Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Nuk by any other name....

When my babies were small, we called pacifiers ‘nuks;’ I guess in the same vein as calling a tissue a ‘Kleenex’ or a soda a ‘Coke.’ That brand name carried the product, despite which brand you chose. I had one daughter who was hooked on her ‘nuk’ and another who preferred her thumb (and for years bore the callus to prove it).

Back then, no thought was given to the safety of the materials used to manufacture the pacifiers. Oh have things have changed! To think there actually may be toxic chemicals in our baby’s pacifiers is mind-boggling, but true. As a matter of fact, there are quite a few of them out there you should avoid. Some of these are no longer being sold, but if you have an old one lying around somewhere, it’s time to toss it. Here’s a partial list of pacifiers that can present a health hazard to your little one:

• Gerber® Natural Flex®, Round Soft Center®, NUK® Button, and NUK® Fashion Silicone. (Gerber is now producing only BPA-free pacifiers, so this list only applies to Gerber products manufactured prior to January 2009).

• Razbaby® pacifiers (manufactured prior to 2009).

• MAM -- supposedly they were to change over to BPA-free pacifiers in April of this year. I’m not sure when the change took place, but all MAM products are now BPA-free.

• Non-brand name, Dollar Store type pacifiers. If they're Made in China and don't identify themselves as being BPA-free, throw them away!!

Generally speaking, you want to avoid synthetic latex ‘binkies.’ After all, do you really want your baby sucking on nitrosamines? The fact is, this is a carcinogen. Stay away.

The pacifiers that pass the BPA-free test are as follows:

• Natursutten Pacifiers – okay, these win my vote because they are the only all natural organic binkies on the market! Not only are they BPA-free, but they also boast:

     o No artificial colors

     o No parabens

     o No PVC

     o No phthalates

     o No chemical softeners

These pure natural rubber pacifiers are molded in one piece, making them more hygienic than others as there are no joints or cracks to house bacteria.

• Born Free™ – this health-conscious company offers BPA-free bottles, sippy cups and orthodontic pacifiers. Always a good choice.

• Raz-Berry® Pacifier – what sets this 100% medical grade silicone pacifier apart is the unusual shape – it looks like a raspberry – bumpy surface and all! Particularly helpful during those difficult teething times.  

• Razbaby Keep-it-Clean® Pacifier – I love this! The innovative design ensures that a protective cover will close when the pacifier is dropped! Ingenious! Also made by Razbaby.

• NurturePure™ Pure™ Orthodontic Silicone Pacifier & Teether – made from natural food grade silicone, these pacifiers are free of any plastic parts. According to their website, these are the products Hollywood parents are sold on....if you care.

• Gerber® Silicone Nuk® – silicone means no polycarbonate plastics. Stay away from the non-silicone, older ones, however.

• First Years Soothie Silicone Pacifier -- another latex-free binky made of hospital grade silicone. The one-piece design is durable and hygienic.  As an added bonus, these pacifiers can attach to a Wubbanub, an adorable stuffed animal that adds a whole new dimension to the benefits of pacifiers.

• Playtex® Baby Binky® Most Like Mother One-Piece Silicone Pacifier – another one-piece, medical grade silicone pacifier. It’s vanilla scent sets this one apart.

• Avent – all of their pacifiers are now free of BPA.

• Nuby™ -- all of their products are now free of bisphenol A, but this is a recent change, so if you’re holding on to older Nuby pacifiers, it might be time to replace them with their newer ones.

I am certain I am missing some, if not many, of the BPA-free binky choices out there. If you would like to add to my list, please post a comment. With such a wide choice of BPA-free options, there’s no excuse to let your child continue to suck on something toxic.

And, of course, I am neither advocating nor discouraging the use of pacifiers here. There are strong arguments on both sides. As always, I simply ask that you, as a parent, use your common sense. Research your options and choose what’s right for you and your child.

Keeping it healthy,


Drawing by Jessica Taylor

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