Review: Mothercare vs Philips Bottles

Joyce mentioned about the milk bottles in a previous blog.

I wanted to contribute some ideas to make it more complete. Basically, we use bottles from both Mothercare and Philips and this is a list of their pros and cons, from our own experience.

Mothercare


Pros

  • Easy for baby to latch on
  • Affordable price
  • Oval shaped bottle easy to hold and feed

Cons

  • Teats of 3m+ or above always OUT OF STOCK
  • Teats turn yellowish in around 2 months time
  • Only available in Mothercare shops
  • Made of relatively thin plastic which may shorten its durability especially after repeated sterilisation

Philips Avent Bottle


Pros

  • Readily available in most baby & department stores
  • Adequate stock of different models and sizes of teats 
  • Philips Breast Pump is compatible with ALL their bottles

Cons

  • More expensive

Final Verdict

There is no doubt that Philips came out top for us because it offers an integrated solution covering from bottles to the sterilizer. It costs more (in fact, double I think!) than Mothercare but the time and effort spent to find replacement teats and bottles from Mothercare is also much greater because they are just not that readily available. Thus, you may be spending more at the beginning but it is going to save you lots of time and energy down the road. 

We had little regrets over our Mothercare bottles which were bought at a discount promotion but from now, we are phasing them out once they reached their shelf life and replacing with Philips. 

Our Recommendation is for the Philips Avent Natural Glass Baby Bottles. First, it is made of Glass and hence durable for long-term use. Comments left by other users indicate the bottles can be put in a dishwasher. I don’t have one, so I haven’t tried that personally. It comes with newborn (NB) flow nipples and thus that should work fine until 3 months or a bit longer depending on your baby’s preference for flow rate. When we first converted the teats to 3m+, our baby had some problem adjusting to the faster flow rate but with practice, she got the hang of it gradually.

👉 Get your Philips Avent Natural Glass Baby Bottles

How many Milk Bottles do you need for a Newborn?

This is a common question many new parents fret over. How many milk bottles does a newborn need? 

Most parents tend to err on the safe side and that means stocking up more bottles than needed. Most advise 6-8 bottles and that’s what we ended up. We got six milk bottles, ranging from 150 ml to 240 ml. When we started, our baby was just taking in 30-50 ml each time but quickly her appetite grew and we were doing 60-80 ml.

Into her second month, she was averaging 120 ml per feed and has no problem drinking that amount five to six times a day.

What to Take Note when Buying Milk Bottles?

  1. There are plastic and glass bottles. The difference lies in durability. You can use glass bottles for a longer time and only need to replace the teats (nipples) as your baby grows. For plastic bottles, it is advisable to use them for no longer than 6 months. Beyond that, you should replace them.
  2. Regardless of plastic or glass bottles, teats have to be changed as your baby grows and requires a faster flow rate of milk. Teats are usually designed for 0m+, 3m+, 6m+ and so on. This means on average, you have to change them quarterly.
  3. It is advisable to decide on one brand of milk bottles instead of using several different brands. This is because teats are not interchangeable. In fact, teats from Philips will not fit bottles from Tommee Tippee. You can avoid this hassle later if you decide on just one brand first and subsequently it is easier to replace teats across your bottles instead of hunting for several brands.
  4. Some bottles have wider necks, and this makes it easier to wash. Such brands include Philips and Tommee Tippee. 

Care & Maintenance

Used milk bottles should be rinsed with water mixed with some cleansing agent suitable for baby use. We are using the Pigeon Baby Liquid Cleanser. After that, they can be placed in the electric sterilizer. Most sterilizers have an auto-off feature, so it turns off the power once the sterilization is complete which usually takes 3-5 mins. The sterilized bottles can be kept in the sterilizer and taken out only when you need to use them. In this way, the sterilizer acts as a storage for your bottles as well. We definitely recommend the use of a sterilizer and will provide another article review.

Pigeon Baby Liquid Cleanser

Cleaning Brushes for Bottles

For the cleaning brushes, usually, they come sold as a pair – the bigger one for the bottle and the smaller one for the teat. The type of brush (shown above) is the best for cleaning as it is flexible and can go into any bottle without difficulty. There is another type of brush that comes with a piece of sponge at the end. It works but the sponge comes off after some days of use. Thus, I don’t recommend.

What are we using?

Our bottles came from both Mothercare and Philips. They work well and it is hard to say which performs better. We doubt there is a significant difference. We bought the Philips bottles because our baby just passed the 3-month mark and we had to replace the old teats which are getting yellowish (due to the frequent washing and sterilisation). Teats tend to turn yellowish with use. It is a natural thing, so don’t be alarmed when you see it happening. It doesn’t mean you have to throw them away immediately but it is a sign that replacement should be carried out soon.

