Infants have very little food selection - they get their breast milk or formula at a lukewarm temperature presented at regular intervals. Seems easy enough. Keeping up with the demand, however, often means preparing ahead and storing the excess in the fridge or freezer. Even if you're breastfeeding your little one, from time to time a bottle will be a convenient way to give Dad a turn at 3am or to fit in a date night while the grandparents take charge. This means warming a bottle; the delicate dance that can go: still cold, still cold, still cold, molten lava.
At first, I didn't think a warming appliance was necessary. It seemed expensive and just another annoyance to be ever-present on the already cluttered sight-line of my kitchen counter. After over a month of running the bottle under the faucet and all the manner of mugs filled with hot water, hubby decided to just bite the bullet and try a warmer. I insisted on keeping the receipt in case it didn't work, broke, or otherwise bugged me. I'm a practical girl like that.
- Speed - you can put the bottle on to heat, change your little one's diaper, and by the time you get back, the bottle is ready for service.
- Predictability - once you figure out the level of water required for a given level of baby's meal, the heat is reliably the same each time.
- Convenience - no dirtying extra dishes or worrying about over heating, melting plastic, etc. Hey, one less thing.
- Expense - a warmer does cost you money that, say, heating a bottle in a mug of water doesn't. As a mom though, a free moment and a free hand outweighs the small added price to me. Penny pinching mom's may not agree, and that's reasonable.
- Initial Effort - it does taking a little experimentation to understand what amount of water is required to heat your bottle to the right temperature. You can't trust that you've got it right immediately and still always have to check before feeding. As the feeding amounts increase with baby's age, the experimentation takes place again.
- Portability - you are not going to put this appliance in your diaper bag! That means continuing the mug approach at Grandma's house, restaurants, and anywhere else you may be bottle feeding.
Of course, there are hundreds of costlier products and relatively-free methods not discussed here. Other bottle warming devices (such a sleeves, car warmers, and brands of speciality warming cylinders) are available for purchase. Some moms will use the microwave and have no trouble with that. There will also be moms that manage to exclusively breastfeed and never have to worry about this issue! When it comes down to it - find what works best for you and go with that!