Cheap Way to Get Rid of Plastic Baby Bottles

by Carrie Kirby on 30 May 2008 17 comments
Photo: Swistle

Chemical worries can wreak havock with a parent's budget. "Anything for Baby," Gerber proclaims, but sometimes I wonder: When I spend in the "anything" category to avoid possible contaminants, is it really "anything for Mommy's psyche?"

Fears about contaminants in polycarbonate plastic baby bottles such as the popular Avent brand have been widespread. The chemical BPA, found in hard, clear plastic, has been shown to be a hormone distrupter. But for parents who invested in a slew of Avent bottles, replacing the whole system can be cost prohibitive. And Avent nipples are pretty nice -- if your baby is used to those, I can see not wanting to switch to another brand of bottle at any price.

One blog has a very frugal suggestion: Keep the silicone nipples that come with the Avent bottles, but screw them onto a glass bottle. A Smuckers jam jar, to be exact.

Et viola. According to Swistle, who originally posted both the photo and the idea, the Avent nipple will screw onto an Avent bottle with nary a leak. Actually, the blogger's mother came up with the idea. Through trial and error, Swistle et famille found that this works with the 10-ounce or 12-ounce bottles, not the 18-ounce size. And what infant needs an 18-ounce bottle, anyway?

How much are you saving here? Well, an Evenflo glass bottle costs around $2, while the Born Free brand is more like $10. A jar of Smuckers sells for around $3 on Peapod and surely less on sale elsewhere, and there were 35-cents-off coupons for them in recent newspaper inserts. Of course, if you normally buy Smuckers anyway, the jars are free.

Also, Swistle pointed out to me that with the surge in popularity of glass bottles, some retailers have been fresh out of the affordable brands. (Amazon seems to have the Evenflo ones right now, though.)

The only concern I would voice on this ingenious system: Be careful with your jam jar bottles! All glass bottles can break, but I found that the glass baby bottles we used were pretty tough. I have dropped them on a tile floor with nary a chip. Since jam jars are not manufactured for repeated use, I doubt they would show the same durability. I certainly would not let a toddler crash around the house with a Smuckers "bottle" in hand.

Maybe someone out there can jury rig something like this, but to fit a Smucker's jar?

In the end, I love the ingenuity of this idea, but I can't tell if it appeals to my sensible side or my inner disregard for safety. What do you think? Is avoiding the potential risk of hormone disruption worth the risk of glass splinters? Or is this a method for people too tight to shell out a few extra bucks for their child's safety?

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Guest's picture
Swistle

Awesome! I love the part about "anything for Mommy's psyche"!

Guest's picture
Guest

My guess is that Smuckers is just as concerned about having glass splinters in their jam jars as any manufacturer would be about having them in their baby bottles. Also, in the unlikely event that you did whack the rim and knock off a splinter without knowing it, I think the nipple would be a pretty safe barrier to prevent even a very small splinter from getting through.

Cool idea! Especially since babies do tend to be VERY opinionated when it comes to nipples, so this is great for one who has already gotten hooked on Avent.

Guest's picture
Mama L

Of course, there is always the stay home with your children and nurse them from the tap (breastfeeding) plan. [duck]

Personally, had my kids taken a bottle, I think I would have sprung for the glass bottles and reused the jam jars elsewhere for the breakage concern you raised.

Guest's picture
Guest

After reading your smart alec comment I felt the need to reply. I tried to breastfeed my son for three months. I had my heart set on it however my body did not allow it. I produced enough milk all day for just one feeding. Contrary to your popular belief not everyone is as lucky as you. You should spend your time being grateful for your ability and not chastizing others for their ways of doing things. What goes around comes around my dear!

Guest's picture

Actually, we replaced all our Avent bottles with the Gerber gentle flow bottles. They're BPA free and you can get them at Walgreens. All of the Avent nipples, rings and tops are interchangeable!

Guest's picture

You could easily sew or knit a cover, or stick a sock (or Baby Legs) over the glass if you're that concerned about slipping. Shouldn't be difficult at all...

Guest's picture

You could easily sew or knit a cover, or stick a sock (or Baby Legs) over the glass if you're that concerned about slipping. Shouldn't be difficult at all...

Guest's picture

You could always sew or knit a bottle cover, or even just stick a sock over it. Should be easy enough.

Guest's picture
Guest

One more (possibly fanatical) health concern, however: if you are giving your baby expressed breastmilk from a bottle, some sources say the bottle should be plastic. Research indicates that some of the beneficial antibodies found in breast milk may cling to a glass bottle. Google it and decide for yourself.

Guest's picture
Angela

The Canadian government is the first to declare BPA a toxic poison. If you live in Canada you can take all your old bottles back to the store and have them replaced with non BPA bottles for free, Advent included. You can no longer purchase any bottles in Canada with BPA. While everyone is focused on bottles don't forget that soother that your baby is probably sucking on 12 hours a day is loaded with BPA, try and find a natural rubber alternative.

Guest's picture
Jenny

For a baby, it seems to me the jam jar would be perfect; for a toddler who's running around with his cup, I'd invest in one high-quality safe one. A lot of my friends use a stainless steel Kleen Kanteen which has adapters for different types of mouthpieces. Really, does a kid need more than one cup? When he's done with it, wash it out in the sink, fill it back up with water and hand it back to him. High-performance item, relatively low cost for only one of them.

Carrie Kirby's picture

I guess other parents are much more on the ball than we are, but the Kleen Kanteen didn't last long with us. First, my daughter dropped it down a two-story porch accidentally and the screw top broke off and landed in a construction pit next door. I ordered a new top, and of course eventually we lost the thing.

Not need more than one cup? I find if we don't have at least half a dozen we never have one clean and available. Either they're all in the dishwasher, in the car or stroller, got left somewhere, or I have no idea where they are.

Guest's picture
jyl

For god's sake, just breastfeed if you care about health!!!!!!!!!!

Carrie Kirby's picture

any parent who uses a bottle for any reason must not care about health at all. this also goes for any parent who has not purchased her child an organic crib mattress, who lives in any housing built before 1980, who makes use of childcare, and, oh, let's see...

 If you must know, jyl, I'm breastfeeding as I type this and my second child refused to ever drink from a bottle at all. But since not all parents are exactly identical to me (some have jobs, some are unable to breastfeed, some have already weaned, to name just a few examples) I thought this information might be helpful to some.

 

Guest's picture
Guest

Even breastfeeding families use bottles. Otherwise what to do with expressed milk? It is the stuff itself which is healthy (even if baby doesn't get the live delivery system every time).

There are special nylon-lined bags for freezing or refrigerating breastmilk designed not to hold white blood cells, etc. Medela makes them.

Guest's picture
Anne

My mom has been saving jam jars for years, of various brands. Although they've never been used as baby bottles, many are in use for everything from storage to drinking cups. None have ever broken just from dropping on the floor (being thrown is another matter-- don't ask how I know...) She has some that have been through the dishwasher countless times in the 10+ years she's had them, and look and function like new. (How many plastic baby bottles can say that?)

Guest's picture
Guest

I would much prefer not to use a bottle with my not-even-month-old daughter. However, we adopted her, we're inducing lactation, and she needs more nutrition than the body is producing at the moment. Formula, while not ideal, is second best. As our lactation consultant reminds us over and over again, "Formula is not rat poison." So I am very glad to see an alternative to plastic that doesn't cost a mint.