|BPA-Free Teething: Safe Alternatives for Babies|
|Sunday, 29 January 2012 00:00 | Written by Jessica Dallas | Blog Entry|
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Bisphenol A (BPA) stinks. Canada and Japan have outlawed it completely because, besides being a known carcinogen, it is suspected of accelerating puberty and contributing to learning disabilities in children.
When you consider the recent study commissioned by the WWF (pdf) that alleges BPA to be an endocrine disruptor to both humankind and wildlife, things get a bit more scary. The WWF reports that baby polar bears and certain types of fish are being born with indiscriminate reproductive organs after being exposed to high levels of plastics and other toxins that leech into their water supplies.
Doesn’t make for very comforting reading, does it? Especially when you’ve got a teething baby magnetically drawn to anything plastic. But, as I've found out, there are some alternatives.
To start, I went on a frenzy of throwing out virtually every toy in the home that had been given us by well-intentioned others, but which most certainly contained BPA. A bit extreme you might say. Hardly. My kid has enough in his genetic heritage (alcoholism, mental illness, big mouths that won’t shut up) without indiscriminate reproductive organs to add to the list due to my stupid insistence on having the dude chew on monster LEGOs.
In the course of the throwing-away frenzy, I was faced with a conundrum. Here I am adding to the volume of plastic that is floating in the Pacific—already twice the size of Texas—with my mass of plastic baby toys, while at the same time needing something for Spike “the tooth” Dallas to bite down on.
Our answer at the moment? Fruit. Organic fruit, and lots of it. I eat a few apples every day and toss the cores his way. I don’t eat them down to the point of seed exposure for my li’l guy to choke on, instead leaving them with enough “meat” for him to go to town on. When he first got his gummy little hands on one of the juicy little suckers, he squealed with joy. That ate up about 30 minutes of baby’s waking hours. Trouble was what to do with the remaining 11.5 hours.
We opted to take a trip to our local market and follow-up on a tip from one of my good friends. She suggested letting Spike gnaw on some watermelon wrapped in cheesecloth. Sounds fun enough, I thought, so we hunted down some reusable tea bags in undyed cotton and stuffed them with watermelon. That ate up about an hour. We created some watermelon “tea” bags to take to his caregiver’s the following day. By then it was time for a nap.
Upon awakening, we had a bit of lunch (sweet potatoes, cooked and all mashed up, of course). We then opted for some carrots and celery to chew on. There are some bloggers out there who allege that celery has numbing properties on the gums of teethers. I don’t know about that for certain. What I do know is that it is freakin’ hilarious to watch a seven-month-old attempt to wrap his mouth around a piece and bite down. I highly recommend it. He also appreciated the novelty of the texture and rolled around on the ground with his sticks of carrot and celery in between gnawing sessions.
He seemed a bit sated at this point, so we prepared for the future. (Preparation is the best aid of any holistically minded parent of a teether.) We started prepping some frozen washcloths. Take an undyed organic washcloth, wet it down with chamomile tea and then freeze it.
It was then time for a walk and a little more to eat (a bit of banana and berries mashed up) as well as the ubiquitous bottle full of milk. My friend Tia dropped off a wooden teether that seemed to hold his interest for a while due to its rattling effects. It’s made by a company called ImagiPlay that specializes in non-toxic, natural toys for infants.
He also managed to procure a piece of BPS-free plastic to chew on: The “Sophie the Giraffe” teether from Vulli. It squeaks when Spike bites down on her, which is always thrilling to him. She has also managed to withstand more abuse than I thought possible and resembles the cutest of dog toys.
Dad was ready to arrive home at that point and we were BPA-free with a happy baby as a surprise addition. I’ve heard that change in children is best channeled through an abundance of alternatives to the forbidden item. We sure provided them today.
Help the Earth, Spread the Word: Share this article with family and friends by clicking on the "Email This" or "Share This" links below right. Then see TODAY'S TOP STORIES.
Written by Jessica Dallas , September 29, 2009Report abuse