Sunday, May 31, 2009
As my husband and I were reading the paper this morning, he came across a new article about the infamous BPA. Bisphenol A (BPA) is added to plastics to make it stronger and crystal clear. This plastic was once used heavily in baby bottles (a mere year ago it was the norm!) and still is used heavily in food packaging and can liners. Over the past decade, however, numerous scientific studies have linked BPA exposure to breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, hyperactivity, miscarriages, the list goes on and on.
On the other hand, most manufacturers that use BPA do not believe the health concerns and have no intention of changing their packaging. Rather than working to eliminate their usage or find alternatives to BPA, the manufacturers of canned food and beverages are ready and willing to spend half a million dollars on a PR campaign targeted toward young moms to knock down the growing public concerns surrounding the chemical. Using scare tactics (don't you want your baby to have food to eat??) and spinning 'control' back to the end-user (you can spend more on the fresh variety or save your precious money and purchase the canned), the industry execs plan to have a young, pregnant woman as the spokesperson delivering the message. I was appalled!
Since the big guys (manufacturers) have no intention to stop using BPA and the slow-moving government legislation is doing little to safeguard its citizens, how can we as consumers consciously reduce our usage of BPA?
I have worked to remove most BPA from our household over the past year and it is something that is fairly easy to avoid. For instance, our old Nalgene water bottles have been replaced with the newer versions that clearly tout "BPA free" on the packaging or stainless steel bottles. Any reusable plastic food containers have been replaced with glass or safe plastic (these #s are generally considered safe: 2, 4, 5- the recycling numbers on the bottom). Food that I may have once purchased in cans that contained BPA (you'll notice the inside of the can is lined with a milky white plastic) I now purchase fresh or frozen (and, hey, it tastes better too!). When purchasing bottles for my son last year, I sought out BPA free versions. Now, you'll find when you go into Babies R Us (at least my store here in Colorado), the entire infant feeding section is BPA free- I applaud Babies R Us for (finally) taking a stance against BPA! For a great synopsis on the different types of plastics, how easily they are recyclable and how safe they are, check out this site. If you are going to avoid one type of plastic, it should be the #7 plastic- this is a catch-all code, so you never know WHAT is actually in that plastic and lots of plastics with BPA fall under this code.
Until the government flat out restricts the usage of BPA, the controversy and marketing schemes will continue, so lets spread the word and play it safe... just say no to BPA!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
I can’t recall exactly how I stumbled upon the Happy Baby brand. I do know that it was right around the time that my son was about to begin eating rice cereal. I was so impressed that the Happy Baby line was organic and also included probiotic support and DHA. DHA is beneficial for proper brain and eye development. According to Dr. Sears, Probiotics are “good bowel bugs” or bacteria that is formulated to strengthen the immune system. “The gastrointestinal tract is the body’s largest immune organ. The better you feed baby’s GI tract, the better you feed baby’s immune system”. Probiotics can also help protect against the development of allergies. My first thought was that with breastfeeding and a cereal containing probiotics, my son was going to have all the immunity support possible! What could be any better? Since then, my son and I have been hooked!
The Happy Baby line includes; Happy Bellies organic baby cereal, Happy Baby frozen organic purees, Happy Baby organic puffs, and Happy Bites organic frozen meals for toddlers. So far my son loves it all (we haven’t tried the bites yet). The baby cereal is a little pricier than other organic brands out there but the added probiotics and DHA were worth it to me. Plus, in all my coupon searching I am almost always lucky enough to find a $1 off coupon, which brings the price down to about $3 for a 7-ounce can. On top of that, the cans of cereal often times have coupons hiding under their lids. One time I hit the jackpot when all the cereal cans I bought had a coupon for buy one get one free on the boxes of purees!
The fresh frozen purees come in yummy flavors such as smarter squash, purer pears, great greens, yes peas, and many others. “Feeding your baby fresh whole foods will program the taste buds to enjoy natural foods”. Happy Baby purees are not processed and do not contain additives or preservatives. I try to make the majority of my own purees but the Happy Baby purees are excellent to have on hand in a pinch or when I can’t find a specific organic fruit or veggie at the store. The purees come in stages that seem to correlate with when it is advised to introduce certain foods. My only request would be for the purees to get chunkier as the stages increase.
My son can’t get enough of the organic puffs. They come in three flavors: banana, apple, and greens. They have half the sugar of other leading brands of similar puffs and are fortified with vitamins and minerals. These are the only actual puffs that I could find that are organic. To top it off they are yummy (I have even caught my husband popping handfuls in his mouth)!
Sign up for the Happy Baby newsletter and you will often get coupons sent right to your inbox! Here is a link for a coupon to get you started. Enjoy!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
I purchased the legendary Sophie the Giraffe teether by Vulli just after my son started teething several months ago. Made of natural rubber and food quality paint, you can rest assured this teether is something you won’t mind your child slobbering and gnawing on. Sophie is extremely lightweight and easy to hold for even the littlest of babes and offers lots of desirable areas to chew on- my son’s favorites are the ears and horns. I never quite understood the bulky rattles and teethers out there as infants have such little hands; they need something just their size and Sophie fits the bill. The legs and neck are the perfect ‘handles’ for babies to grab on to as they are long and slender. When you squeeze the body of the giraffe she lets out the sweetest little squeak.
Aside from being beyond adorable, Sophie boasts stimulating all of baby’s senses:
Sight: the contrasting off white body with darker giraffe pattern
Hearing: the adorable squeak
Taste: Made of natural rubber, she has a unique taste that baby will love to mouth
Touch: The natural rubber is a really a unique feel- it is not like a typical plastic or silicone, it has a soft-touch feel to it, almost skin like.
Smell: Again, thanks to the natural rubber, Sophie has a scent that is definitely different from baby’s other toys.
Touch: She is easy to grasp in many different ways with a unique texture.
You may be wondering why this teether isn’t in every mom’s diaper bag... Well, I will venture a guess that it is the price tag. Typically retailing for $20 (even on ebay, a ‘deal’ is hard to find), she is quite a pricey little toy for your little one. Trust me, you’ll watch it like a hawk when you’re out! Despite the hefty price tag, Sophie the Giraffe is 100% natural rubber derived from the sap of the Hevea Tree and made by hand in the same 14 step manual process used when they began production in 1961. She is definitely something special and I would recommend her to any mama out there looking for the perfect, extra-special teething toy!
Sophie is pictured above with her pals at the Denver Zoo!