What is in your baby’s mouth?

Rooting and sucking reflexes are a natural phenomenon that causes a baby to put everything in their mouth during infancy.

  • Rooting reflex: This reflex is seen when the baby’s cheek is stroked. The infant turns towards the side where he/she was stroked and exhibits sucking actions.
  • Suck reflex: The baby makes a sucking motion when the area around the mouth is touched.
adorable baby black and white child

If you’re a breastfeeding mother, you’ve realized that sometimes your baby wants to feed when they are not hungry but simply for comfort. These are both important aspects of breastfeeding.

Studies show that breastfeeding turns out to be an effective form of comfort. More effective than any other intervention (being held, sucking on a pacifier, oral glucose solution or formula feeding) in reducing a baby’s pain after a heel prick, as measured by several factors including the amount of crying and the baby’s heart rate.

You will find that your baby goes to the breast for many reasons. When they’re hungry or thirsty, they’re tired, they’re scared or hurt or when they’re feeling overwhelmed. Never feel like you have to turn your baby away from the breast.

A pacifier is also a great tool to use to comfort your baby especially when you cannot be with the baby or you are exhausted and taking turns with your husband or partner. A pacifier is something that will be in your babies mouth often during the first few years and then they start putting everything and anything into their mouths.

All pacifiers and teethers are not created equal and if you are a new parent the last thing you want your baby sucking on is a bunch of toxic estrogenic chemicals. You would think that the cute blue pacifiers that most hospitals send you home with were of superior quality to the ones in the grocery store but think again and check the back of it and I bet you it says made in China. I refuse to buy anything from China, especially something for a brand-new baby.

Plastic is not an organic material derived from nature it is man-made through a chemical process and many of them contain Phalates. You may be wondering what exactly is Phalates or what is the definition of an estrogenic chemical.

Phthalates are are chemicals added to plastics to make them soft, phthalates do not bond to plastic, so they they continuously leach out the chemical until the plastic becomes hard and has run out of the chemical that makes it soft. This chemical enters our blood stream and causes hormonal disruption acting as the hormone estrogen, (an estrogenic chemical). The leaching of these types of chemicals is becoming a serious health issue. We are bombarded with chemicals daily, in processed food, sprayed on fresh food, in our bathroom products, tap water and swimming pools to name a few sources. I try and make a conscious effort to eliminate as many as possible. Young girls are entering puberty at 5, 6, and 7 now and woman in their early 30’s and 40’s a re-experiencing pre-menopausal symptom (called peri-menopause). Just because this is becoming the norm does not mean it is normal.

Phalates are found in an amazing array of products. In personal care items, they’re used to help lubricate other substances, help lotions penetrate and soften the skin, and help fragrances last longer. They’re also used in toys, pacifiers, teething products, electronics (such as personal computers), car-care products, insecticides, and many household products, including adhesives, plastic wrap, plastic containers, plastic, cups, sippy cups, bottles, plates and plastic ware for children, flooring, furniture, nail polish, hair spray, wallpaper, shower curtains, and other things made of vinyl or PVC.

Here’s a list of the most common phthalates, which may come in handy for checking labels:

DBP (dibutyl phthalate)                                       DNOP (di-n-octyl phthalate)
DiNP (diisononyl phthalate)                                DEP (diethyl phthalate)

BBzP (benzyl butyl phthalate)                            DEHP (di 2-ethylhexl phthalate)

DiDP (diisodecyl phthalate)                                DnHP (di-n-hexyl phthalate)

DMP (dimethyl phthalate)                                  DnOP (di-n-octylphthalate)

Watch out for polyvinyl chloride, PVC is possibly the most toxic of all plastics and it happens to be the third most common plastic in the world. PVC is a very hard and brittle plastic and requires a lot of phalates so to make it into something like a soft baby toy or teether. PVC is a known carcinogen and your baby will be continuously ingesting these chemicals the entire time they have the toy or teether in their mouth.

You also want to be aware of and avoid baby products that contain bisphenol-A, BPA is a plastics chemical that mimics estrogen and disrupts the body’s hormonal systems. Most regulatory systems like the FDA, will tell you BPA is safe in the small quantities that appear in plastic products. you have to ask yourself how much is safe if your child is sucking on this chemical every day for the first few years of its life.

Once consumers became aware of how harmful BPA was and was forced to change their products we started seeing BPA-free plastics. However, many companies just replaced BPA with its cousin BPS, bisphenol-S which is just as harmful.
On the safer side

You can find products made from ethylene vinyl acetate and all natural rubber but you should still be informed about these options as well, they may be for some parents and not for others. They are a better option than the above chemicals but not completely without risk.

Some soft plastic/freezable teethers made of ethylene vinyl acetate are available, these will state on the package that they are free of BPA, phthalates, and other chemical softeners. However, International Agency for Research on Cancer declared vinyl acetate as “possibly carcinogenic to human” in 1995 so this may also be a chemical you want to avoid for your child.

A lot of baby products are made from “100% rubber or “all-natural rubber”. Rubber is different than plastic it contains latex proteins but is void of all the harmful chemicals needed to soften them. Make sure your child does not have a latex allergy if you choose to use these baby products and be aware that latex allergies can develop from prolonged exposer to rubber.

Top Two Choices

A choice that is considered safe for babies and hypo-allergenic is medical grade silicone. Silicone is a type of rubber that is void of allergy concerns.

the most organic natural baby toys and teethers are made from wood and/or natural fabrics (organic cotton).

When choosing a pacifier remember to choose silicone over latex, because synthetic latex pacifiers can contain nitrosamines, a known carcinogen.

Here’s a list of pacifier companies that don’t use phalates, BPA, BPS (in BPA free products), DEP or DNOP for example: 

Listed below are natural silicone, wood, and organic cotton teethers:

Silicone baby food feeder/pacifier/teether all in one

DROOLEES Baby teether with pacifier clip: made from 100% food grade silicone, BPA free and free from any other harmful chemicals

OlaBaby Training Spoon: 100% food grade Silicone

Mama Goose Zooley Turtle: wooden teether attached to 100% organic terry cloth cotton

Mama Goose Ringley Knotted: wooden teether attached to knotted 100% organic terry cloth cotton

Natural Wooden Baby Teethers: set of four animal shaped

Jellystone Smart Phone Teether: Grassy Green, made from food grade silicone

Jellystone Padlock Teether: Red, made from food grade silicone

Disclaimer: The strategies, suggestions, and techniques expressed here are intended to be used for educational purposes only. The Author, Kira Miller, is not rendering medical advice nor is she trying to diagnose, prescribe or treat any disease, condition, illness or injury.

If you are under the care of a physician it is imperative that you consult their advice before beginning any new exercise or nutrition program.

Kira Miller claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss or damage alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application or interpretation of the material presented here.

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