Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Safe Milk Bottles And Toddler Cups II

I have managed to send all of my son's Avent's polycarbonate (#7 plastic) milk bottles for recycling. I went shopping on Sunday and was trying to find some bottles which are made of Polypropylene (#5 plastic/PP). I found Pigeon's MagMag (there are two types - one could be made of clear polycarbonate and another type is made of safe polypropylene) bottles which can be fitted with wide-necked teats, spouts or straws but the maximum volume is 150ml. You can go up to 200ml but that is right to the brim! Medela's bottles have the same small volumes and they are not cheap. 3 for about $30 and that does not include bottle caps and teats. After much consideration, I bought Aprica's milk bottles and Mug Kiss (which is a toddler cup with straw). They are lovely! And they were on promotion. I got the two bottles and the Mug Kiss for $49. That did not include the expensive Aprica teats or extra straws but it was fine. Aprica is a Japanese brand and now they produce their products in China. It does not matter to me as I believe the quality assurance is surely trustworthy. The milk bottles actually come with anti-colic features as well. It is a little troublesome to use and wash extra spare-parts but I guess I will adapt to it fast. The material used for the bottles and Mug Kiss is polypropylene and is safe and does not leak Bisphenol-A. Now, I can use these for my boy with peace of mind.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Safe Milk Bottles And Toddler Cups I

Medela is undoubtedly world-first in breastfeeding and it specializes in designing and manufacturing breastpumps as well as breastfeeding accessories for all mothers worldwide who are on a mission to give their newborns the best nutrition - breastmilk! My focus here is on their milk bottles. Medela produces safe baby milk bottles which are made of polypropylene. It is Bis-phenol A (BPA) -free. The only drawback of these bottles are that they can only allow for a maximum volume of 150ml, perhaps 180ml, which is really not practical for toddlers (like my son) who are still drinking larger volumes from bottles. Another feature to take note is that the Medela bottle comes only with standard narrow necks. (Refer to first image)
Recently, I went to the Pregnancy and Babies Exhibition and bought a toddler cup for my boy. It is called the Kala's Downunder Magic Cup (Refer to second image). I really like it very much for these big reasons :
  • It has a total of four parts only - cup with large handles, lid which is screw-on to cup, spout which is screw-on to lid and a dust cover. Some cups come with many spare-parts which makes assembing a chore, and some spare-parts are really tough to reach for proper cleaning.
  • Because the parts are screw ons, the cup is totally spill-proof no matter how you shake it or turn it upside down.
  • The cup is made of PP (polypropylene) (#5) and the spout is made of HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) (#2). Completely safe of BPA.
  • The spout comes with a valve. Liquids only come out if there is suction. The valve is very easy to clean both from the inside or outside of the spout. So, this cup has the most hygenic valve system.
  • The spout is round and the lips seal around it nicely. The design also somehow prevents my son from trying to chew it.
  • It has large handles for easy grip, even for the most slippery fingers after handling finger foods!
  • It comes in various colours (for both boys and girls) with interchangeable mix 'n' match spouts. The pigments used in the cup's manufacturing contain no heavy metals and conform to JHOSPA food contact standards.
  • It is lightweight even when full.
  • It come with a waterproof label that I can write my boy's name onto, which is wonderful especially for childcare use (you won't lose it or mix it up with others).
  • Best of all, it is completely Australian-made and owned.

Some small reasons which are great to have :

  • The spout fits any drink bottle with an opening diameter of 28mm.
  • The cup and lid are dishwasher-safe.

Some other points to note :

  • This cup cannot be microwaved.
  • This cup is not meant for hot or fizzy drinks.
  • This cup cannot be sterilised (anyway, who would sterilize a toddler's cup?)
  • The cups come in 200ml and 300ml.

Check out

I have also tried using Avent's toddler's spouts on its milk bottles for Samuel. However, I did not find it very good. The green spout comes with a silicon piece. While the silicon piece is easy to clean, the interior of the spout is hard to reach. I did not find that very hygenic. Also, occasionally, the spout does leak. You have to really fit and press the spout into the screw cap and check! Another bad thing about this spout is that my son tends to chew it a lot since it is shaped in a flat way. It makes it rather tempting for him to chew on it while drinking. The spout becomes very worn-out and rough after all the chewing.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Most Sunscreens Work Partially Only - Part II

Continued from Part I. Here are the ingredients of one sunscreen which I have trusted and used before. I am glad that I am now educated and will never buy it again : Thermal spring water, ethylhexl methoxycinnamate, bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine, cyclomethicone, isodecyl neopentanoate, glycerin, methylene bis-benzotriazolyl tetramethybutylphenol, water, glyceryl stearate, potassium cetylphosphate, stearyl alcohol, pvp/eicosene copolymer, butylparaben, caprylic/capric triglyceride, decyl glucoside, disodium edta, ethylparaben, fragrance, isobutylparaben, methylparaben, o-cymen-5-ol, phenoxythanol, propylparaben, sorbic acid, titanium dioxide, tocopheryl glucoside, triethoxycaprylysilane, xanthan gum, zinc oxide. What a load of stuff that goes onto my face! Now i wise up and use Miessence's Outdoor Reflect Balm. Ingredients : organic olea europaea (olive) juice extract, zinc oxide, organic butyrospermum parkii (shea) fruit butter, organic unrefined cera alba(beeswax), avena sativa (oat) kernel flour, polygonoum multiflorum root extract, d-alpha tocopherol (natural vitamin e), organic copernicia prunifera (carauba) wax, aroma (essential oils), rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, dunaliella salina algae extract. Check up more :

