Posted tagged ‘baby gear’

BPA: The latest baby registry dilemma

March 10, 2010

This past weekend my husband and I spent the obligatory 3.5 hours at Baby’s R Us starting a baby registry. Like most of the others in the store, we looked like deer in headlights as we wandered the aisles, peering through the plastic packaging at foreign items and, finally, shrugging our shoulders and scanning the bar codes.

This time, we completely skipped the breast pump section; it was just too traumatic last time. I’m taking the advice of some of you, and waiting to see what the hospital offers and whether I even need one. I guess you could say that I am in avoidance mode.

But the rest of the baby feeding section also threw us for a loop. How are we supposed to know which of the bottles, nipples, spoons, and bowls to choose from the aisles and aisles of options? We decided to skip this section, too. We would do a little research and then make some selections in our registry online.

But my research has left me with more questions than answers. Which size bottle is best? Which shape nipple? Which nipple flow rate? Should I choose one with a vent system? Are the systems with drop-in bottle liners better than the plain old bottles?

And now the biggie — What’s the deal with BPA?

BPA, or Bisphenol A, is a chemical that is used in certain plastics, including those that are used in many baby products including bottles, cups, toys, and pacifiers. It is also used in other consumer products, including the liners of food cans (including baby formula cans.)

Bisphenol A can leach from the lining of canned goods and from polycarbonate plastic products, especially when the object is cleaned with harsh detergents, or when the product contains acidic or high-temperature liquids.

A number of studies have found that BPA can cause health ailments, including endocrine disorders, obesity, and neurological issues, when the level of the chemical in the body is higher than the determined safety level. Regulatory bodies  established these safety levels, but the accuracy of the levels is being questioned by a number of organizations, including the FDA and The Endocrine Society.

This study found that average BPA concentrations were higher in people who were diagnosed with diabetes. According to the study, “even a slightly raised BPA concentration was associated with a 39 percent increased risk of having diabetes.”

Young children and babies appear to be the most sensitive to the effects of the chemical.

Nevertheless, the jury is still out on the appropriate level of BPA. No changes to safety levels or product packaging have been enforced.

The problem, then, for stressed out parents, is that many product labels are not  clear about whether the product contains BPA. Additionally, many companies offer one or two products that are BPA-free, but several others that are not, even in the same product line. It’s enough to make your head spin.

What I have been able to find so far is that glass and silicon do not contain BPA, so if I choose glass bottles and silicon nipples, I can be relatively confident that I am avoiding BPA, at least in the bottle department. But some daycare centers will not accept glass bottles, and of course glass is heavier and more prone to breaking, which is certainly less convenient. And then there is the issue of the BPA in the liners of the baby formula cans. I did read that the incidence of BPA is less likely in powder formula than in liquid formula. Again, another inconvenience.

How do you feel about all of this BPA hype? Is it real or overblown? Do you use BPA-free bottles, nipples, and food containers for your little one? If so, which types, brands, or styles do you prefer?

Resources
Bisphenol A Free Website at http://www.bisphenolafree.org/
Bisphenol A Website, which appears to be managed by the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council, at http://www.bisphenol-a.org/index.html
Since You Asked – Bisphenol A (BPA) on the Website for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences — National Institutes of Health at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/media/questions/sya-bpa.cfm
Research Links Plastics Containing Bisphenol A to Heart Disease and Diabetes by Natural News at http://www.naturalnews.com/024207_BPA_health_plastics.html
Bisphenol A on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A

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The Rundown: Baby Gear, Blood Sugars, and Dexcom

February 25, 2010

I have lots of different things to share today, but no good way to bring them all together. So here they are, in no particular order.

We purchased our first piece of baby gear: a travel system (AKA stroller, car seat, and carrier all in one.) Walmart was having a “Baby Days” sale over the weekend, and we found a travel system on their Website that was a pretty good price and that gets decent reviews. It’s the Evenflo Aura in “Georgia Stripe”. We like that the carrier is lighter than some of the others, and that the carrier handle is easier to grip. Also, the brown color should be good for hiding the “baby dirt” that we expect to accumulate. We were not particularly impressed with the maneuverability of the Evenflow strollers, but for the price, we were willing to compromise on that. Speak up if you know anything about this thing. Walmart has a 90 day return policy, so we can return it if we find out it’s a death trap or something.

So far our baby stash includes the travel system, two picture books, a baby monitor, and two bibs. Sounds like we better get shopping!

My belly is getting bigger. There is no denying that I’m pregnant now. And I have become an even bigger clutz, running into chairs, doorways, countertops, and doorknobs with my protruding midsection.

My appetite is at an all-time high. This is a far cry from the first four months or so when I had to force myself to eat most of the time. Yesterday we had a catered, Italian-themed lunch at work. Normally I would skip the pasta and just have a big bowl of salad. Yesterday I also had garlic bread and fettucine alfredo — two servings! I think it’s been years since I last ate garlic bread and I normally avoid fettucine alfredo for the obvious reasons. Luckily, my new, reved-up insulin-to-carb ratio took care of the carbs, so I did not suffer from the dreaded high BG spike two hours later.

