn't offer much help. The LC at my ped's office had me try a bunch of stuff, although nothing worked. Turns out I don't release with a pump, just a baby. Working and breastfeeding were impossible for me.

Posted by: atb | February 8, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

fr bf consultant:

>...It is a choice that mothers make, to breastfeed or bottlefeed. It's not a matter of can't.

Not always true. I was one of the original formula babies, as I could NOT digest breastmilk or cow's milk. I HAD to be on formula. There was no "choice" in the matter.

Posted by: Alex | February 8, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Breast v. bottle is only one of a million decisions you'll make as a parent that affect the health and welfare of your child. Many of the women who BF make bad choices in other matters. IMHO it's what you do for your kids overall that indicates what kind of parent you are, not simply one isolated instance.

Posted by: hockeyfan1 | February 11, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

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