Yellowing Teats
Yellowish Teats indicate it’s time for replacement
Mothercare (8oz), Philips (11oz)
Mothercare (8oz), Philips (11oz)

What we learnt and Our Recommendation

Milk bottles form part of the essential items for your newborn. We have tested brands from Mothercare, Pigeon and Philips. Essentially, they work the same and we can’t really conclude which is the overall winner. I think it really depends on your preference and budget. Mothercare is an in-house brand and when I bought them, they cost less than brands such as Tommee Tippee, Philips or Pigeon. However, if you want to synchronise all the items for baby feeding, I would go with Philips as they are reputable and they have a full range of products from bottles & teats, breast pumps, electric warmer to sterilizer. They may be a bit more expensive but given their ease of use and product integration, you have peace of mind that they will work well with one another. I will share more on this in my review for bottle sterilizers.

My final tip. Do not go for milk bottles that are 2 oz. They are lovely and cute but your baby will grow out of that range very quickly. Soon, you can only admire those bottles as they are kept in your cabinet, or pass it on to your friends who just welcomed their newborn.

The Philips Starter Set is a great starter kit. We recommend it if you haven’t purchased anything yet. Wish we had done that ourselves…instead of having a rojak of bottles. 

👉 Get your Philips Avent Natural Newborn Baby Bottle Starter Set

👉 Get your Pigeon Baby Liquid Cleanser

Preparing Milk For Your Baby In 60 Seconds

The BabyNes system offers a quick way for both mom and baby to receive the right nutrition in a convenient way. The key here is convenience.

Using the BabyNes is fuss-free and all you need to do is to put in the capsule, add water at the top compartment (there is a marker showing you how much water you should add minimally), turn the dial to the temperature you prefer and then press the start button. 

The machine will kick into action, mixing the milk powder and water to the right temperature. In less than a minute, it is ready for consumption.

Formula Milk Capsules
Formula Milk Capsules

Care & Maintenance

The machine requires very little in terms of maintenance. After each use, just make sure to rinse with water the tray where the capsule is placed in, the cup holder and the top water compartment and leave them out to dry. This is definitely a major PLUS point for busy parents. 

Noteworthy

  1. We once discovered a dead ant 🐜 in the water compartment. How it managed to get in there is still a mystery but you want to be careful to rinse it again prior to each use. If not, such insects or ants may just get mixed into the formula milk. 
  2. Among the formula capsules, we had one that didn’t really pass the QC. The formula was clumped (hardened) and did not dispense properly. This is one case out of 52. ( <2% fault rate )

Clumped Formula

Pros

  • Convenient plug and play, easy to use and clean
  • Hygienic setup, with little risk of contamination – 1 capsule per meal

Cons

  • Heavy, and not really that portable
  • Capsules are costly compared to milk powder in can form
  • Sterilisation quality is questionable as milk powder is sterilised at water of only 37-40 deg. Study suggested water of > 70degC is necessary to kill major bacteria when preparing milk from milk powder

Personal Experience

Using the BabyNes is as easy as it gets. If you have or are using any coffee machine from Nespresso, BabyNes essentially operates the same.

During Joyce’s pregnancy, she consumed 1 capsule per day. Each box of formulas contains 26 capsules and we used up two boxes prior to her delivery. It is probably hard for us to comment on the effectiveness of the formulas. As a consumer, we bought into its convenience but are not too excited about its capsule pricing. It is actually expensive when we compared to a can of milk powder. Well, this is a case of convenience at a cost. As busy parents, don’t you always wish you have more time? 

After delivery, we decided to breastfeed our baby and not rely on the formulas. Thankfully, Joyce is expressing well and baby also seems happy. 

We got this for free as a promotional item from Wyeth Nutrition but the views expressed in this review are purely ours’. This is definitely a machine built with convenience in mind. BabyNes can save you lots of time and moms out there, I am sure if you are breastfeeding, you can attest to the fact that breastfeeding whether direct or through a breast pump takes up significantly more time and has to be done on a regular basis to prevent engorgement…

Product: BabyNes

Origins: Wyeth Nutrition (Formerly Pfizer Nutrition) is part of Nestle (A Switzerland Co.)

Our Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ (3/5)

We gave it a rating 3 out of 5. BabyNes is a great time-saver and this is without a doubt, one of their key selling strengths. The machine does not take up too much space and thus storage is easy when you are not using it. However, as a mom, I think the most important to my baby is not convenience, but well-being. I wouldn’t trade that for convenience if I can help it. Breast milk is still the best way to go if your situation allows for it. As for the BabyNes, I recommend it as a supplement for moms prior to delivery and for babies who are a bit older (after 7 months).

Share with us your experience if you are also a BabyNes user.

👉 Get your BabyNes Baby Formula Dispenser

NOVITA HydroPlus Water Pitcher – Safe, Portable Water

Getting clean and safe water for your little one is of utmost importance. The easiest way is to install a water purifier.

