Non-Toxic Baby Feeding Practices – Utensils, Dishes & More
Green Living expert, Aida Garcia Toldedo shares her insights on the dangers of toxic cooking tools and utensils
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.
In this article we will go over what to avoid and our recommendations on safer alternatives when it comes to:
Baby feeding utensils, dishes, and other dinnerware
Baby Feeding: Toxic Chemicals & Materials to Avoid
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.
Generally speaking, for hot or acidic meals you should avoid plastic 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. Similar to plastic dishware, we recommend avoiding the potentially harmful melamine dishes.
Great alternatives to plastic for baby plates, spoons, sippy cups and storage include:
Food-grade silicone (dishwasher safe)
Stainless steel (dishwasher safe)
Glass (dishwasher safe; for little kids consider a silicon sleeve to protect glass)
Best Non-toxic Baby Utensils & Dinnerware
Below we have listed a few of our favorite organic baby dishware and utensil picks. All of the following baby dishware products are:
Baby spoons, forks, and utensil sets
- January Moon Fork & Spoon Set
- Miniware My First Cutlery Set
- Avanchy Bamboo Infant Spoons
Baby plates, bowls and feeding sets
- Miniware First Bites Travel Set
Sippy cups and baby bottles
- Pura Baby 11 oz Sippy Bottle
Suction plates for toddlers
- Miniware Dish Set of 5
- Avanchy Bamboo Suction Plate & Spoon
- Avanchy Stainless Steel Suction Plate & Lid
Baby food storage
Explore our entire selection of safe, eco-friendly mealware.
Cooking Tools: What to Avoid
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.
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!
Choosing Safe Baby Products
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.
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.