January 13, 2014
Sometimes it seems like parenting in today’s world is so much more complicated than it was for our parents. Breast or formula? How do I choose a pump? What type of bottle? Is BPA-free enough or do I need to be plastic free? What is silicone anyway? My mom didn’t worry about any of this craziness. She mostly breastfed me and when she needed bottles, there were a few of them in the family and she used them.
When our son was born, we went out of our way to use all glass bottles, with varying degrees of success among brands. It was honestly fairly easy given the great variety of of brands making glass bottles nowadays.
Fast forward to the toddler days and things have gotten much dicier. We’ve tried so many brands of stainless steel sippy cups that I feel like I should open up a “device lab” where parents could come and test before buying. After much researching, reading about BPA and “BPA-free”, leaking cups, straws that don’t stay put, etc., we finally settled on one we love for when we’re on the go. Unfortunately, the straw is plastic, but I suppose that’s a small piece compared to the full on plastic cups I see most parents using out-and-about.
So that’s settled, right? WRONG. At home, my son prefers an open glass hands-down. He likes to lift it in his little hands, feel the milk hit his lips and practice the perfect cup-tilt, mouth-opening combination. Those are sensory joys even the best sippy cup just can’t provide. I’d been letting him drink from our high-ball-type bar glasses, knowing it was a matter of time before one of them shattered into tiny shards all over the floor.
Recently, I was teaching a cheesemaking class and a student gave me the inspiration I’d been needing. In the class, I serve wine pairings in these adorable Weck Jars. Forget ball jars glued onto candlestick holders, the smallest Weck Tulip jar is the perfect wine glass for my business, adorably classy with just enough homesteady charm to fit our niche. Anyway, the student asked where she could find the jars because they would be perfect for her toddlers. The exact size of tiny hands with thick shatter-proof glass… Well, why didn’t I think of that??!
After the spark of my student’s inspiration, I took the idea one little step further. Rummaging through my cabinets to clear out some of the baby bottles we no longer need, I ran into the old Life Factory bottle my husband so despised. The silicone sleeve insulated the jar to the point where it took twice as long to heat breastmilk in a pan of water on the stove. As I was preparing to pack it away, thinking about that old silicone and how sad it was that such a clever feature actually devalued the bottle in my husband’s eyes, it occurred to me there could be more uses for it where the insulation would be a benefit. Would it possibly fit on the little Weck jars to further protect them from breakage? Behold…