As I’d planned to breastfeed, I hadn’t even looked at what bottle-feeding involved.
Yes, I had been prepared and bought some bottles but they were to supposed to be for expressed milk, not formula.
In hospital we had been given ready made formula, with teats that screw directly onto the bottles. (Looking back, it’s funny how tiny those bottles were and if we could get E to drink half of it we were lucky!)
Whilst I was still in hospital husband and I discussed what to do when we got home. Ready made formula is expensive so we decided to go for powdered formula so off he went to the supermarket opposite the hospital to purchase a tub so we were all set for our departure that evening.
When we arrived home we still had a couple of bottles so that was simple – then came the night feeds!!
We’d spent the evening (along with being completely in awe of the little baby that was lying in our living room) googling ‘how to make up formula’.
Doing it by the book
We stuck with the NHS guidelines of making up a formula feed fresh every time, by boiling a kettle, letting it cool for 30 minutes and then making up the feed.
However what the NHS don’t tell you is that a hungry baby doesn’t have a stopwatch and won’t wait for half an hour while your water cools down! This was stressful!
So we decided to go with the other option of boiling the kettle, making up the feed and then cooling the bottle down under a running tap. It still took ages to get to the right temperature (and I was having mild panic attacks about my water bills!)
The Old Fashioned Way
On the internet forums that I’d been reading, many people were discussing how they made up batch feeds, kept them in the (back of the) fridge and then warmed them up slightly in a jug of boiling water. Not the official guidelines but helped them get through the night. So before we went to bed, we decided to do the same and make up at least a couple of bottles.
The next day the midwife came to see us and stressed how important it was to make fresh feeds every time. We didn’t tell her we’d made up bottles in advance but she still made me feel incredibly guilty as if she knew what we’d done. She wasn’t the most pleasant of midwives i’d come across, and if I could have my time over id have told her so, however as a brand new mum who’s overwhelmed with EVERYTHING unfortunately I took her word as gospel.
So the next day we returned to making the feeds up each time we needed one, including through the night. And believe me, when your baby is feeding on demand every 1-2 hours this is NOT fun!! I don’t know how long it takes a kettle to boil but when it’s at 3am in the morning, it takes FOREVER!
I needed a solution
A lovely lady I’d met on the internet years previously had been talking about the same thing a couple of months previously with her newborn, and had been singing the praises of some kind of gadget that would help with the preparation of formula. I didn’t pay a great deal of attention at the time, apart from thinking ‘how difficult can it be to make formula?’
Well now I know!!
So I decided to find out more about this gadget to see if it could revolutionise my life…
The Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine retails at approx £100, however there are usually offers around on Amazon and stores such as Toys R Us, Argos and Mothercare. It’s also worth checking out the baby event in Asda too as it was down to about £60 when this was on.
It looks like this:
Basically it’s a glorified coffee machine for babies. You first run through a simple rigmarole of cleaning and adding a filter (takes about 5-10 mins) and then it’s set up and ready to go, just add water!
There is a dial on the perfect prep so you can set it to how much formula you want to make, from 4 ozs to 10 ozs. Once you’ve set the level, then you press the big button once and it gives a burst of boiling water into our bottle. This kills off any bugs that are present in the powdered formula. Add in your scoops of powder, give it a good swirl to mix it and then place back under the tap and press the button again (it glows green to remind you and you have 2 mins to press it, if not you need to start over again). This then fills your bottle to the required level using cool, filtered water which gives the finished milk an optimum heat of around body temperature. All in under 2 mins, so no impatient, screaming babies!
Is the Perfect Prep necessary?
The Perfect Prep should probably be considered as a luxury item but for me personally, I couldn’t have lived without it. It’s been an absolute godsend.
Of course you don’t NEED it – as we all know you can make up formula using a kettle – but seriously, if you value your sanity (and your sleep) and you have the money, buy it!! You’ll never look back!
Before we bought this, my husband and I were tearing our hair out with stress at 1am in the morning (and 3am, and 5am…and so forth). Once we bought this, it was like a giant weight had lifted off our shoulders!
A screaming baby that has to wait half an hour for a bottle, teamed with parents that have matchsticks holding their eyelids open will probably take much longer to settle than a hungry baby who’s only had to wait 2 minutes for a bottle. Chilled out parents who are able to get more sleep at night make for a much happier and relaxed baby in my opinion! (Says the mum who’s writing this blog post at 4am!!)
The only downsides to the Perfect Prep are a) the initial cost, however as I said you an sometimes pick it up much cheaper than the RRP – and to me it’d be worth every penny at twice the price and b) the minimum feed level is 4 ozs. In the early days E was only drinking 2-3 ozs per feed so we were always wasting 1-2 ozs of formula each time we made up a bottle so if you’re counting the pennies, this cost should be taken into consideration. To us this was negligible and was offset by the fact that it made our lives easier, and at the time that was priceless!
It didn’t take too long for E to increase her feeds though so now it does the job perfectly, as it’s name suggests!
If you end up formula feeding, whether through choice or necessity, then the Perfect Prep is definitely worth considering!