Bottle feeding can be tricky, from finding the best formula to buying the right equipment to warming and sterilizing the bottles. Not to mention trying to settle a hungry, crying baby–or worse, two.
But don’t panic. While it takes some practice at first, you’ll get the hang of it sooner than you think, and getting to know your options can help.
When it comes to bottle warmers, many people think it’s one of those extra products that aren’t truly necessary. It makes sense, considering there are other ways to heat baby bottles. However, bottle warmers can save you a lot of time–and sleep–compared to other methods, especially double bottle warmers, if you have twins!
Double Bottle Warmers: What You Need to Know
First things first: what is a bottle warmer? It is a gadget that warms bottles of breast milk or formula safely, using either steam or hot water. Most of them run on electricity, but there are some options on the market that run on batteries.
Bottle warmers usually have features like different heat and temperature-control settings, digital timers, and automatic shut-off switches that prevent overheating. But the main advantage they offer is as simple as having a ready-to-go meal at an ideal temperature in a short amount of time.
Double bottle warmers–or twin bottle warmers–are the same, except they can warm up two bottles at a time instead of one, which can make feeding twins a lot easier.
How Do Bottle Warmers Work?
There are different types of bottle warmers on the market, and most of them work either with a water bath, a heating plate, or steam.
For those that use water bath warming, you usually place the bottle in the warmer’s water bath and select the desired temperature. On the other hand, when the warmer works with a heating plate, you attach the bottle to it and select the temperature.
For warmers that use steam, you put a measured amount of water at the bottom of the warmer and place the bottle on top.
The Different Types of Baby Milk
Technically, bottle warmers can be used to warm any type of baby milk. Let’s go over the different options:
- Powder formula: Powder formula is made to be mixed with water before feeding it to a baby, and it’s the most affordable formula on the market.
- Concentrated liquid formula: Liquid formula also needs some water added to it, but it can be easier to prepare–however, it’s more expensive than powder formula.
- Ready-to-feed formula: This is the most convenient–and also the most expensive–formula on the market. Just like its name indicates, it’s ready to use, so you don’t need to add anything to it before feeding.
- Breast milk: Breast milk can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to use later (freshly pumped breast milk lasts up to 4 days in the refrigerator and up to 12 months in the freezer, but it’s best to consume it within 6 months). Although it can be fed at room temperature or cold, you can warm it using a bottle warmer.
It’s important to note that while concentrated and ready-to-feed formulas are sterile, powder formula is not. This is why powder formula should be sterilized using boiled water before feeding it to the baby.
In this case, a bottle warmer would be useful if you’re making the powder formula in advance and refrigerating it. You should use it within 24 hours and can use a bottle warmer to warm it before feeding it to your baby.
What Are the Benefits of Warming Your Baby’s Milk?
The main reason why people warm their babies’ milk is preference. When babies are breastfed, the breast milk is naturally at body temperature–so it makes sense that warm milk gives them the most comfort. But ultimately, there aren’t any medical reasons to warm baby milk.
Does this mean babies can drink cold milk? Believe it or not, yes. Babies who are formula-fed or drink breast milk from a bottle can drink it warmed or straight-from-the-refrigerator cold.
However, preference does affect how well your baby feeds, and you may find cold milk to be unsuccessful. So if you’re struggling with feeding them, experimenting with different temperatures can be beneficial.
You can also experiment with different baby bottles–some bottles, such as the Comotomo Baby Bottles, are designed to mimic breastfeeding, which helps the baby latch more smoothly. They offer a comforting, skin-like feel and have anti-colic vents that help prevent colic, gas, and spit-up.
The Don’ts of Warming Milk
Although many babies like their milk warm, there are some cautions you should take when heating it. The first no-no is none other than the microwave: you should never heat cold breast milk or formula milk in the microwave since it can leave hot spots and burn your baby’s mouth or esophagus, as well as kill essential nutrients.
You should also be careful not to overheat the milk–many of its beneficial qualities can disappear if the temperature exceeds 176ºF. For instance, if you’re using a bottle warmer, set it to a lower heat, and if you’re using a water bath, try using warm water instead of boiling water. Additionally, avoid reheating milk that has already been warmed.
What is the Easiest Bottle Warmer to Use?
You can find several different types of bottle warmers–the most convenient one for you depends on your particular case.
Steam vs. Water Bath
The most common bottle warmers will typically use either steam or a water bath to heat them. These warmers usually have a thermostat and an indicator that goes off when the milk has reached the optimal temperature. Some of them also have a timer, which can be quite useful as well.
Electric vs. Battery-Powered
Although most bottle warmers are plug-in appliances, some non-electric ones are also available–most of them rely on batteries, but some of them work with insulation.
Bottle and Food Warmers
Some bottle warmers are designed to heat both milk and baby food. They usually require a little more care to keep them clean, but they can make feeding your baby a lot easier and are useful.
Double Bottle Warmers for Twins
Heating up one bottle at a time can be quite the headache if you have not one, but two hungry babies. Double bottle warmers have room to heat two bottles simultaneously, which makes them lifesavers if you have twins.
Worried About Travel? Use a Portable Milk Warmer
If feeding your baby on the go or while traveling stresses you out, a car or portable milk warmer may be the solution.
Yes–there are bottle warmers designed to take wherever you go! Some use batteries, others use insulation, and others can be connected to your car’s DC connector with an adaptor.
For instance, the Tommee Tippee Travel Bottle Warmer comes with a flask, which keeps water warm, and a beaker, where you place the bottle and then pour the warm water over it. Its compact design makes it easy to carry around in your baby’s diaper bag and holds all standard-sized bottles.
The Bottom Line: Are Double Bottle Warmers Worth It?
As we’ve mentioned before, feeding a baby (times two) can be stressful. You may be struggling to feed your twins, but even if you’re not, preparing everything for feeding every few hours can still get exhausting–not to mention a hungry baby can lose their patience quite easily.
Although in the end, it comes down to personal preference, we believe that yes, double bottle warmers are worth it. Are they an absolute necessity? No. But we consider them to be worth it because they’re one of the products that can make life with twins so much easier.
If you do decide to purchase one, note that the best double bottle warmer for your twins depends on your specific needs. Do you want a simpler option? Or do you want a bottle warmer and sterilizer? Or maybe a bottle and food warmer? Do you prefer a plugin bottle warmer or one that uses batteries? which is the best double bottle warmer for twins? We recommend you look at different options and use a guide, like this one, to help you out.
In the end, it’s all about getting to know your babies and what’s best for them. Remember to have patience with yourself and enjoy the process!