Non-Toxic Baby Feeding Practices – Utensils, Dishes & More

Has your tot reached the magical milestone of starting solids? Non-toxic Expert, Aida Garcia-Toldedo shares her insights on how to avoid potentially toxic chemicals lurking in your family’s kitchen and baby’s feeding products.

A woman feeding her baby using an EZPZ happy mat and tiny cup

When feeding their little ones, many parents understand the importance of choosing organic baby food to avoid exposure to pesticides and added hormones, but many might not realize that the tools used to cook and serve a child’s food can also be a source of harmful chemicals.

Many parents limit themselves to lower quality plastic dishware for children, not realizing that there are many safe, non-toxic and stylish alternatives that are widely available to serve food in.

In this article, we’ll go over:

  • Baby & toddler feeding: toxic chemicals & materials to avoid
  • Safer baby & toddler feeding product materials
  • Cooking tools: what to avoid
  • Safer cookware options
  • Our non-toxic baby & toddler feeding product picks

Scroll down to learn more.

 

Baby feeding: toxic chemicals & materials to avoid

Just because something says ‘BPA-Free’ does not mean that it doesn’t contain a whole slew other other potentially harmful chemicals.

At The Tot, we never use or recommend anything that hasn’t passed the Tot Safety Test. This means I’ve reviewed third-party testing, certifications, ingredients and the composition of every product on the site and deemed it safe.

When it comes to food storage containers, drink bottles, dinnerware, utensils and cookware, it’s EXTRA important to consider what something is made of because the materials are coming in direct contact with food and liquid.

Generally speaking, for hot or acidic meals, you should avoid plastic or melamine plates, as the heat (from the baby food itself, as well as from reheating or even from the dishwasher) can cause the plastic to leach chemicals like phthalates, BPA, and other endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Here’s a list of chemicals we avoid in baby feeding products and why:

PVC

PVC, also known as polyvinyl chloride, or vinyl, is an incredibly toxic chemical that is harmful to our bodies and to the environment right from the production phase through to disposal. It contains additives like phthalates, lead, cadmium, organotin that are quite toxic and have been linked to asthma, allergies, reproductive problems and cancer.

 

Harmful phthalates

Many phthalates are known endocrine disruptors associated with asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity, type II diabetes, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues.

 

BPA + BPS (bisphenols)

Bisphenols mimic the hormone estrogen and have been linked to prostate cancer, breast cancer, female infertility, and obesity. BPA is an especially dangerous endocrine disruptor since even small amounts of this chemical have been shown to cause serious reproductive damage, especially when the exposure occurs in utero.

 

Lead and other heavy metals

Exposure to heavy metals can cause nerve damage, learning and behavioral problems, reproductive damage and irreversible brain damage.

 

PFAS chemicals

PFAS (poly-fluoroalkyl substances) are a large family of different chemicals that have been shown to cause developmental and other adverse effects in laboratory animals.

Click here to view the full list of ingredients we avoid.

 

Safer baby & toddler feeding product materials

 

Avanchy Toddler Plate

 

Great alternatives to plastic for baby plates, spoons, sippy cups and storage include:

  • Food-grade silicone (dishwasher safe)

  • Wood (with a non-toxic finish)

  • Eco-friendly bamboo

  • Stainless steel (dishwasher safe)

  • Glass (dishwasher safe; for little kids consider a silicon sleeve to protect glass)

  • Bamboo fiber with food-grade melamine (not to be confused with the other plastic melamine option.)

 

Cooking tools: what to avoid

 

Non-stick

Non-stick cookware is a staple in the majority of kitchens across the world today. While the convenience of non-stick is clear, the technology behind it is not so clear.

Non-stick teflon pans: Up until recently, the go-to chemical used to make non-stick pans was the ‘Teflon chemical’ (Perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA for short). This chemical is so toxic that the company that makes it agreed to phase it out of its products. It is a carcinogen (causes cancer), and prenatal exposure to perfluorinated chemicals may affect the immune system in early childhood.

If you have older non-stick pans at home they probably contain PFOA. Stop using these pans to cook or reheat your children’s meals. If you have to use them, make sure you use medium to low heat, since the higher heat temperatures are what cause the chemical to be released into the air and food. Also, make sure the pan has no scratches.  Once it is scratched you should throw the pan away immediately.

New non-stick technology: There are various new chemicals and technologies being used in newer non-stick pans. Because these technologies are so new, proper long-term studies are needed to confirm if they are, indeed, completely safe. When cooking for a younger child, it is a good idea to err on the side of caution and avoid anything that has not been proven to be completely safe.

Aluminum

Due to its physical resemblance to stainless steel, aluminum is often mistaken for a safer cooking material. Unfortunately, pans made of aluminum can release heavy metals into food- aluminum is considered a neurotoxin (high exposures to it has been linked to Alzheimers).  Acidic foods, such as tomato sauce, high heat and wear and tear cause more aluminum to leach from this cookware into the food.

Although the amount of aluminum that a pan would give off is actually very low, as always with young children I prefer to err on the side of caution and when possible simply choose a safer option.

