The Dilemma of a Bottle Warmer
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So recently as I began my parental leave that I am so lucky to be able to do I quickly discovered the one thing I hate most about taking care of a baby. It’s not the diapers or the crying or even the gigantic amount of time/attention the little one sucks.
It warming up the goddamn bottles to feed the little sucker!!!!!
I have never been more frustrated by anything in my life than the delicate balance that is warming up the food to just the right temperature so as not to burn their delicate little mouth while also trying to wrangle a hungry baby. You combine that headache with the fact that my kid takes a freaking hour to eat 2 oz of food, which means I then have to warm up the bottle multiple times.
Feeding time usually look something like this…
Finally, I had had enough and I started to look for some solutions to this madness. Then I stumbled across the fact that they make little devices that are designed to heat up a bottle in as little as 2 minutes (depending on how cold/amount you are heating).
I was of course intrigued, was this my solution, a product designed to be used for only one thing and for a limited amount of time? If you have read anything I have put out on the Green Living Library you are probably seeing where I am going with this. I don’t believe in specialty devices that really have only one practical use. They clutter up my house which is cluttered enough and once you are past the stage you need it what do you do with it? Specialty gadgets are notorious for just being used once or twice and then ending up in the trash and I hate it when things go in the trash. But by this point, I was desperate enough to throw my green morals and standards right out the window and buy a specialty gadget to help me feed my kid.
What I like about the bottle warmer
As I researched more I found out in pretty short order that bottle warmers are not actually one-trick ponies like I feared them to be. They actually have several useful functions that will make them more useful for a longer period of time.
They warm up a bottle of food very fast and very evenly. I can honestly say I was shocked at how well the one that I purchased works. In three minutes I had the 3 oz bottle of food warmed and palatable to the little buttmunch. When I was using a hot water bath to warm the food it took at least twice that long and was never warm enough to satisfy the kid’s discerning palate.
The bottle warmer can also be used to quickly sterilize bottle nipples and pacifiers which is a very good thing since the kid really likes to throw the pacifiers everywhere. When you have a dog and cat and two people that work outside for a living it’s a good idea to wash everything that touches the floor.
It can also be used to thaw and warm up baby food once the buttmunch reaches the age where such things will be needed. This will be nice since I will most likely be making and freezing large batches of baby food and will only need to thaw small bits.
What I don’t like about the bottle warmer
With those three functions, I can hopefully get at least a couple of years of useful service out of the thing. Even though it has made my life much easier and it does have more than one use I still feel guilty about getting it. I wanted to reduce the impact of having a child as much as I could on both my wallet and the environment that the thought of buying such a product is galling to me even though I appreciate what it brings to my life. I think what really bothers me about it is that it’s a baby raising luxury and not a necessity. My partner and I tried to keep our baby purchases to the necessary minimums and always buy used when we could. In fact, unless my memory is failing me (which is a distinct possibility) other than cloth diapers and the mattress we have bought nothing else new for this kid. I know it’s just a bottle warmer but it still bothers me that I caved to the consumerism idea that more is better and gadgets will save the day.
Moral of the Story
Perhaps my guilt is trying to make mountains out of molehills but to live a truly sustainable life I must remind myself that every decision no matter how small is part of my footprint on the planet. If I need to feel a little guilty over buying a bottle warmer to remind myself of this fact then so be it.
In the grand scheme of raising a child, the gadgets I buy them are not going to be the biggest impact they have on the planet. I think what will be more important is teaching them to protect the environment, be frugal with their resources, and to try and give back more than they take. If I do that and my lessons stick then what they do with their life will have a far more positive impact than the bottle warmer has a negative one.