Family

Is it Ok to Store, Freeze, and Defrost Breast Milk in Plastic?

Why some plastic options are okay and what the alternatives are if you're not into plastic.

First of all, hats off to you for bringing forth and sustaining a life with your body! We salute you!

And, if you've managed to figure out your breast pump, a pumping schedule, and bottle feeding, then you deserve all the props in the world. Now, you have nutritious breast milk for your little one while you sleep, go to work, or go out on the town (gasp!). If you are curious about how to safely store, freeze, and defrost your liquid gold, we've got you covered.


For other questions about pumping and all other things breastfeeding related, KellyMom is a highly recommended online resource.

Refrigerating Milk

If you are just storing the milk for a short period of time before your baby gulps it down, no need to freeze it. Store it in extra glass or stainless steel bottles until your baby drinks it, which also helps to cut down on dishes. Even bottles that say BPA free can have hormone-altering chemicals that can get into your breastmilk, so check out our roundup of glass and stainless steel bottles. And since substances that are fatty (hello milk!) or acidic can leach more of these plastic additive chemicals into the food/liquid, it's a good idea to avoid storing your milk in plastic bottles. Additionally, heat and UV damages plastic (like when you sterilize or wash the bottle) which makes it even more likely that the bottle is leaching chemicals into the milk.

Freezing Milk

If you are building up a stash for when you head back to work or when you'll be away from your little one, then you'll need to freeze your milk.

One of the easiest ways to freeze breast milk is in a plastic breast milk storage bag. A lot of moms freeze these bags laying flat, which allows them to be compactly stored. These storage bags are thicker than normal food storage bags and usually have really good seals on them to prevent spillage. They are generally made of food grade LDPE (low density polyethylene), which falls under the #4 recyclable category. LDPE plastics are also commonly found in bags for dry cleaning, frozen foods, bread, and the linings of hot beverage cups. The good news is that LDPE plastic does not contain additives like BPA or similar chemicals and is generally considered a safer material (1). Make sure to buy high quality breast milk storage bags, because cheap versions may be mixed with other types of plastics. The bad news? There's not really any right now, but some people are still concerned because it's plastic.

If you're looking for a plastic free option for freezing and storing breast milk, some moms have had good luck with 4 oz mason jars or other small baby food containers that are made of glass. There are a couple on our recommended baby food and storage roundup. Just make sure to leave enough room at the top of the container for the milk to expand a bit as it freezes.

Another option is to freeze breast milk in silicone freezer trays and then when the milk is frozen solid, to pop the frozen milk out and store them in the freezer in either freezer ziplock bags, silicone bags, or large glass jars. This requires an extra step, but can be a handy way to only defrost the exact amount of breastmilk you want at any given time. Our baby food and storage roundup also includes a silicone freezer tray if you want to go this route.

Defrosting

One of the easiest ways to defrost milk is by putting it in the fridge overnight. This works no matter how you've frozen your milk. If you are looking to more quickly defrost milk, or you are a busy mom and having to remember to do something the night before is a non-starter, then it depends on how the milk is frozen. If you stored it in a breast milk storage bag, we recommend quickly running it under lukewarm water (not hot!), dumping it into a glass or stainless steel container or bottle when it's still in icy chunks, and then defrosting and heating up the milk in a bottle warmer or under hot water. That way you can minimize any risk that heating up the plastic bag will release chemicals. For those using glass containers, we recommend a warm bath to defrost. Just keep in mind that it will take a bit longer for the middle to fully defrost. Lastly, if you've got your milk in frozen cubes, take the cubes out and put them in a glass or stainless steel bottle and then defrost in a warm bath. If the bottle you use to feed your child is plastic (no judgement if you just can't make stainless steel or glass work!), heating up the milk in a different glass or stainless steel container and then pouring it into the plastic bottle is a simple way to limit exposures to chemicals that could potentially leach from the bottle.


References

1) http://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors/plastic

Tired of changing and throwing away tampons or pads every month? Want a zero-waste alternative for your period? Heard of menstrual cups and period underwear, but not sure which one to pick? Well, look no further! We rounded up the 10 best-reviewed non-toxic menstrual cups and organic period underwear options for you to try out. All of the menstrual cups are made of a flexible medical-grade silicone that collect fluid instead of absorbing it. The period underwear options we found are made with organic cotton, and can be washed.

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Family

Environmental Factors May Have a Bigger Impact on Fertility than You Think

Breaking Down the Science and Ways to Limit Harmful Exposures

Trying to get pregnant should be an exciting time of planning for the next stage of your life, not one full of doctors visits, constant testing, and worrying about body temperatures. But, if you and your partner are struggling with infertility, you are not alone. According to the CDC about 12% of women have impaired fecundity, which is another way of saying that they are having difficulty getting or staying pregnant (1) [there are no statistics on infertility in men, but there is science showing that overall sperm count is decreasing(14)]. And, the science is clear, environmental factors definitely impact reproductive health - for both men and women. Some of the biggest impacts come from air pollution, pesticides, and endocrine disrupting chemicals (2), which are in all sorts of products and affect the way hormones interact with your body.