Most Sunscreens Work Partially Only - Part I

The sun is our friend and foe. That is an apt statement. Without the sun, plants will die and inevitably, all animals will die. Without the sun, our Earth will perish. Yet too much of the sun is not a good thing for our skin. The sun's UV radiation is composed of UVA, UVB and UVC rays. UVC rays are the most energetic out of the three but thankfully, they are very much filtered off by the Earth's ozone layer and do not reach us. Both UVA and UVB cause skin changes such as premature aging and skin cancer. Avoid going under the sun from 9am to 4pm. Wear proper clothes and head protection. It is also good to invest in a safe and effective sunscreen. Many out there either work partially or have undesirable ingredients. There are two classes of sunscreen ingredients : 1. Physical barriers. 2. Those that absorb and deflect sun rays via a chemical reaction. Avoid all these ingredients: PABA, Benzophonone-3 (oxybenzone), Octyl Methoxycinnamate (octinoxate), parabens (synthetic preservatives), padimate-O, parsol 1789 (avobenzone), octisalate All the above ingredients have to potential to cause skin irritations, allergies and reproductive toxicity. Some are readily absorbed by the skin and can cause side effects that we never know. Some of them work only partially and may protect against UVA but not UVB or vice versa. Some are such weak blocking agents that you can forget about having them. Most sunscreens use a combinations of several ingredients and also lots of preservatives. Here are some tips to choosing a safe and effective sunscreen :
  • Get sunscreen with either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Both are physical screens against UVA and UVB rays. Both are safe and not absorbed by the skin. Zinc oxide is better than titanium dioxide because it covers a wider spectrum in terms of protection.
  • Get a sunscreen with a SPF 15 to 30. There is not a huge difference between products with SPF values higher than 30. Sunscreens with SPF 50 provide just 1.3% more protection from UVB rays than sunscreens with SPF 30. It is more important to apply sunscreen generously than to seek out sunscreens with ultra-high SPF ratings. Few people put on enough to actually reach the product's SPF rating.
  • SPF numbers only refer to the ability of the sunscreen to protect you against UVB rays. They have nothing to do with protecting you against UVA rays.
  • Re-apply sunscreen according to the time instructed on the product (especially more important when exposed to water during swimming and sweating). There is no such things as waterproof sunscreens.
  • Look for a sunscreen without loads of ingredients especially synthetic preservatives. You do not want to load so many things on your face. In the end, the sunscreen is doing your skin and body more harm than giving you sun protection.
  • Do not take the sunscreen information on the tube or bottle at face value. Check the ingredients thoroughly. When a sunscreen says it covers broad spectrum protection, it may not necessarily give you that protection.
Continued in Part II.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Cod Liver Oil for Young Children

I import awarding-winning Nordic Naturals Children's DHA from USA for my two-year-old. This is a world-reputed brand of cod liver oil. Although there is always concern of heavy metals contamination in fish and cod liver fish oils, I believe this brand is the safest as it has obtained gold standard for its cod liver oils and fish oils. Nordic Naturals solely focuses and produces fish oils and cod liver oils, unlike many pharmaceutical companies which produce a wide range of health supplements. Actually, I stumbled across Nordic Naturals one day while checking on another brand of cod liver oil. This Children's DHA is strawberry-flavoured and contains these ingredients : purified artic cod liver oil, d-alpha tocopherol, strawberry essence, rosemary extract. When Samuel turned two, we weaned him over to drinking cow's milk (fresh milk). Only when we are out, we pack along with us formula. There is no Omega-3 in cow's milk especially when cows are given commercial feed instead of grazing on grass. I suppose only organic fresh milk has omega-3 fatty acids nowadays. And everybody is taking a lot of Omega-6 but too little of Omega-3. It is hard to get Omega-3 from our normal diet. Cod liver oil is the best source of Omega-3 fatty acids with direct forms EPA and DHA which the body can use straightaway. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain development especially in the early years, for proper functioning of the nervous system and for proper visual function. At two, it is fine for him to take cod liver oil straight from the bottle. I give him less than half a teaspoon after dinner. One bottle can last about 3 months. I have chosen not to give him Scotts Emulsion after studying all the ingredients that are in it. There are preservatives and lots of other stuff. Ingredients : Water , Cod Liver Oil , Sucrose , Phosphoric Acid 2% or Less of , Tricalcium Phosphate 2% or Less of , Monocalcium Phosphate 2% or Less of , Vitamin A 2% or Less of , Vitamin D3 2% or Less of , Xanthan Gum 2% or Less of , Propylene Glycol Alginate 2% or Less of , Modified Corn Starch 2% or Less of , L-Lysine 2% or Less of , Potassium Sorbate 2% or Less of , Sodium Methylparaben 2% or Less of , Sodium Propylparaben 2% or Less of , Sodium Benzoate 2% or Less of , Artificial Flavor 2% or Less of. Although many of us including I grew up with Scotts Emulsion, we will never know if it is really working. I think with proper education and knowledge, we can make better and wiser choices in what we eat and use. Check out :

Organic Snacks - Wholesome And Healthy

Two organic snacks Samuel takes : Bellamy's Organic Apple Chips and Whole kids organic sultanas. Both are products of Australia. These are healthy, natural and thus safe snacks to eat. Find out more on: The apple chips are sold in Cold Storage supermarkets. They are surely 200% better off than potato chips (and french fries too) which contain acrylamide and is not good to snack too much on. Of course, with sultanas, it is important to take care of his dental hygenie as this snack is sticky and can stay on his teeth.
"All that mankind needs for good health and healing is provided by God in nature...the challenge of Science is to find it." - Paracelcus, the father of Pharmcology, 1493 - 1541