Water purifier comes in all shapes, sizes and colours to blend into your kitchen counter. It doesn’t take too much space and very often, it can dispense both purified cold and hot water.

As we are often on the move across different regions, we wanted to get something that is more portable and friendly to use.

We settled for the Novita HydroPlus Water Pitcher.

This is like the little brother of the Novita HydroPlus family, but it packs in all the features we need. We bought the lime green model because that’s my favourite colour and it goes well with the rest of the kitchen top setup.

The Lime Green Water Pitcher from Novita HydroPlus

In case green is not your favourite, Novita has a total of 6 colours for you to choose from.

6 Colours to choose from
Spoilt for choice – a total of six bright colours

The Fragile Part

Water Pitcher Sensor

The part where the finger is on is a sensor and can be detached from the pitcher. Jude discovered it by chance when he was washing it one day. Unfortunately, it slipped from his fingers and broke into two pieces.

Frankly, we didn’t expect it to be so brittle. We were a bit disappointed with the build quality but thankfully the unit was under warranty, we had a one-for-one replacement as Novita does not handle just parts replacement. We are careful with that area and make sure we don’t dislocate it by accident.

A Real Need for Water Purifier?

No matter where you are living, water is never 100% safe. We have lived in Singapore which has one of the cleanest water supply in the world, and people here drink directly from their home tap water if they want to.

However, water has its impurities which the naked eye cannot detect. Apart from the bacteria that is filtered out, the water purifier also takes care of the heavy metals in the water. If the heavy metals are not removed, they cause health issues to humans and can also cause limescale in cooking utensils, electric kettles.

Lime Scale Removal using Vinegar
Lime Scale Removal

We can remove limescale by using vinegar. Just pour some vinegar into your electric kettle, pots and heat it up. The effect is what you see on the right side of the image.

But hey, that’s an electric kettle. Can we descale our bodies like that? I rather not.

Over time, heavy metals will accumulate in the liver and kidneys, resulting in kidney stones, cirrhosis etc. Prevention is better than cure and the easy way is to remove those heavy metals by purifying the water before using it.

Product: Novita HydroPlus Water Pitcher

Origins: Singapore

Our Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ (3/5)

👉 Get your Novita HydroPlus Water Pitcher

We like the Novita HydroPlus Water Pitcher for its portability and ease of use. However, the product seems rather brittle and you have to be careful while handling it. A slip to the floor may see it going to smithereens. If you are not frequently moving, it is more cost-effective and time-saving to install a counter-top water purifier like the DOULTON Counter Top Water Filter.

The Portable Electric Bottle Warmer – You Got to Have This!

The Electric Bottle & Food Warmer is one of the items to prepare for your newborn. We were very blessed to receive the Tommee Tippee Warmer as a gift, just before our baby was born.

Our original idea was to heat up the milk bottle using hot water in a bowl. Well, that works of course but after using the warmer, we had to admit that it is a great time saver and we bring it whenever we go out.

We recommend you get this if you are looking for a warmer.

How to use it?

The Tommee Tippee Warmer is easy to use. Fill it with water to about half its height. We read an article stating that water should be filled up to 10mm below its limit. How that can be done is just beyond me because when the milk bottle is placed inside, the water will just overflow and spill out. After that,  just plug in the power point and make sure it is set to the lowest (level 1) temperature before you turn it on. It comes with 3 levels of hotness.

👍 Safety feature: The warmer turns off once the water reaches the preset temperature, so there is no danger of overheating the milk/food.

Depending on the quantity of milk/food, we warm it for up to 5-10 mins starting at level 3.

  • 30-50 ml of milk: 3-5 mins Level 3 Heating
  • 120-150 ml of milk:  7-10 mins Level 3 Heating

The above timings are for your quick reference.

Temperature Control
3 Levels of Temperature with Safety Feature

Does it fit most bottles?

In terms of girth, I believe all milk bottles can fit in. However, my bottles are of 150-240 ml (5 – 8 ounce) and they fit perfectly. I also have a pair of Philips bottles and they are larger at 330 ml (11 ounces). When I put the bottle in, I am unable to get the whole bottle heated evenly at the same time.

What I usually do is to turn the bottle upside down and put it back in for warming. It is my habit but…perhaps I don’t have to do that as milk that is heated will just move to the top while the colder milk (which is denser) will just flow down to be heated.

Sorry, I think I went a bit off-tangent with my physics 101. Lol.

Care & Maintenance

The Tommee Tippee warmer is easy to maintain. There are not many movable parts to clean except for an inner container that can be removed for quick washing.

Tommee Tippee - Inner Container
Inner Container comes off for easy cleaning

Tommee Tippee - Inner Container

We recommend the Tommee Tippee Electric warmer which is useful for both food & milk bottles.

ProductTommee Tippee Electric Bottle & Food Warmer

Origins: UK Brand with design roots in the USA

Our Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5)

👉 RecommendationTommee Tippee Electric Warmer