Now that you are pregnant (or you already gave birth to your little bundle of joy and poop), your baby gear list must be longer than Oprah’s 17-page ultimate grocery list. A relevant question you might ask yourself is, “Do I even need a baby bottle warmer?”
I know the struggle is real – I’ve been there. The truth is, even though this is not one of the things you cannot live without (like, a baby crib or, trust me, a baby swing), a compact bottle warmer is so handy that you would regret not buying one as soon as the baby is born and starts crying because he’s hungry. But, you are more than welcome to test the waters first and we’re here to help you make the best decision!
3 reasons you need a bottle warmer
Except for speed, there are so many other benefits of warming your little one’s milk and food in a bottle warmer. Here are 3 of the most important reasons you need one:
1. Health and safety
When we talk about baby food, health and safety should come first. Whether it is expressed breastmilk, formula, or jarred baby food, it should be warmed in such a way that it features no hot spots or overheating. Besides, the food’s nutritional (and, in the case of breastmilk, immunologic) qualities should not be affected by the warming process.
Heating up water on the stove or using your microwave (God forbid) for warming your baby’s milk and food is not only inconvenient, but it also poses a risk of dangerous overheating! The microwave is particularly risky as it distributes the heat unevenly, increasing the risk of burns. Not to mention depriving formula and breastmilk from their valuable nutritional qualities!
2. Ease of use
Heating up water on the stove to warm your baby’s milk may take what seems forever (especially if you do it for the 4th time in the middle of the night after a hundred sleepless nights in a row). A handy bottle warmer does the trick in minutes – just press the button and, boom! A few minutes later you have nicely warmed milk that is just at the right temperature for your little one to enjoy (and, hopefully, go back to sleep).
One of the most important reasons you should get a bottle warmer right now is its convenience. Long gone are the days when all a mother had to do was sit in the cave and gossip with the other cavewomen by the fire, waiting for the men to bring some catch for dinner.
Today’s mothers have places to go, people to meet, and shopping to do. A travel bottle warmer makes a day on the go with a baby much more bearable and easy to survive. After all, there is no mother who would want to feed her baby with cold formula (or worse, leave the baby crying until she gets back home to feed him). On-the-go bottle warmers make all the difference!
Types of bottle warmers
Now that you know you need a bottle warmer, let’s see what your options are:
1. Countertop – countertop bottle warmers are usually powered by electricity, so they should be placed next to an electrical outlet. They are not much bigger than the portable ones but, still, they will work best for parents who have established the place of their bottle warmer (usually in the kitchen or in the nursery).
2. Portable – portable baby bottle warmers are a perfect choice for parents who have bigger houses and who spend their time with the baby in different areas both indoors and outdoors. If you are looking for an easy to move around bottle warmer, make sure you pick one that’s battery operated!
3. Travel – travel baby bottle warmers are the perfect solution to safely warmed baby breastmilk or formula on the go as most of them can be directly plugged into the car’s cigarette lighter. They are your obvious choice if you travel a lot with your baby (visiting friends and relatives, going shopping or going on a vacation).
The best baby bottle warmers on the market:
Baby Brezza Safe & Smart Bottle Warmer
Baby Brezza is your ultimate bottle warmer. It makes the perfect baby shower gift for tech-savvy contemporary parents.
Here’s why we love it:
Unlike most other top rated baby bottle warmers, this one has not only 2, but 3 modes (two warming modes plus one simple defrost mode). The steady warm mode uses warm water to achieve a gentle body temperature heating, which makes it perfect for warming breast milk!
This mode guarantees you that all the essential nutrients in breastmilk remain intact. The fast warm mode uses steam heat and it perfect for formula warming. The simple defrost mode can be used both for defrosting breast milk and baby food. Needless to say, it works with all bottle types.
