Every parent knows that babies put everything in their mouths, and thus you want to ensure what they get their hands on is safe. What about the things babies are actually allowed to put in their mouths, like their baby feeding utensils? You can be sure these items are safe as well. Time to hunt for some non-toxic baby feeding gear to complement your eco-friendly baby products.
Many parents are steering clear of any baby products containing plastics with BPA, PVC, and melamine (among other harmful ingredients) due to potential concerns with endocrine disruption, asthma, development issues, and more. While it’s hard to live a totally plastic-free life, starting with what your kids put in their mouths is a great place to begin. There are many alternatives that are safer to both your kiddo and the environment when it comes to baby feeding utensils.
Babies are just meant to eat with their hands! These cute little chubby utensils are free, non-toxic (as long as they’re clean), and totally eco-friendly (no need to worry about recycling them!). Long-term though, silverware will be required, but let your little people embrace the mess while they can. You can always teach them later to eat their mashed sweet potatoes like a grown-up.
At our house, the first non-toxic baby feeding utensils were wooden spoons a friend’s husband lovely made with a beeswax sealant. These were soft enough to soothe his ouchy little gums without hurting his mouth and future teeth, while also not being too hard when he hit his face with it. Wood is a sustainable material, and ours were crafted by a small, local business—a total win-win! We did have extended family that were concerned about the baby getting splinters, and the spoons were required to be hand-washed, so they weren’t a perfect utensil. We used these for about the first four months of baby food consumption. You can find wooden spoons through many other outlets other than our local artisan, and you could potentially compost these utensils at the end of their lifecycle, too!
Stainless Steel Utensils
Steel is considered non-toxic and safe for food handling. That being said, it’s harder than wood and babies could swing a spoon into their eyes or face. We used stainless steel silverware after about a year when our little guy started to have some control of his utensils. Look for smaller flatware that your little ones can grasp and fit into their mouths. The cocktail silverware you never use is a perfect size! You’re unlikely to totally break these durable tools, so can donate your unused utensils to a local non-profit when you’re done using them.
Food-grade silicone is typically considered inert and safe to cook with, and you probably have a few utensils made out of it already. Silicone is a great alternative to plastic due to its softness (plus it’s water-resistant like plastic); however it’s not as durable or recyclable. Your baby will likely chew on a silicone utensil since it’s so soft. You’re more than likely to need to landfill your broken silicone silverware, but you can donate it if it’s in good shape when your baby has outgrown it.
Plastic That’s Safer
While it’s never the most environmentally friendly option, some plastic is considered to be safer than others. Look for the BPA-, PVC-, phthalate-, melamine- and lead-free varieties. Plastic silverware is not overly hard, so your young child won’t hurt herself or her mouth while using them. Some may be able to be recycled at the end of their life but more than likely they will need to be landfilled. Plastic also doesn’t always last as long with daily use compared to steel.
What sort of silverware do your kiddos use? What other eco-friendly baby utensils are out there? Let us know on Twitter!
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.
Why It’s Good
Choosing a baby feeding utensil that's both safe for your baby to use and kind to the planet is a win-win! You not only feel good because you're thinking about the environment, but you can be sure you're not exposing your baby to unnecessary toxins. That's peace of mind for you as a parent as well as a person in your community.