2009 comebacks: The glass baby bottle

What to expect when you're expecting: Onesies, bibs, receiving blankets by the dozen, high-chair, stroller...and oh yes, glass baby bottles. Years after they fell out of favor, glass baby bottles, of the sort used by our parents and grandparents, are now de rigeur for new and expecting parents.

The change has been a few years in the making. In 2007, a group called Environment California released a report, "Toxic Baby Bottles," that got worldwide media attention. Suddenly, companies making glass baby bottles were seeing a run on their product. Why? The report detailed concerns that a chemical used in making plastic baby bottles leached a toxic chemical, Bisphenal A, that could impact the health of babies exposed to it during critical developmental stages.

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a man-made chemical used in polycarbonate plastic, the material used to make most baby bottles and other shatter-proof plastic food containers. Although the Food and Drug Administration says current uses with food are safe, numerous health organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says animal testing has shown that BPA has hormone-like effects on the reproductive system that could lead to prostate and breast issues later in life. The CDC says more study is needed to see if BPA is actually harming people.

Parents aren't taking any chances. As a subgroup, new parents take great pains to make sure their babies are kept out of harm's way. That includes plugging up every electrical outlet and installing safety latches on drawers and cabinets. News that baby bottles could be harmful sent them en mass toward the companies that make and market old fashioned glass bottles. Indeed, soon after the report came out, companies that make glass bottles reported a run on their product, and for a while, they were as hard to find as a Wii before Christmas.

That's changed, and manufacturers have adopted to the new demand. All the major baby-product makers have them, and offer new parents an array of choices, including glass bottles with soft plastic coverings to help keep them from breaking (a concern, since babies of a certain age love nothing more than flinging their bottles out of cribs and strollers, for you to retrieve a dozen times a day.) Here's a good list of some of the offerings that are out there.

Now, it's true that parenting dogma changes with the wind. Every generation is told of a different set of dangers. Nobody had heard of BPA when my daughter was a baby, back in 1997, and so far, she's fine. When I was a baby in the '60s, there were no such things as car seats, and I was laid to sleep on my stomach (now considered a no-no due to SIDS). Plus, my mom didn't bother with nursing, and bottle-fed me formula instead, as was the norm at the time. Although she did feed me with glass bottles. So maybe that's what I can attribute my longevity to after all.

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