Speaking of blood sugars, they seem to have leveled out a bit this week, which is a welcome relief after the roller coaster last week. I’m still treating one or two lows per day, on average, but they are mostly less severe than the previous ones. I still get the occasional high in the upper 100’s or low 200’s, usually because I miscalculated a bolus or over-treated a low, but I am aggressively treating those with insulin.

I re-started my trial Dexcom sensor on Tuesday morning and it’s still doing its thing. I think this might be part of why my blood sugar roller coaster is less extreme this week. The adhesive is starting to curl up around the edges, but the sensor is still holding on pretty firmly. Last night the device finally woke me up with a false alarm. It thought I was low, but I was actually 119. I was tempted to just eat 5 Dots and fall back asleep, but I’m really glad that I decided to actually test instead. This is the first time the device has done that.

A rep from Dexcom called yesterday to see if I wanted to move forward with a purchase. It turns out that I qualify for the device because of my pregnancy and hypoglycemia unawareness. My coverage is really good, too (90/10 for both the device and the sensors,) but I also have to pay my $200 deductible. So I am looking at about $300 for the start-up package and then $27 per month for the sensors. I realize this is much less than some of you pay, but it is still a big chunk out of my pocketbook right now. I am back on the fence. I told the rep that I would make a decision within the month.

This afternoon I am off to the Ophthalmologist to get my retinas checked out. The last time I went, everything was great and they told me that I could actually wait two years until my next exam, but that all changed when I became pregnant. Now we have to check them out again to make sure the pregnancy hasn’t caused any damage. This appointment always makes me nervous even though I’ve never had any eye problems. Still, after 27 years of this, it just feels like my eyes are a time bomb waiting to explode. according to the American Diabetes Association’s Eye Complications Web page, “Almost everyone with type 1 diabetes will eventually have nonproliferative retinopathy.” I wish I knew how much time was left on that timer!

Strollers, and High Chairs, and Breast Pumps … Oh My!

February 11, 2010

We spent the afternoon at Babies R Us last Sunday. Walking into the store was like sensory overload. I’m sure I resembled a deer in headlights. There are so many foreign-looking gadgets and pieces of equipment to explore. Which one is best? How much does it cost? Do I need one of these? What is that thing, anyway? You would think the store would make an effort to sort of ease us into this experience, but no.

We  did our best to inspect it all. Everything from strollers, to carriers, to pack n’ plays, to bathtubs, to rocking chairs. I can’t say that the trip left me any more confident in my ability to choose the right items … but maybe I am a little more aware of what’s out there.

Here are my observations from this, our first, experience at the baby store:

A tip for the person who designs the store’s layout: Don’t put the breast pumps right inside the front door, okay? Put them somewhere in the back where I won’t be faced with them until I’ve ramped up to that kind of trauma. Couldn’t we start with something a little easier … maybe crib bedding or stuffed animals?

Whose idea was it to make baby carriers weigh three tons? Seriously, most of them weigh more than my baby will weigh when he’s born. How am I going to make it across a parking lot with the ten pound carrier, the ten pound diaper bag, and the ten pound baby? I guess I better start lifting weights now.

Since when are strollers required to be the size and shape of a small SUV? We might need to buy a bigger car to haul all of this stuff. We spent at least an hour folding and unfolding them, attaching carriers and unattaching them, inspecting edges for potential injury-makers, trying to identify mystery clips and fasteners, and rolling the contraptions up and down the aisles. Even after all of this research, I’m not sure that we identified a “best in show.” It seems that buying a stroller is kind of like buying a house … you spend days identifying all of the pros and cons and then finally just pick the one that fits best in your budget, even if it only has one bathroom and a loud neighbor.

Is a swing a necessity? How about a bouncy chair? Should we pick just one or bust the budget on them both? The store could do a little here to help me decide. Provide some user feedback, or ratings, or comparisons or something.

Pack and Plays seem to be getting more and more complex. They have morphed from the simple playpens of our childhood to these all-in-one contraptions that include a changing table, a bassinet, a night light, a storage compartment, a vibrating sleeping surface, and music.  And again, they are just so BIG, even when folded up. How many of these bells and whistles are really a necessity, anyway?

How do you decide on things like diapers, wipes, diaper rash creams, and pacifiers? There are SO MANY to choose from and I’ve heard that babies typically prefer and/or tolerate only a particular brand, so you have to try them all out. How do I know which ones to add to the registry if I don’t know which ones my baby will like?

What will my baby sleep in? There are so many choices: bassinets, Pack and Plays, cribs, and a myriad of co-sleeping contraptions. It’s enough to make your head spin.

And what’s with the baby monitors that transmit video? Do I really need to be able to see my baby while he sleeps?

I don’t know. I guess we’ll figure it all out eventually. It probably won’t be until after the baby arrives, though. I wonder what the return policy is on a bouncy chair?