Baby Branding


Baby food, baby water, baby sunscreen, baby wash, baby toothpaste. Some products sold for babies have specific features; some are just hype.

Baby food can be made at home. Commercial baby food can be convenient those first weeks when the time and effort to produce a smooth puree may outweigh the cost to buy it. Move baby to thicker and chunkier solids as tolerated, and by 7 to 9 months, soft fruits, steamed vegetables, and beans can often be fork mashed. Information on starting baby on solids foods is here.

Baby water is water that contains the recommended level of fluoride to help the developing adult teeth resist cavities. Most public water supplies are safe and fluoridated making baby water unnecessary. If you your water isn’t fluoridated or you prefer bottled water, you should buy water labeled for babies (sometimes called nursery water) so that you know your baby is getting the right amount of fluoride.

Baby sunscreen. Babies need sun protection. Pick a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for the best protection. The safety of the ingredients is more important than the word “baby” on the label, so check your selection on a site like Skin Deep. There’s more on sun protection here.

Baby wash. Unless you must have that baby product scent, use any mild soap. Again check ingredients for safety here. Same for moisturizers.

Baby toothpaste. Regular toothpaste has fluoride and eating or swallowing excessive amounts can be unsafe. Some experts recommend that parents use a baby tooth and gum cleaner that doesn’t have fluoride until the child can spit it out after toothbrushing; others feel that fluoridated toothpaste protects the teeth from the outside and recommend parents supervise brushing using a smear of toothpaste for children under two years and a pea-sized amount for older children. See the recommendations here and check with your pediatric dentist.

About Lisa M. Asta, MD

Lisa M. Asta, M.D. is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, for which she is also a Media Representative (she has been interviewed for “Kids Health” on Health Radio, and quoted in Parenting Magazine, USA Today, and the New York Times, among other publications). She is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco and past pediatric chair at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. She graduated from Temple University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Asta is also a writer whose fiction has appeared in Inkwell, Philadelphia Stories, Schuylkill, and Zeniada. Her essays have appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Hippocrates, the San Jose Mercury News, and The New Physician Magazine. She is an occasional contributor to KQED public radio’s Perspectives series, and has written articles for Bay Area Parent, Valley Parent, Parents’ Press, and Parents Express, as well as online at,, and She wrote a chapter in The Field Guide to the Normal Newborn, ed. Gary Emmet, M.D. currently has two how-to videos for parents in production which feature Dr. Asta. For more on Dr. Asta’s writing, visit
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