Thursday, May 14, 2015

Baby Must-Have: Bottle Warmer


Now, before anyone decides to correct me on the difference between a "must-have" and a "want," let me tell y'all that I'm fully aware that almost no one actually needs a bottle warmer. The large majority of parents simply place bottles in a mug filled with warm/hot tap water, and a bottle warmer is just another baby contraption that takes up valuable counter space. And I know in my last Baby Must-Have post about Moses Baskets I talked at length about not needing or wanting the items that most American households seem to accumulate. But . . .

As all moms I know tell me, you'll end up with some items you never thought you'd want, and they end up becoming those must-haves for your family even when they're not necessary at all.

Why a bottle warmer? 

So why a bottle warmer for us when they're almost universally acknowledged as frivolous and space-wasters?

I'm not afraid to admit it: for us, it's all about convenience and peace-of-mind.

For me, it's more about convenience. Since I'm planning on staying home and have no conditions that would prohibit it, breastfeeding is the logical choice for the way we'll feed our baby. This won't require any sort of warming routine since my body is already the perfect temperature for baby; however, when it's time to start feeding baby solid foods this contraption will be immensely valuable. We can warm up packets of breast milk to mix in with cereal or food. We can warm up jars and packets of baby food as well.

For Levi, it's about peace-of-mind. I'm the one with the breasts and the milk, so Levi will be out of the loop for awhile when it comes to feeding baby unless I'm out and he's with the baby alone for more than an hour or two. Knowing that all he has to do is pour some milk into a bottle, pop it in the warmer, turn the dial, and pick it up after it's ready--and that it will be correct every time--will go a long way to reassure him.

But are those things really enough to justify this appliance?

Our Tipping Points: 

1. We don't have a microwave. Now, this is not a huge deal when breastfeeding since breastmilk is never supposed to be warmed in a microwave, but it becomes more of an issue when baby food is involved. Warming up a jar/cube of baby food on the stove suddenly becomes troublesome when we start giving baby full meals (like a cube of apple, a cube of chicken, and a cube of spinach). Are we really going to heat the food in three different pans for one meal? Like the food I reheat for myself every day, it's important to me to get food piping hot after it has been stored.

2. I didn't realize until recently that some children are very particular about the temperature of their milk. Our niece will only take her milk if it is hot. I'd like to be armed with temperature control just in case ours is like that.

3. Maintaining the nutritional value of breastmilk is paramount, and I don't want to run the risk we'll overheat our milk and ruin it. I know it's a small risk, but I know that at least once a week we both forget about our rice or our beans on the stove and they start to boil over before we can turn the heat down. We don't often use our kitchen timer because we assume that we'll notice the pot since we're standing right there. With a baby I'm positive our attention will be even more diverted.

Now, one issue with most bottle warmers is they get quite hot in order to facilitate a quick bottle-warming time. This is a problem, however, because the temperatures most bottle warmers reach are not optimal for breast milk, and some don't have an automatic shut-off which can lead to overheating or completely ruining milk if it's forgotten.

Enter the Kiind Kozii.

Kiind Kozii

Being me, I did a bit of research before choosing a particular bottle warmer, and it was clear from a number of different places that this was the best and safest bottle warmer for breastmilk on the market.

The Kiind Kozii is designed specifically to follow the CDC and USDA's guidelines on the correct preparation of stored breast milk. One particular site, Baby Gear Lab, reviewed the top bottle warmers and the Kiind Kozii ranked far and away as the best, mostly because it was the only bottle warmer that couldn't possibly overheat milk.

That was the deciding factor, but other perks include:
1. Easy set up.
2. Easy cleaning.
3. Easy to use.
4. Automatic shut-off.
5. No waiting time between consecutive bottles.
6. Acceptable for glass and extra-wide bottles.

The main cons of the Kiind Kozii are cost (it's about $30 more expensive than most bottle warmers) and time (it takes over 5 minutes to warm a bottle). However, I'm far more interested in its breastmilk-safe design, and I'm willing to wait an extra minute or three for that reason.

Bottom Line

If we were true minimalists, Levi and I would make do without a bottle warmer for the sake of the cause. But, like all new parents, we've had to weigh our desire to maintain a simple lifestyle with our desire for the health of our child with our desire for comfort and peace-of-mind. While simplicity might win out over comfort when it comes to things like an exo-saucer or a swing, comfort wins out over simplicity when it comes to a bottle warmer. I have friends who are the exact opposite--and their babies flippin' love those swings. We're all different.

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Who knows if we'll be glad we got a bottle warmer when our baby is a year old. For all I know it could sit, unused, on our counter from the moment baby is born. But, like many first time parents, it's nice to have that peace-of-mind--even if it turns out we never really needed it.



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