Nothing can soothe a baby quicker than a nice warm bottle. Finding that perfect temperature isn’t always easy, though. If you overheat the milk and burn your baby’s tender mouth, you’ll feel guilty for weeks, and the next several feedings may be painful and challenging for your baby.
In this in-depth buyer’s guide we will cover 5 of the best bottle warmers that will not only prevent this awful situation from happening, but save you loads of your precious time.
|Product||Best For||Our Rating|
|1. Tommee Tippee||All Round|
|2. Dr. Brown’s||Breast Milk|
|3. Kiinde Kozii||Glass Bottles|
|4. Goloho Portable||Travel|
|5. The First Years||Value for Money|
Can’t I Use An Alternative To a Bottle Warmer?
I understand the need to cut corners when you have a new baby. The amount of baby gear needed to take care of one tiny human being is staggering. The baby gear takes up a lot of storage space in your house, and the money you’ve spent in preparation for motherhood makes you feel sick. It takes a small fortune to raise a child (source).
It’s hard to spend money on something like a bottle warmer when you feel there are other ways you can heat up your baby’s milk. And you’re right; alternatives do exist.
Let’s look at some of the other ways, besides a bottle warmer, that you can warm your baby’s bottle:
- Using the microwave: If you learn one thing from this article, it should be never to use a microwave to heat up your baby’s bottle. This might be the single worst way to warm a bottle. The microwave doesn’t evenly heat a bottle – it leaves areas where the milk is too hot. Those hot areas can burn your baby.
- By running warm or hot tap water over the bottle: It takes a couple of minutes to heat the bottle to the desired temperature. If you leave it under the hot water too long, it can become too hot for your baby. If you don’t warm it long enough, your baby might not want it, especially if she’s picky about the temperature of her milk.
Another drawback to running hot water over the bottle is that you need both hands to do this, and while you’re busy that means no one is comforting your crying baby. With a bottle warmer, the machine does the warming while you do the cuddling. I know which job I would rather do – cuddling a baby wins every time.
I think any baby gear that streamlines a process and allows mothers and babies to spend more time together is a good thing.
The hot tap water method does work, which means a bottle warmer isn’t a necessity for people who can follow instructions. Even though it’s not a necessity like a car seat would be, it’s still an important piece of equipment for your baby’s safety because you can’t always depend on others to care as much about safety as you do.
Can The People Looking After Your Baby Follow Directions?
As much as you might want to be, you are not always with your baby. You have obligations like work that require you to spend a lot of time away from home. While you might be great at warming your baby’s bottle under tap water for only a minute or two and checking the temperature before you give it to her, other people may not.
I know that from experience. When I was a new mother, I had several well-meaning relatives who warmed my baby’s bottles way beyond what I was comfortable with.
All these relatives were intelligent, and they certainly weren’t trying to hurt my baby, but they just didn’t realize one important fact – what doesn’t feel hot enough to an adult may be plenty hot enough for a baby.
Think about it
A bottle warmer can take the guesswork out of how long to warm a bottle, and they are simple to use. That protects your baby from well-meaning caregivers who never seem to think a baby’s bottle is hot enough.
Will a Bottle Warmer Work For Breast Milk?
Bottle warmers provide an excellent way to warm up breast milk that has been thawed or refrigerated. Some warmers can even heat up breast milk straight from the freezer.
While any chunks of ice should indeed be gone from a bottle before you start feeding your baby, breast milk can be served cold, but many babies prefer it warmer. When my children were babies, they didn’t mind drinking cold bottles, but they seemed to prefer warm ones. A warm bottle, some gentle lullabies and a few snuggles made my children content and sleepy.
Whether you use a bottle warmer or another method, bottles shouldn’t be heated much higher than body temperature.
If you have heated up your breast milk and your baby refuses to take her bottle, it is generally safe to only heat it one more time (source).
Keep your fingers crossed your baby will take her bottle after you’ve reheated it – as much as it stinks to waste breast milk, if she doesn’t take it that second time you should toss it down the sink. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your baby’s health.
How Do Bottle Warmers Work?
Determine which method of warming you prefer – water bath or steam heat.
