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During my pregnancy with my twin boys, purchasing items for feeding was extremely difficult, mainly because I quite simply did not know if I would be able to breast feed two babies. So because I live by the motto of "be prepared" I decided to purchase lots of bottle feeding kit too even though I was not really sure of its purpose. One of our random but best purchases turned out to be Tommee Tippee Insulated Bottle Bags.
***Tommee Tippee Insulated Bottle Bag** The Tommee Tippee Insulated Bottle Bag is an insulated carrier which keeps liquids hot or cold. It is a lightweight black material with an insulated material inside of the bag. The bottle bag zips open and has a handle which attaches with Velcro which you can attach to the handle of a pushchair.
***Availability*** The Tommee Tippee Insulated Bottle Bags are available from a number of retailers including Kiddicare, Mothercare, Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Babies R Us and direct from Tommee Tippee at www.tommeetippee.co.uk . All of these retailers stock the bottle bags as a singular item or in a double pack.
The RRP for a double pack of insulated bottle bags is £9.99. My mum paid this price in Sainsbury's however Kiddicare often sell these for £7.99. You can purchase a single bottle bag for around £6.99.
***My Experience*** The design of the bag is very plain but practical. The insulated bags are a soft material bag which is very easy to store. Storing with bottles inside makes these quite bulky but because they are soft they squash down and take less room up in cupboards or drawers. I used these with Closer to Nature Bottles from Tommee Tippee. These fit into the bags snugly because the silver insulation is very padded and thick therefore bottles wider than this may not fit in. However in my experience Tommee Tippee Bottles are some of the widest bottles therefore using with other brands of bottle should not be an issue. The bottle bag zips open at the top around the side of the bag. The "lid lifts open but stays attached to the bag meaning you can't lose this part of the bag. The zip is strong and does not get stuck or caught which is very useful for mums who are usually hurrying trying to feed their screaming child. The handle on the top of the bag is brilliant for attaching to a pushchair and is strong enough not to fall off even when pulled. Although the back when filled with a bottle is not excessively bulky because I always have to carry two bottle around with me it is not practical to put in my already packed changing bag.
The outside of the bottle bag is a black stretchy material which reminds me of a wetsuit. This looks plain but is practical as the material does not pick up dirt or dust too easily and dust can be brushed off very easily. I do find that because the bottle bags cannot be put in the washing machine you do need to mop up spills in on the bag to prevent stains. The nature of the black material means you can see milk stains quite easily.
The bag itself is great for keeping liquids hot or cold. Some heat is lost and I would find that if I poured boiling water into a bottle at 9am by 12.30pm it would be at the correct temperature for a baby to drink so although liquid loses heat when in these I do think it takes some time to do so. This makes it a great item to take out when you know you will need to feed on the go. I always used these alongside the Tommee Tippee Milk Dispensers when feeding on the go so I could make up feeds when necessary.
As a method for keeping a drink cool it is also very effective and probably keeps liquid cooler better than it does at keeping liquid warm. I put my boys cups filled with water in these when we go on a day out. When cool drinks are put in these at 10am and taken out at regular intervals by 3pm they are just starting to go warm, despite it being very warm outside.
The main use of the Tommee Tippee Insulated Bottle Bags was during the night and they were essential for us during the middle of the night feed in the early few weeks. Once my twin boys had been taken off their Special Care feeding routine, which involved us waking them both after three hours to feed them (even if they didn't wake for a feed) they often would wake at different times for a which was usually around 3-4am. This was always within an hour of the other baby so rather than go downstairs heat the bottles up each time a baby woke we would heat both bottles up feed one baby and pop the warmed bottle in the insulated bottle bag so it was warm and ready for when the second baby woke. Babies should never be fed milk which has been left heated for longer than 2 hours however we never had to wait longer than 1 hour before the second baby woke.
To those without children this may sound incredibly lazy but as a sleep deprived parent any extra second spent in a warm bed is precious. The boys were born in January (2010) so walking downstairs from a warm bed in the middle of winter to make bottles is something both Mr Lools and I did not enjoy! However eventually once the night feeds were cut out (at around 4 months old) we luckily did not have to contend with making bottles between the hours of 10.30pm and 6.30am!
I have not really used these as a method of keeping food warm. I did try this but the food pots we use from Asda were a little too wide to fit inside of the bottle bag. Personally I also feel that I like to heat food up as we use it rather than carrying it around with me.
***Overall*** These area great item for those bottle feeding and make feeding on the go a lot easier as you have the peace of mind that you have access to boiled water in order to make up your baby's feed.
These are also very effective for keeping drinks cool and I have found even though I am not bottle feeding I still get a lot of use out of these. The design of the bottle bag is great for carrying around on the go and although slightly bulky to put in a changing bag when you have two of these to carry around, I do find the Velcro strap allows me to attach these to my pushchair.
My only criticism is that because they can't be put in a washing machine you do need to take care that if you spill something one the bottle bag you wipe it off immediately to prevent stains. As a mother I always have a baby wipe to hand but I'm usually busy with a baby so this often would result in getting home and having to scrub the bottle bag which is why both my bottle bags are still in a reasonable condition after a year of regular use. The inside of the bag is still in excellent condition and serves the purpose of keeping liquids hot or cold.
For £6.99 these are a great purchase for those bottle feeding.