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Yoomi Feeding System - Genius or Germ Fest?

Discussing "feeding systems" isn't typical fodder on this blog, but the reason I decided to cover it now will become clearer when I post the next entry.  I was tempted to roll the two together, but I thought discussion of this product deserved its own entry, in case you get asked about it...

So for those who haven't heard of Yoomi, it is according to the manufacturers a bottle and warmer in one.   You pop in the milk, add a warmer,  press the button and bingo - 60 seconds later it's ready to drink.  Sounds genius right? 

Don't get me wrong I can totally understand the demand and market for something such as this.  Formula feeding is a lot of faffing about; there's a shed load of work involved washing, sterilising and making up each meal as required - something that can make the middle of the night feeds quicker has to be a winner right?  Who wants to be stood in the kitchen at 3am with a crying baby waiting for its bottle to be made up and warmed?

I was therefore a bit confused to read the Yoomi only heats the bottle to 32 - 34 degrees.  In fact what Yoomi actually say is:
"Your yoomi warmer gives you perfect breast-milk temperature feed in 60 seconds."
And yes the "breastmilk temperature" is emboldened on their website, nice marketing Yoomi!

But you can't make powdered formula at 34 degrees....
I assumed I was missing something obvious, after all Yoomi's homepage boasts a "Mother & Baby Best Buy" badge (Best Product for Bottle Feeding, twice) and the following comment from a Health Visitor:

"Congratulations on a very clever product. I have been a health visitor for the past 15 years and this is exactly what is needed"

Ann Guindi, Health Visitor and mum of 4

Which is interesting given the NMC state:

"You must ensure that your registration status is not used in the promotion of commercial products or services"

Whoops looks like someone forgot to read their code of ethics.

A click later I discovered Yoomi is literally just a bottle warmer and a bottle in one, it doesn't do anything more exciting - and how many people do you know bought a bottle warmer and never used it?  
"Perfect to warm expressed breast milk (ebm) and pre-mixed formula. We always follow DOH guidelines on how to prepare and store feeds."
Interesting choice of language. Pre mixed isn't the same as "ready to use" (RTU) is it?  As Yoomi refer to RTU further down the page.    Yet the DOH guidelines Yoomi themselves link to state:

"To reduce the risk of infection, make up each feed as your baby needs it, using boiled water at a temperature of 70oC or above. Water at this temperature will kill any harmful bacteria that may be present."
So if Yoomi always follow DOH guidelines about preparing feeds as required - why would one need this "perfect" item to warm it back up?

Under FAQ Yoomi then state:
"How can I prepare and store feeds in advance safely?"
If ready to use formula feed is not practical, the FSA suggest you prepare feeds in separate bottles and store in the back of the fridge at below 5°C. Feeds should never be stored for longer than 24 hours. The feed can then be warmed gently and safely using the yoomi bottle and warmer.
So if you can't follow the guidelines, shrug and hurrah for the Yoomi?

For the system you need a Yoomi bottle, A Yoomi teat and a Yoomi warmer - you can remove the warmer and use like a normal bottle.  However you have to "charge" the warmers before use, and then again before each subsequent use.  You can do this by putting in a pan or steam steriliser for 25 minutes, or using the new "pod" that can go in the microwave for 2 mins - however you then need to wait 75 minutes for it to cool down... 

Yoomi state it is cost effective as it can be recharged 150 times - but as young babies take 8-12 feeds per day, if we consider an average of 10, this gives 15 days use.  Each warmer costs £16, which equates to £32 per 30 days for "warming".   Of course having to charge the warmer, wait two hours before use etc before each feed isn't really practical - so you really need multiple bottles and warmers if you want to consistently use the system, then factor in time at the end of the day to prepare them all for the next.

Cost effective compared to what?

Eg the "Momma By Tomy" bottle warmer costs £29.99, takes 1 min 45 seconds and doesn't need replacing monthly..  OK so it isn't portable, but if out and about with baby - the guidance is to use a flask and make up feeds as required.  Breastmilk or RTU is just fine either chilled or at room temp - and so is formula, if there has been some reason it is essential to premake.

Lane Franche, pediatrician says:
"Warming baby formula is something we do out of habit rather than for any medical or safety reason.  Warming a bottle can be a real hassle, especially if you're traveling. Instead, take away the chill by holding the bottle of formula in your hands for a few minutes. Chances are your baby will never notice the difference."
Bet Yoomi aren't keen on that plan...

On "Circle of Moms", some agree:
"My children are 6 and 4 and neither one would take a bottle from day one unless it was straight from the fridge."
"Neither of my daughters care if it is warmed up or not. Both have had it ice cold straight out of the fridge if they are really hungry and I haven't had a chance to warm it, but they prefer it room temperature or cool."

"my daughter HATED her milk warmed and wouldn't drink it"
So before splashing out it may be worth seeing whether you can avoid the expense and hassle heating altogether!

A bit more digging revealed that "Yoomi's midwife" is not a registered midwife, but a retired one - I bet you will be shocked by this, no really try not to fall off your chair:
"Many of my new mums and dads who are out and about get in rather a panic about how to transport the milk, how to warm it up, how to store it and so on. A bottle like the yoomi, which enables one to be self-sufficient - heating it easily and rapidly in under a minute - is all you need."  Clare Byam-Cook, Former Nurse and Midwife, Independent Breast Feeding Counsellor and Author
Mums get in a panic about carrying a bottle of breastmilk or a carton of ready made formula and either taking the lid off or cutting the top off and tipping it out before use?  Yikes best fasten seatbelts for toddlerhood!  Isn't transporting, storing it "and so on" identical whichever bottle you use for your breastmilk or ready to use formula?  It's purely the ability to heat to body temp that makes this product any different?

