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We bought one of these actually to heat baby food on the go, rather than to heat a bottle of milk. The heater has been designed to do either (judging from the instructions). We have asked at various cafes and restaurants for them to heat up a jar of baby food, but it rarely works because:
- If they put it in the microwave, they only heat it very slightly because they don't want to be sued by parents too stupid to check the temperature before shoving the spoon into their offspring. So the first 3 spoonsful are OK and then it's too cold and your child won't eat it! - If they offer a pot of hot water, it takes a long time to heat the food and they often won't let you take the pot because of "health and safety" so it has to sit behind the counter until a waitress remembers it's there, by which time your child has cried themselves to sleep from hunger or bitten a passer-by.
So, a better solution was needed! We had previously tried one of those bottle heaters with the gel pack that you activate by snapping a metal insert and then recharge by boiling it. We found this to be far too much of a faff, and ended up never using it because we'd forgotten to recharge it, so we thought this one would be easier.
The Warm N Go heater is a fetching (not!) royal blue neoprene sleeve which has an element between the neoprene layer on the outside and a thin layer of material on the inside - the flexibility of the heating element means it heats evenly and you get fewer hotspots than if all the heat came from one place. It has an elastic loop which you can use to hang it from a cup-holder in your car but it's firm enough to stand up.
The heater is made of a slightly stretchy material so will fit pretty much any size of bottle and any jar of baby food as long as it's only the normal diameter (for example, a HIPP no. 4 size jar would just fit in it, a 1, 2 or 3 size jar would be absolutely fine, and the normal Tommy Tippee bottles are OK in it as well).
On the up-side:
- It does work to heat food or water/milk and it has a temperature cut-off fuse so it allegedly can't overheat - It fits any car cigarette lighter - It can be wiped down - It's very portable - It's not expensive.
On the down-side:
- It takes AGES to heat a jar of baby food, and even then you have to stir the food to get it evenly heated. You're talking 45 minutes for a small jar of food like a HIPP no. 2 jar (though that gets it pretty hot). It's much faster for water, or food with a high water content, of course - Although the neoprene should theoretically keep the heat in even after you unplug it, the food/drink doesn't seem to stay hot for long after you unplug the heater - The elastic loop is only useful if your car has a cup-holder close to the cigarette lighter - the electrical cord is really quite short - Not sure about how robust it is - ours has stopped working after 6 months. However, we have still bought another one, as the original did get shoved into the change bag or glove compartment a lot, so it may be our fault!
All in all, it does work better than anything else we've found, but it's not without its problems. We'd still recommend it, mostly because there just isn't anything else that works as well, so despite its limitations, it's worth getting. The fact that you can use it for food as well as milk means it's pretty good value.
Price: between £8 and £9 Available from: baby shops, on-line (including the ubiquitous eBay and Amazon)
PS It's obviously not dishwasher-safe, but Ciao don't seem to want to let me indicate that!
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