 

Safer cookware options

Lucky for parents everywhere, there are many tried and tested pots and pans that will not leach chemicals into your family’s food:

  • Cast iron: When properly seasoned, cast iron is virtually non-stick. An added bonus is that cast iron pans add iron to the food you are cooking and can last decades, making them a great investment.

  • Stainless steel: Widely available, stainless steel is another great option for cooking that will not leach any chemicals into your tot’s meals.  Many stainless steel pan users complain about their food sticking to their pans. However, although it does take a bit of practice, there are easy ways to avoid having your food stick when cooking such as ensuring you are cooking on a high heat to seal the food so it doesn’t stick and ensuring the pan is properly oiled and seasoned just before adding the food. An extra bonus is that stainless steel is dishwasher safe!

 

Babies are far more susceptible than adults to the dangerous effects of toxins and chemicals. Because they spend so much time exploring their new environment, babies spend a lot of time crawling on the floor and putting all sorts of things in their mouths. As they a result, they will naturally absorb and ingest whatever is around them.

By switching to safer baby products, from clothes and toys to meal time, personal care and cleaning products, you will lessen their exposure some potentially dangerous chemicals that can have serious long-term health effects.

 

Non-toxic baby & toddler feeding product picks

 

A mother feeding a baby with a bamboo and silicone avanchy spoon

 

All Tot Safety Test Approved, the below products are all free of:

  • Harmful phthalates
  • BPA + BPA
  • PVC
  • Added formaldehyde
  • Heavy metals

Scroll down to see my favorite non-toxic baby & toddler mealtime picks.

 

 

The Tot Feeding Sets: Baby-led Weaning (6m +)

The Tot Feeding Sets: Baby-led Weaning (6m +)

 

$89

EXCLUSIVE

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The Tot Feeding Sets: Starting Solids: Stage 1 & 2 (6 - 9m)

 

The Tot Feeding Sets: Starting Solids Stage 1 & 2 (6 – 9m)

 

$139

EXCLUSIVE

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The Tot Feeding Sets: Stage 3 Solids - Self-feeding (9 - 12m)

The Tot Feeding Sets: Stage 3 Solids Self Feeding (9 – 12m)

 

$109

EXCLUSIVE

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The Tot Feeding Sets: On-The-Go (1 year +)

 

The Tot Feeding Sets: On-The-Go (1 year +)

 

$119

EXCLUSIVE

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The Tot Feeding Sets: Mastering Mealtimes (18m +)

 

The Tot Feeding Sets: Mastering Mealtimes (18m +)

 

$119

EXCLUSIVE

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Mushie Silicone Bib Silver Sage

 

Mushie Silicone Baby Bib

 

$12.99

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

EZPZ Tiny Spoon Set in Blue

 

EZPZ Silicone Tiny Spoon Set

 

$15

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

 

Silikids

 

January Moon Bamboo & Silicone Fork & Spoon Set

 

$18

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

EZPZ Happy Mat in Coral

EZPZ Silicone Happy Mat

 

$25

Available in more colors

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Silikids

Avanchy Bamboo Suction Bowl & Baby Spoon

 

$19.99

Available in more colors

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Avanchy Classic Plate in Pink

 

Avanchy Bamboo Classic Plate

$22.99

Available in more colors

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Avanchy Toddler Plate in Grey

 

Avanchy Bamboo Stay Put Suction Toddler Plate & Spoon

$24.99

Available in more colors

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Avanchy Stainless Steel Toddler Plate Green

 

Avanchy Stainless Steel Toddler Plate

 

$19.99

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

 

Avanchy Stainless Steel Spoon Form and Spoon Combo Pack in Blue

 

Avanchy Stainless Steel Baby Spoon & Fork Set

 

$16.99

Available in more colors

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EKOBO Bambino Baby Feeding Set Storm

 

EKOBO Bamboo Fiber Bambino Baby Feeding Set

 

$22

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

Ekobo Dinner Set Coral

 

EKOBO Bamboo Fiber Bambino Dinner Set – Coral

 

$25

BUY NOW

 

 

Ekobo Dinner Set Royal Blue

 

EKOBO Bamboo Fiber Bambino Dinner Set – Royal Blue

 

$25

BUY NOW

 

 

Planetbox Rover Tray

 

PlanetBox Stainless Steel Rover Tray

 

$19.95

BUY NOW

 

 

Zip Top Baby Snack Container Set

Zip Top Silicone Snack Containers

 

$34.99

BUY NOW

 

 

Thinkbaby Sippy of steel

 

Thinkbaby Sippy of Steel

 

$13.99

BUY NOW

 

 

Continue exploring

  • We know that choosing safe and non-toxic baby products can be confusing and overwhelming. There are so many issues to consider – BPA-free, lead-free, toxic dyes, flame retardants, organic cotton vs. regular cotton, so our Tot Expert & Green Living Consultant, Aida Garcia-Toledo has answered some of your pressing questions about choosing safer products for your family in The Tot Q&A on the best non-toxic baby products.