And now – the best part: the free Baby Brezza app! After you get this app, you will no longer look at the old-fashioned bottle warmers again. It connects to your cutting-edge bottle warmer via Bluetooth and gives you total control of the bottle warmer from your phone! Yes, that means you can choose the setting you want and press START on your phone and, yes, it alarms you (on your phone!) when the warming cycle is over. How cool is that?
Philips AVENT Bottle Warmer
Philips AVENT has so many advantages – it is compact, it features a sleek design, it is super easy to operate and it is compatible with most baby bottles on the market.
Here’s why we love it:
Its compact size and contemporary design make it appropriate for almost any interior design. Despite its good looks, it also has enviable operation – it is so easy to operate it with the help of the warming reference table! What’s more, it is among the fastest bottle warmers as it heats up milk only in about 3 minutes – what more can a busy mom with a hungry baby want?
Except for heating breastmilk and formula, you can also use it for warming baby food and even defrosting. On top of everything, the spacious container works like a charm not only with AVENT bottles, but also with bottles, toddler cups, and food containers of many brands, styles, and shapes!
Dr. Brown’s Bottle Warmer
Dr. Brown’s Bottle Warmer is the best value for money bottle warmer currently on the market. With thousands of customer reviews on Amazon, this little fella will be your invaluable helping hand when warming baby bottles and food jars.
Here’s why we love it:
This reasonably priced unit doesn’t need frequent water refilling and has the capacity of warming several bottles before it needs your attention to refill the water tank. This is particularly handy at night when all you can do is press the button, feed the baby, and drop dead on the bed again.
Its adjustable basket easily fits most bottles and jars, which means you are not restricted to certain brands. The LCD panel is very easy to operate and is packed with cool features like a light that makes heating milk in the dark in the middle of the night way more convenient and an option to save your preferred heating time so the next time you need your baby’s milk warmed, you just press the button and wait for the magic to happen.
The First Years Quick Serve Bottle Warmer
The First Years Quick Serve Bottle Warmer has over 2000 customer reviews on amazon.com and is not only their best seller in baby bottle sterilizers and warmers but also a top rated bottle warmer with 3.8 out of 5 stars (based on thousands of bottle warmer reviews)!
Here’s why we love it:
It is so versatile that it works with basically any bottle you can think of, including disposable bottles, angled bottles, wide-neck bottles, narrow-neck bottles, baby food jars, etc. The ready light towards the bottom is very useful and the automatic shut-off contributes to its safety (and your peace of mind).
The basket is not only removable (for easy taking out of the already heated bottles) but it also works like a charm for hassle-free warming baby food jars. The only deal breaker may be its price… Oh, wait! It comes at a reasonable price! No wonder it’s a bestseller!
Tommee Tippee Travel Bottle and Food Warmer
Tommee Tippee Travel Bottle and Food Warmer is, hands down, the best on-the-go baby bottle warmer on the market.
Here’s why we love it:
Unlike most travel baby bottle warmers that use your car’s cigarette lighter, this one doesn’t need electricity. At all! It is made of sturdy stainless steel and its thermal flask doesn’t need batteries or electricity to keep water warm.
It is so easy to use you won’t believe it – just pour boiling water in the container and fasten the lid. Then, when time has come to feed your little one, you just pour the hot water from the container into the frosted container and put the bottle in the hot water to warm. It is especially handy for warming breast milk on the go!
7 features to look for in a baby bottle warmer
1. Auto shut off – auto shut off is perhaps one of the most important features a baby bottle warmer can have. Why? Because, first, it saves you the drama of guessing whether the milk has been warmed to the right temperature and, second, it drastically reduces the risk of overheating the milk (or burning the device) to zero.
2. Easy operation – given the fact that you will most probably be using this thingy most often than you use your toothbrush AND hairbrush (combined), it better be easy to operate! Set up, buttons, easy to read dials, water refilling needs – the simpler it is to operate, the better.
