When we first realised that Chip was likely to be formula-fed, we decided that powdered formula was far too much of a terrifying faff, and so we just bought the ready-mixed stuff, which is sterile and super easy to use. But then as Chip's digestive woes progressed (she's lactose intolerant and normal baby milk gives her a bad tummy), we decided to switch to Comfort Milk, which is gentler on the stomach for sensitive babies. But it only came in powdered form. So we decided - no, that's a lie, I decided - to invest in the wondrous Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine I'd heard so much about.
So what does it do? It basically makes making bottles up super easy - you fill it with cold tap water (which it handily filters with its built-in filter), select the quantity of feed you are making up from the large, idiot-proof dial, and stick a bottle underneath it. When it first arrived, Oli thought that it actually mixed the powder into the water for you, but alas, you have to do that yourself. You put a bottle under the dispenser, press the button once, and it releases a spurt of hot (not boiling water), which you then spoon your formula powder into. Give the bottle a quick shake, and then put it back under the dispenser, whereupon it finishes the bottle by filling it with the remainder of the water. The second lot of water is at a cooler temperature, so that the bottle is ready to drink straight away (no more trying to cool it down under a cold tap as you have to do if you make it up manually). The first lot of water is hot enough to kill any bacteria that might be present in the milk powder, so there are no worries about that.
As I said, Oli was not very impressed when it first arrived as he basically couldn't see much of a benefit versus using boiling water from the kettle. But I think he's been won over. This really is a super easy way of making up bottles and SO quick. They say it takes two minutes from start to finish - I've never timed it but it sounds about right. You can make bottles in advance to store straight away in the fridge too, if you're going out later (I know the official guidelines are to make each feed up as it's needed but the NHS seems to think it's OK to store them so long as you 'flash cool' them straight after making). It also works with any bottles, not just Tommee Tippee ones.
I'm so in love with it, in fact, that I'm considering lugging it to my parents' when we go and stay with them at Christmas - can't really imagine being without it now!
It's not cheap, but I got mine on Amazon and at the moment Tommee Tippee are offering 25% off their products with code TIPPEE25 for Amazon Family members, so it was a bit of a bargain and under half price.
So, it's not quite as exciting as a Nespresso machine (and no, it doesn't make cappuccinos too, as my dad asked) but if you've got a new baby, it certainly takes the stress out of preparing formula. Oh, but don't forget that once you've added the powder to the water, the total quantity in the bottle will be more than the amount you selected on the dial. So don't email Tommee Tippee like I did and tell them your machine is a dud and dispensing too much water. Can I blame baby brain? Cringe.