Some bottle warmers heat the bottles through a water bath. These provide slow but consistent heat. They don’t tend to get as hot as the machines that use steam.
Other bottle warmers use steam heat, which heats the bottle quicker than the water bath method. The main drawback to this approach is that you need to be careful when using the unit because of the high temperature of the steam.
The outside of the bottle can get scalding with a steam bottle warmer so your crying baby may have to wait a couple of minutes longer while the outside of the bottle cools down a bit. Steam doesn’t always heat the milk evenly, which means there can be hotter areas that can hurt your baby.
What Should I Look For In a Bottle Warmer?
If you’ve decided to take the plunge and buy a bottle warmer, here are some things to consider:
- You’ll want to find a bottle warmer that can also be used to heat baby food. That way you’ll get more bang for your buck when your baby becomes old enough to start eating.
- The bottle warmer should be able to warm a bottle quickly. Otherwise it might be a waste of your time. Babies aren’t known for their patience, and no mom wants to wait for 10 minutes while a screaming baby can’t be consoled because it is starving.
- The final product should be consistently warmed milk with no hot spots.
- A bottle warmer should be versatile enough to handle bottles in many sizes and shapes.
- You want a bottle warmer that you can take on weekend getaways – it should be portable and easy to pack. I know packing for a vacation when you have a baby is no easy feat – your baby needs more suitcases than you do for your stuff.
- Make sure the unit is compact enough to fit easily in a small suitcase. There are even car warmers you can take in your vehicle to make it easy to warm breast milk while you are on the go.
The Best Baby Bottle Warmers of 2018
Now that you know why you might need a bottle warmer, how to use and clean one, and exactly what you should look for when buying —
Here are our 5 favorite products in 2018:
This unit, made of stainless steel and plastic, can warm milk for your baby anytime, anywhere. It stores hot water for warming food and bottles for busy parents who are on the go. The water is kept warm by the thermal flask.
This unit doesn’t require any electricity, which makes it perfect for trips in the car. The plastic is BPA free, and the lid fastens securely so that you won’t have any water spills while trying to warm your baby’s milk. If you put boiled water in the thermos, it will stay hot for hours.
- Can be used with most bottles of various shapes and sizes.
- Doesn’t require any electricity so it can be used anywhere.
- Easy to use.
- Doesn’t work the best for frozen milk.
- Doesn’t fit into the cup holders in most cars.
- The flask only holds enough hot water for approximately two feedings.
The Dr. Brown warmer uses a water chamber that can heat up multiple bottles before it has to be refilled. It can warm both standard and wide neck bottles, and it can also warm up baby food jars.
This warmer has a control panel which is easy to operate and an audible alarm to let you know when a bottle has finished warming. Parents who aren’t tech savvy may appreciate the one-button start feature on this unit. If you always use the same bottle size straight from the refrigerator, there’s a memory function that can be set to your preferred heating time.
- Any standard bottle should fit in this unit.
- Warms milk a little faster than some other units on the market.
- The reservoir can get slimy over time because it can be difficult to clean.
- The plastic on the bottles gets so hot you should use a towel to remove it from the machine.
This unit is safe for glass as well as metal, plastic bottles or bags. It both thaws and warms breast milk, formula and baby food. The Kiinde Kozii warmer uses a low-temperature water bath to warm bottles, and it doesn’t use steam.
It heats quickly and consistently because of the low heat it uses, which helps avoid hot spots that might burn your baby’s mouth.
It is versatile enough that you can pop in frozen breast milk storage bags straight from the freezer. This warmer has an automatic timer that shuts off when the set time is finished.
- Can even be used with steel bottles.
- Parents don’t need to measure water for every use.
- Parents might find this unit too expensive.
- Not convenient to take with you on trips.
- Does not sterilize pacifiers.
Goloho’s bottle warmer has a stainless steel warming chamber that allows for thermal conductivity better than plastic does. The stainless steel is resistant to rust and corrosion.
This bottle warmer heats and thaws milk for your baby, but also warms food and can sterilize pacifiers, which is handy for moms with babies who love to make a game out of dropping their pacifiers.