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Roundups

9 Stainless Steel & Glass Tumblers

For iced coffee, iced tea, and smoothies on the go

Getting iced coffee in a plastic cup with a plastic straw is a lot harder to do after watching that video of a plastic straw being removed from a turtle's nose. Plus there is also that pesky condensation that creates a pool of water at the bottle of your cupholder or on your desk. So we found the 9 best reviewed stainless steel and glass tumblers, so that you can have your iced beverages in style this summer. Many of the brands have different sizes ranging from 20oz to 30oz and variety of colors. We prefer stainless steel or glass because many of the acrylic or plastic tumblers may have chemicals similar to BPA. We also link to some stainless steel straws because not all of these tumblers come with straws. And if you're like us, drinking iced coffee through a straw is just synonymous with summer.

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Life

Easy Ways To Keep Your Car Smelling Fresh Without the Synthetic Scents

Cause Traditional Car Air Fresheners Are No Good For Your Health

Those little tree-shaped air fresheners dangling from a rear-view mirror or air vent clip-ons may feel festive, but most car air fresheners can be bad for your health. They seem so innocent, so how is that possible you might ask?

One of the biggest issues with these products is the mystery behind what goes into them. Believe it or not, It's actually hard to be 100% certain about what chemicals are in air fresheners. There's a ton of secrecy into what actually goes into a fragrance product because companies can claim their ingredients are trade secrets. We definitely can't say a product is safe if we don't even know what is used to make it.

However, we do know that most air fresheners are made up of a ton of synthetic fragrances. There are literally thousands of chemicals manufacturers can choose from when making a product with synthetic fragrance. And a lot of these chemicals are known to have negative impacts on our health. (1)

On top of that, fragrance in air fresheners usually contain both phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (2). Although these chemicals can make scents powerful, they can also be allergens that cause coughing, headaches, and runny noses (2). Phthalates are also hormone disruptors and VOCs can be carcinogens. We definitely don't want to be constantly breathing in those chemicals, no matter how good they might smell!

The amount of space inside your car is also a reason we don't like traditional car air fresheners. A smaller space = more concentrated exposure, and since you probably have your windows closed 90% of the time, a car is one of the worst places to keep a strongly-scented product.

Luckily, there are easy, nontoxic ways to make your car smell fresh! You can keep a container filled with baking soda or a baking soda freezer pack hidden somewhere. Baking soda is a completely natural way to eliminate odors and a box is only a couple of dollars! Using scents from natural sources are also a great way to add a little freshness to your car. You can put a few drops of an essential oil onto a clothespin or another wooden item and leave it somewhere in your car (3). When the smell goes away, just replenish with a few more drops of oil! If you prefer something a little more contained, we also love putting satchels of lavender or rose petals around our car.

But perhaps the easiest way to get rid of a bad smell is to simply roll your windows down! Maybe rolling down the windows will help make your commute a little more relaxing too.

References:

  1. https://www.nrdc.org/media/2007/070919
  2. https://kellybroganmd.com/is-your-uber-air-freshener-making-you-sick/
  3. https://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/how-to-make-3-naturally-scented-air-fresheners-for-cars/
Roundups

12 Best Non-Toxic Diaper Creams

Our top recommendations for your baby's bottom that parents love

Updated for 2019!

We get it- you're busy but you also want the best for your baby. But who has the time to sit down and do hours of research on the best diaper creams for your baby's bottom? That's why we're here! We have nothing butt (get it?) amazing products for our non-toxic diaper cream roundup. These 12 products are free from irritants like fragrances and use soothing ingredients to keep diaper rash at bay. Some options have non-nano zinc oxide to protect the skin, and some work more as an ointment to prevent redness. Looking for an organic diaper balm? We've got those too. As always, we thoroughly researched consumer reviews to ensure you're getting a stellar product that actually works and that parents love.

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Home

10 Places to Buy PVC-free Wall Decals

Why it's worth considering before your next redecorating project

Wall decals are the perfect decorating solution for nurseries, kids rooms, renters, dorm dwellers, or basically anyone who is a commitment-phobe. There are endless designs that can add just the pop you need, and they are easy to remove for when you want to change it up. But most wall decals are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), otherwise known as vinyl. These vinyl stickers have added phthalates which make the plastic stickers super thin and flexible, yet durable enough so they don't rip easily. Phthalates have endocrine disrupting properties that can wreak havoc on your hormones and have been linked to a variety of health issues like cancers, infertility, preterm birth, impaired brain development, and asthma and allergies. Basically, not good stuff. Plus, the manufacturing process of PVC is really bad for the environment and communities where it's manufactured (1) and there's no way to recycle it. Eek. Not good all around.

So next time you're shopping for a wall decal, check the 'details' section on the product page. A decal that says vinyl or doesn't specify anything is probably one you want to avoid. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites that make PVC-free options that still get high marks from designers. We pulled together our top 10 favorites sites down below.

  1. Chocovenyl
  2. Eco Wall Decals
  3. Koko Kids
  4. Love Mae
  5. Oopsy Daisy
  6. Petit Collage
  7. Pop and Lolli
  8. Sunny Decals
  9. Tiny Me
  10. Wall Dressed Up


References:

  1. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-09/documents/vinyl-chloride.pdf
Family

5 Tips for Healthy Kid-Friendly Meals (cause the struggle is real!)

Dreading dinner time every night? We're here to help.

Let's face it, getting a child to eat, no less a picky eater, might actually be the most daunting task in the world. Whether you've been on the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches only train for the past week or past month and just want your child to add something green or leafy to their palate, we've got you covered. We've put together some overall suggestions to incorporate into meal-prep that are not only more kid-friendly, but will also help you avoid processed foods that might be less healthy or have added toxic chemicals.

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