Friday, May 6, 2011

Glass vs Plastic Bottles

In the past, most parents mainly bought glass baby bottles. This was current practice even in third world countries where these bottles were pretty expensive. After the production of plastic bottles, many manufacturers enjoyed a flourishing business as many parents tended to purchase plastic baby bottles instead, probably for their convenience.

In the late 1990s, scientists however discovered that these plastic bottles leach a substance called Bisphenol A, which was potentially hazardous to health. The FDA however said that this substance was released only when these bottles were exposed to higher temperatures.

In the western countries, most manufacturers of baby plastic bottles saw a drastic decline in their sales. Many parents were worried about these bottles which were said to release a substance that could cause behavioural disorders and prostate cancer later in life. This is not the case in Saudi Arabia, particularly in Jeddah. On the contrary, I have noticed that plastic bottles are frequently used. At the hospitals, at vaccination centres, and in malls you would find babies conveniently carrying their bottles and helping themselves. On a few occasions, I have asked some mothers why they use plastic bottles. Most of them gave me similar responses: it is easy for the baby to hold and feed itself, plus it gives them (the mothers) time to do something else instead of carrying the baby and feeding it.

Which one to use? Glass or plastic bottles?
-Glass bottles do not leach chemicals even when hot.
-Plastic bottles are cheaper than glass ones.
-Glass bottles can be cumbersome for outings compared to plastic ones which are light and can be even carried by the baby while feeding.
-Glass bottles can easy break especially when dropped accidentally. Not the case with plastic bottles.
-Glass bottles hold temperatures better than plastic ones.

You might want to use plastic bottles because of their convenience. Look for bottles that are labelled "BPA FREE" or those that have a number 7 marked at the bottom of the bottle. Also, do not pour boiling water into the bottle when preparing your baby's feed. Let the water cool down before pouring it into the bottle. As an indicator, BPA free bottles tend to be softer and less see-through. No pharmacist or his assistant would get angry if you gently squeeze a bottle to run a check.

Whatever be the case, glass bottles appear to be safer but inconvenient. I use glass bottles for formula, and plastic bottles for juices. The choice is up to you; glass or plastic?


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