Guide to Feeding Materials
Finding the perfect dinnerware for your children.
As an adult it seems like there are so many options for dinnerware. You could go into any chain store and find dinnerware sets that match your style, are in your budget, are durable, and more importantly non-toxic. But, when it comes to finding dinnerware for our babies, toddlers, and young children it's a bit harder to know what is the safest option.
We've broken down some of the pros and cons of some of the most popular options to help you make the decision of what is best for your family.
Whether you're walking through the baby aisle of a regular store or doing a simple google search, you will see an ample amount of plastic options. They tend to be inexpensive and accessible, but there are many reasons you should stay away from plastic.
Many plastics contain PVC, BPA, BPS, and phthalates which can all be harmful for users of any age. Most of these toxins are released when plastic is heated. That's right, when you microwave food in or on plastic you could be releasing toxins right into the food! Another way these toxins get released is if you use the heating feature when running your dishwasher. If the microwave and dishwasher are commonly used in your home we suggest making it easy for yourself and NOT using plastic.
Another reason we are anti-plastic is because it is a material that is designed to last for hundreds of years but is often used for short-term uses. That means once the time comes to dispose of your plastic, if not done properly, the plastic could end up somewhere releasing those toxins we spoke about early into the earth. Sure your children's plastic dinnerware could be handed down to new siblings, cousins, or someone in need, but they are not built to last.
If you do want to use plastic dishes, we recommend looking at a brand like Re-Play, which recycles plastic from old milk jugs to make their products. They still should not go in the microwave or dishwasher, but they are a more eco-friendly option because they extend the life of already existing plastic.
Wood is probably one of the least commonly seen materials when shopping for children's dinnerware. It could be because quality woodware is expensive. However, it is great because it is a natural material! It is biodegradable after a few years, meaning that it can easily be broken down and recycled by nature. It is also renewable, meaning the material can be replaced by growing more trees. When properly taken care of, wood is durable and long lasting.
Like plastic, you cannot throw wood in the microwave or dishwasher. However, the reason for that is different. Wood has a small water content, so when wood gets heated it will swell or warp. It takes a little more care than some other materials to keep your wood dishes and utensils in good condition, but many families find it worth it for dishes that will only be used for a few years and have such a low environmental impact.
Bamboo dishes and utensils are similar to wood in many ways, but are considered more durable. If you keep them out of the dishwasher and microwave, bamboo will break down slower than wood, but is still biodegradable at the end of its life. Bamboo is also more resistant to staining and picking up odors than wood. Overall, their use and care is similar, but bamboo has a few perks that make some families prefer it over wood.
Silicone is a great option if you are looking for a product that is lightweight and durable, like plastic, but does not leak chemicals. As long as silicone is kept below 300 degrees Fahrenheit, there is no risk of chemicals being released. For comparison, boiling water is only 212 degrees.
Silicone is also more convenient than any other material on this list because it can go in the microwave and dishwasher. In terms of its environmental impact, silicone can be recycled, but must be taken to a specialized recycling facility.
Love the idea of silicone but don't like the traditional look of it? We just started carrying the Home Collection by Bella Tunno. We are obsessed with how seamlessly these sets can fit into your kitchen!
Are you ready to shop for dishes, bottles, and utensils for your little ones? Click here to see all of our favorite brands and products!