I can understand mums getting in a panic about travelling with powdered formula, when the guidelines suggest each bottle should be made as required with water that is at least 70 degrees.  I see mums juggling containers of powder, flasks of water sitting in insulated pockets to try and maintain temperature etc - but this product really the ideal for addressing that dilemma is it?  Well unless you ignore guidelines and make bottles in advance.

Given we are still in a position of some mums using microwaves to nuke bottles of powder mixed with cold water, it concerns me that mums could be under the misconception a system like this is as safe as mixing when required - that carrying a flask of water and pressing the Yoomi button are comparable:

From Netmums:
"I make up 2 feeds in advance, put them in the fridge and warm them up in the yoomi bottle - takes 60 seconds .. just press the button, wait and feed. Has made night time feeding much easier! great for out and about too - saves carrying a flask of hot water"
From Mumstreet:
"The Best Bits: Warms the bottle in 60 seconds so you don’t need to worry about being near a bottle warmer or carrying boiling water around in a flask."
 Something else that really grates, and what probably provoked this piece -  is the constant associations with breastfeeding.  Why can the bottle not just be marketed upon it's own merits, why do manufacturers need to make constant links with breastfeeding (that's rhetorical by the way, clearly I know why £$) but ethically it sucks.
  • "Makes combining breast and bottle easier" - How? How does a bottle that replaces a bowl of hot water make combining feeds easier
  • "Breast-like anti-colic teat" - Huh?  My breasts aren't silicone?  Furthermore nipples are pulled back towards the point the hard/soft palate meet, this short silicone teat wont and will land much further in the mouth.  Something which can encourage "humping" of the posterior tongue - a technique that doesn't work at the breast.  Medela attempt to combat this with their Calma bottle and a longer teat and you can see how short the Yoomi is in comparison.  Are there clinical trials showing the yoomi is "anti colic"? 
  • " Yoomi bottles have a clever breast-like anti-colic teat for easy latch on, perfect for bottle only, combination feeding or transitioning your baby from breast to bottle." (on their site the "easy latch on" and "transitioning from breast to bottle are bolded".)
  • "Yoomi warms baby's feed to the natural temperature of breast milk at the touch of a button"
  • " We both feel that yoomi made the transition from breast to bottle possible."
And from the "Read what parents say" section (ie posted by Yoomi as "testimonials")
  • " Harry was a breastfed baby so it was a real challenge to find a bottle that he would take" Lots of breastfed babies take bottles no problem, so why the implication that it was challenging because he was breastfed - I see lots of bottle feeding parents who have a challenge trying to find a bottle baby can use well!
  • "Conrad had his first bottle feed last night and my wife, Natalie was a bit upset… he was quite happy to take yoomi without any problem whatsoever! However, I’m sure she will appreciate the extra sleep now I can do the late night feeds"- cos that's what every good dad  does right?  Never mind Natalie was upset,  he's sure she will appreciate the sleep...
  • "Although my daughter is only 7 weeks old, I wish I would have had my Yoomi from day one. This bottle is a must for breastfeeding moms on the go!" - a bottle is a must for a breastfeeding mum?  Er nope, breasts are pretty perfect for mums on the go, no heating elements required ;)  Plus advice isn't to introduce a bottle from day one if you are establishing breast feeding.
  • "I only introduced Harry to a bottle around 6 months and I was concerned that he would reject the bottle as he was so used to being breastfed. Thankfully he took to the yoomi straight away and I have been able to combine both bottle and breastfeeding really successfully. I find the yoomi especially handy during the day when I’m out and about " - Yes SO much handier than putting baby to the breast - or are we supposed to be re-emphasising the message it's good to breastfeeding at home but use a handy bottle in public?
  • The transition from breast feeding to a bottle can be a difficult one, but the clever design of these bottles solves many of the common problems.  But does it?  Really?  Or did you just buy the marketing?
Those familiar with the marketing of breastmilk substitutes will recognise much of the above feels familiar - the baby market is so lucrative, but what do you think?  Another flash in the pan trend or a practical product?


  1. ugg.....Hate the marketing!

  2. How frustrating!!! Not to mention Clare byam cook. That lady is everywhere!

  3. Sounds ridiculous, expensive and pointless. As for CBC, can someone please ban her from commenting about BFing EVER again. She is the scourge of BFing. Sorry, I cannot state strongly enough how utterly awful that woman is and how many BFing relationships her "advice" has probably irrevocably damaged or ended. Grrrrrr.

  4. I think you are spot on with almost all of your advice, however I believe the Medela Calma is guilty of the same offence - advertising a bottle by likening it to breastfeeding. Indeed, the Calma advertising is dangerous as it gives the impression that the Calma is a 'safe' option for a breastfeeding baby. No bottle is like breastfeeding, including the Calma, and to advertise it as such is dangerous and a clear breach of the WHO Code.

    I'm glad that your posts points out many of the unethical, incorrect and misleading claims of the Yoomi products.

  5. Oh yes absolutely re Medela! Wasn't trying to promote them at all, hope it doesn't appear so?