This compact, portable unit is easy to pack up for a last-minute trip. It doesn’t use steam heat and is BPA free. Most normal-sized bottles and wide neck bottles will fit in this warmer, except for Comotomo and Tommee Tippee brands.
- Works with glass bottles.
- This little warmer won’t take up much space in a suitcase.
- Easy to wipe clean.
- Doesn’t come with a car adapter.
- Can only be used in your vehicle if your car has an electrical outlet.
- It won’t automatically shut off.
This is one of the cheapest options out there. It will heat up breast milk, formula or baby food jars quickly. It has an automatic shut-off for added protection for your family. This unit works with almost any kind of bottle – it can handle wide mouth, narrow, disposable or angled bottles. For moms who are concerned about their baby’s safety, it is BPA free.
It’s user-friendly – all you have to do is add a small vial of water, place the bottle in the unit and press a button to start warming your baby’s bottle. After the light goes off, the bottle is ready. And if you forget to shut it off because of your impatient, screaming baby, the auto shut-off has you covered.
- Includes a basket insert you can use for heating baby food jars.
- You can sterilize pacifiers with this unit.
- Can heat a bottle in under 5 minutes.
- Since the inside of the unit is plastic, you sometimes get that melted plastic smell.
- Figuring out how long to heat a bottle takes some trial and error with this unit.
My Favorite Is…
The primary purpose of a bottle warmer is to heat up a bottle quickly and safely so you can feed your crying baby as soon as possible. Babies constantly cry, and if you can cut back on the time they spend doing that, you’ll be a much happier and well-rested mom.
You shouldn’t have to part with much of your hard-earned money for a warmer, and you shouldn’t need a Ph.D. to figure out how it works. You want something simple to operate that won’t drain your savings account. That’s why The First Years Quick Serve Bottle Warmer comes out as the winner of this list. You could buy three of these warmers for what you would spend on one Kiinde Kozii warmer.
It is versatile, able to handle a wide variety of bottle sizes.
With this unit, when you stumble into the kitchen in the middle of the night, your baby’s bottle will be warmed in no time, and it won’t be long before you both can catch up on your much-needed rest.
How Do I Use a Bottle Warmer?
Every bottle warmer will come with its set of instructions – you should read these carefully. Not all bottle warmers operate in the same way – some are much different than others.
But let me give you an example of one of the most popular warmers on the market.
How to Use a Tommee Tippee Bottle Warmer
- You place your baby’s filled bottle in the warmer.
- You put water in the warmer compartment until it reaches 10 millimeters below the rim. If your bottle is bigger, you’ll want to allow more space by filling the warmer compartment to about 12 millimeters underneath the warmer’s rim.
- Check to see that the warmer is on the “MIN” setting before you plug it in.
- Plug it in and make sure the indicator light comes on to show the unit is working.
- Move the dial to setting 3.
- When the water is heated adequately, you’ll see the light will go off. That doesn’t mean the milk is ready, though. It just means the water has reached the right temperature to heat the milk.
- Give the milk time to be heated to the temperature you want. Follow the heating guidelines in the instructions that come with the warmer. For example, if you’re using a 5-ounce bottle from the refrigerator, you’ll want to warm it for 5 minutes, but if the bottle was at room temperature, you’ll only want to warm it for 4 minutes.
- Be careful when taking the bottle out of the warmer because the water surrounding it will be hot.
- Always check the temperature of the milk on the inside of your wrist to make sure it isn’t too hot for your baby.
- After you are finished with the warmer, put the dial back on the lowest setting and unplug it.
If you are warming baby food with the Tommee Tippee unit, there are different instructions (source).
How To Clean a Bottle Warmer
Before cleaning a bottle warmer, you should always make sure it is unplugged first to avoid injury.
You should discard any water in the unit that was used to heat the bottle and follow the specific instructions each unit comes with because they won’t all have the same directions.
These are the basic guidelines you can follow:
- Pour some boiling, soapy water into the reservoir.
- Allow the water to loosen any debris by sitting for several minutes.
- Pour out the water into your sink.
- Take 1 spoonful of room temperature water and 2 spoonfuls of uncooked non-instant dry rice into the reservoir and shake it.
- Rinse the unit well to remove any excess rice grains.