Milk Monster: The Unlikely Bottle Feeding Essential
Reuben loves his milk. He’s a real guzzler and will devour a feed in five minutes flat. But if there’s a loud tv playing or he’s in a room full of chatter, chances of him concentrating on his milk and finishing a bottle are slim. He’s just too inquisitive for his own good, so if he’s being fed anywhere away from home you just know you’re going to be sporadically feeding the whole time.
Bottle feeding has it’s pros and cons; as the husband and I share the caring of our little one it generally is a method that works for us, but one of the negatives I find incessantly frustrating is the lifespan of formula milk. It just does not keep well and because of the hazards surrounding the proper make up and storage of infant milk it means if you don’t do it right or keep track of your times, you can easily lose what you’ve not long since made up.
Reuben’s at the age now where he’s starting to enjoy what’s around him. Everything within his reach is fervently grabbed and scrutinised, and anything that makes an intriguing sound, looks bright or has a face gets his full attention. And it appears Reuben appreciates a good monster face! So when we heard about a gadget called the Milk Monster I was especially keen to explore further.
As it turned out, this little monster device was more than a frightful face. Its whole job is to monitor the safe lifespan of a bottle of infant milk. Considering the occasions Reuben doesn’t drink all his milk – distracting days visiting people, out shopping, in between commutes in the car – and the ounces of formula prepared and wasted, I figured this could actually be pretty handy.
Despite it’s name may suggest, the Milk Monster isn’t as scary as it makes out. In fact, he’s pretty cute! And technically it’s not just the one monster but in fact four differently coloured monsters that each have their own name: Piim the blue monster, Tej the green monster, Susu the pink monster and Meiko the purple monster, with features such as funky hair and eyelashes.
The Milk Monster is a simple but clever little gadget; essentially a pocket timer with an LCD display that counts down the minutes, and a backlight so you can easily identify when you set and check the time. His rubbery body and stretchy attached band means he’s a hardy little guy that withstands bumps and attaches to any shape and size baby bottle, keeping check of the passing time since the bottle was prepared or first drank from.
Reuben’s Milk Monster is the very chilled looking Piim; in a pastel light blue colour that’s easy on the eye he’s a cheerful accessory that’s not too distracting for Reuben as he drinks his milk. He loves brightly coloured characters but I worry the vibrant monsters may put him off!
Now, the time you’d set the Milk Monster to greatly depends on how the milk’s being stored and whether it’s been drunk from or not. Bacteria can grow at ridiculous speed in the warm and welcoming environment of the feeding bottle, and when you’re painstakingly sterilising every inch of your baby’s bottle parts it’d be silly to play ignorant to any further risk.
UNICEF advise that formula milk made up and stored at room temperature must be used within two hours. If you store milk in the fridge it’s good for 24 hours but in an iced cool bag it’ll keep for just four hours. However, once your baby has taken a sip from the milk that time is vastly reduced to just one hour. Frustrating when you’ve misread the signals and baby isn’t really hungry, he’s tired – or teething – but that tiny 20ml feed he took for snack’s sake makes the rest of the milk not drinkable for long. And you can be sure he’ll want some again past that hour!
Piim has quickly found his rightful place in the changing bag. As near important as the bottle itself, Piim pops into one of the bag pockets ready for us to use when a bottle’s made up. When we’re on the go, Reuben can often leave his milk half drunk so attaching his monster can really help us keep track of the time so we know if his milk is still safe to feed again.
When I took Reuben with me along to a hen do a few weekends back our Milk Monster really came in useful. We stopped off at my mum’s on the way and while we were there I thought Reuben was ready for his milk. But of course, he wasn’t. So on Piim popped and set the time for two hours since I was going to be keeping the bottle in his changing bag. Half an hour into our car journey he decided he would like his dinner and after a quick check of the time we were good to go. He drank all of his milk on this occasion but later on into our afternoon tea he was way too distracted by all the people and interesting cakey spread, so we needed the assistance of Piim again. With all the drama and my anxiety growing it was an immense relief not to have to worry about times. Milk Monster saved the day again!
So I’ve found Milk Monster to be quite the unlikely essential. Honestly, the milk we’ve poured down the sink because we weren’t sure when we made it up is shocking. Of course it doesn’t prevent all the wastage; I’m sitting here with two bottles half full of milk because Reuben wanted short feeds two hours apart, so there was no chance of anyone saving that. But in a world where we rely on technology to better our lives (yes, we do actually use an app to keep tabs on Reuben’s feeds and nappies) I’m happy to admit another techie gadget but with the benefit of a friendly face makes parent life that bit saner.
What’s your biggest bugbear about baby feeding time? Do you find it particularly stressful or do you take it all in your stride? Does your little one give any special signs he’s hungry or do they have any feeding quirks? I’d love to hear your feeding stories in the comments below!