Preparing for a New Baby, Again!

I am happy to announce that Sweet William is going to be a big brother. We are expecting our second baby in early December.

As I consider what the new baby will need, I’m re-evaluating the choices I made in anticipation of William’s arrival. I can already name a few things I’ll do differently.


For several months, I gave William BPA-free plastic bottles. But BPA-free doesn’t guarantee that other potentially dangerous chemicals will not leach into baby’s milk. When that information sank in, I switched to glass bottles by Medela, then Evenflo, which are cheaper and are compatible with the Medela pump. Bonus: the slender design means the glass bottle fits in a large paper coffee cup that is half-filled with hot water — a convenient way to warm a bottle when you’re on the go. Another advantage is that glass bottles can be recycled.

Yes, William likes to bang his bottles on tables and drop them on the floor. So far, just one has chipped at the base. I’ll probably buy a couple of silicone bottle sleeves the next time I come across them.

For a reminder of why we avoid BPA, see What is An Endocrine Disruptor?.


I initially paid little mind to the label on our changing table pad that indicated its compliance with California’s flammability standard. I also disregarded the rips that appeared at the corners after about five months of use. Not so smart, it turns out.

The California flammability label means the pad is made with a polyurethane foam treated with chemicals to withstand an open flame for 12 seconds without catching fire. Those chemicals are toxic to me and my baby.

Flame retardants (notably PBDEs) interfere with thyroid functioning and neurological development and they may cause cancer. PBDEs are in sofas, computers, televisions, rugs, car interiors, and more. Over time, normal wear and tear leads to the accumulation of PBDEs in household dust. Babies suffer greater exposure than adults, in part because they ingest PBDEs when they suck on their hands.

Learning this, I ditched our changing pad and purchased this replacement from Naturepedic. It is filled with chemical-free organic cotton, covered with an organic cotton fabric, and coated with a clear 100% polyethylene food-grade waterproof coating. It’s non-toxic, non-allergenic, built to last, and easy to clean.

(I also threw away William’s high chair seat cushion, which bore the California compliance label. He’s dining comfortably without it).


They’re available. Why not use one? William’s oak crib is finished in non-polymerized tung oil, which is non-toxic, but watching him gnaw on the rails makes me think finish-free is an even better idea. Chemical additives in varnishes can be dangerous when ingested. Plus, many of them off-gas into the air your sleeping baby breathes.

When shopping for a crib, it’s also important to find one that is built with low-VOC, non-formaldehyde glues.

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