3. Compatibility – many inexperienced parents fall into the trap of getting their bottle warmer only to find out that it won’t work with the tens (if not tons) of bottles they have already bought. A spacious container, an adjustable basket or any other compatibility feature that promises you any baby bottle will fit in there is a thumbs-up for you to buy the thing and start warming your baby’s milk like a pro.
4. Speed – believe me, the last thing you want in the middle of the night are a few extra minutes of sleepy you trying to soothe a hungry baby until his milk is warmed. The faster the bottle warmer is, the more nervous cells you will be able to keep. Not that you will be left with many of them after the toddlerhood period, but I digress.
5. Portable size – when your house is already full of toys, baby bibs, singing trucks (?!??), baby swings, bunk beds with tents and slides and everything, the last thing you would want is another precious countertop space taker. An easy-to-set-up device that feels comfortable next to your coffee maker (God bless the coffee maker) is all you need until your little one starts eating your food. From your plate. After he has already eaten his dinner plus a banana plus a handful of walnuts. Oh, you’ll get there, big time.
6. Different warming modes – if you want to make the most of your bottle warmer, get one that has different warming modes. There’s the steady warming mode, which is a must if you bottle-feed your baby with breast milk. And then there’s the fast warming mode, which is perfect for formula warming. Oh, and some models feature a defrost mode which is also very handy for defrosting both breast milk and baby food.
7. Power supply – you will come upon three basic power supply options – electricity, batteries, and the car cigarette lighter. Which one you will choose depends mainly on how you plan to use your baby bottle warmer. The electricity-powered ones are the perfect choice for home usage as you won’t have to think about changing batteries every few weeks. The battery-operated and car cigarette powered ones are perfect for traveling, vacations, and for running errands with your little one.
Your questions answered:
Where should I set it up?
Finding the perfect spot may sound like a simple task, but there are several things you should consider. It all comes down to convenience but this can have a different meaning to different parents. The obvious choices:
The kitchen – the kitchen is the place with enough counter space to set the gadget up safely and arrange all the bottles, formula, etc. next to it. It is also very convenient when cleaning time comes as you won’t have to move it around from one room to the other to refill the water and clean the water tank.
The nursery – if you feed the baby in the same room (his nursery) every day and every night, it would be best if you set the warmer up there. Just make sure there is enough dresser/counter space and the cord is safely hidden so nobody can catch their foot on it and accidentally spill the hot contents.
Any flat surface – Who said your bottle warmer should have only one place? Your room, the baby’s room, the kitchen, the living room, any room would work for your baby bottle warmer as long as it’s convenient for you and there is a flat surface where you can set it up safely.
How should I use it?
Depending on your specific model, there will be different features you can avail of. However, basics are basics. Here’s how to feed your baby using a bottle warmer in 8 simple steps:
1. Fill with water up to the fill line.
2. Place the bottle inside.
3. Plug the device in and turn it on.
4. Push the start button (if applicable).
5. Wait till the heating is over (most models have a sound/light indicator).
6. Take the bottle out (give it a good shake and test it on the inside of your wrist).
7. Shut the unit off (unless it does that automatically).
8. Feed the baby.
No go back to sleep and repeat every 2-3 hours for the next few months (if not years).
How to clean the unit?
Different brands and styles will have different cleaning and maintenance instructions so you should read them carefully and follow them if you want to ensure your device works properly and lasts for years. Here are our simple guidelines that will guarantee your unit both long life and stellar performance:
- Never clean a bottle warmer while it is still hot
- Use only a damp dishcloth to wipe the device (no submerging into water or cleaners, please)!
- Refill the water as needed (depending on your model).
- De-scale once a month. Run an empty cycle filling the water container with vinegar and water (1:2). Then rinse, dry out, and it’s as good as new again!
- Always dry your bottle warmer out after use to prevent bacteria from building up.
The bottle-feeding/breastfeeding/sleep-deprived/poop-covered stage of parenthood is hard. Just remember to keep your head above water and you will survive. I promise.