Preserve Us From Tommee Tippee

(17 Posts)
WilliamTheConket Sun 27-Jan-13 19:33:53

Is anyone else - apart from us, as annoyed and stupified by the Tommee Tippee (I'll be charitable) 'functional/design faults' in their Closer To Nature bottle feeder system, the steriliser the electric breast pump and the and bottle warmer?

Looking through the formula feeding talk messages, I've concluded that no current manufacturer has yet produced an efficient feeding system; has anyone else been so utterly frustrated by them? Perhaps we should set down some specification and ask a manufacturer to produce a 'mumsnet approved' bottle feeding system? What do you think?

I've set down what we, (William and Vicky) think is wrong with the bottle feeder and the teat alone, for fear of losing my voice - but there are many more faults in the rest of Tommee Tippee(TT) stuff; I'll articulate them later (at present, I just want to establish that it is not just us that have come across these problems)

Sadly we bought the TT complete formula feeding system, before we joined MUMSNET, but we wish we hadn't...
- And I set down the frustrations, so that anyone else thinking of using the TT formula feeding system is forewarned....

So confining myself to just the TT bottle (that is, the feeding unit that is placed in babies mouth):

1) it is meant to be designed to conform closely to nature i.e. to that of a mothers breast.
Absolutely no way. For a start, the teat on the bottle feeder is far to long, for the baby to get the correct latch (i.e between his tongue and the roof of his mouth); the very best this feeder can do is to mimic a (transparent!) areola, contributing very little to the breast feeding experience. But more importantly, baby has to adopt a very different sucking technique to that when feeding from the breast...

2) There is a valve on the 'areola' area of the feeder; it is essentially two joined flaps of plastic which are meant to separate when the vacuum difference (caused by baby sucking formula out of the bottle) is such that air rushes in from the outside to even the balance. In the 18 days we have been using this feeder, the valve hasn't worked. What happens is baby sucks from the teat, gradually building up a vacuum. When the vacuum is too great for baby to get any more liquid, he releases the nipple from its suction and tiny bubbles percolate up through the milk from the hole in the teat.
Not once has the valve opened to let in air, it is just too stiff (you can shove a cocktail stick in to try to ease it - to no avail) - or maybe blocked with water after steralizing. We have even taken very special care to make sure it is dry (and clean of course), but it hasn't worked. About 3/4 sucks from baby - and the vacuum build up is only ever equalised from the hole in the teat.

3) The measuring scale printed on the side is very inaccurate; as an experiment, we measured 16 bottles each with 90ml of cold water, using the scale on the side. Knowing that 1ml of water weighs 1g (or thereabouts - the physics is not straightforward) we found that they consistently weighed between 82/87 grams (i.e 82/87 ml). One weighed 94 grams (i.e 94 ml). None, we considered were accurate enough. We subsequently continued to weigh the hot water as a result. Consistently underestimating the water makes the feed richer; not a good idea.

4) The screw thread. When screwing the teat mechanism to the bottle, it is very easy to get the threads crossed - but it is very difficult to detect that it has happened. The only way is to shake the bottle to check If we forget to check and if the thread is crossed we end up with milk formula everywhere. This aspect is so very very frustrating. It happens because the bottle and teat are made of flexible plastic, and the screw threads are broken in part (I don't know why; maybe the threads must be water tight, but with a continuous unbroken thread, that would make the teat very very hard to screw onto the bottle?).

4a)The bottle has now to be filled with formula and the lid screwed on tightly (always very tightly, because it will always be used upside down remember). This will now be warmed in a bottle warmer to the right temperature. Warming causes the bottle and the lid to expand, causing adjustment of the intwined threads of both lid and bottle. What happens next? The bottle eventually cools to cold and the inter-twined rhreads contract upon each other, making it incredibly difficult sometimes, to unscrew the lid; it is even harder to unscrew because it is slippery - the white band has no rough moulding whereby a grip can be gained. Wet hands make the situation even worse....
(This problem is the opposite of what has been reported here when the lid is used on a bottle in the fridge - it becomes loose - confirming it is an extension of the tight threads....)

5) The most annoying design fault of all... The bottle is shaped such that there is a collar on the bottle, behind which a lot of the milk sits when at the precise angle of baby in arms is being fed, with the consequent result that the person feeding baby has to keep turning the bottle to the vertical to move the fluid off the collar, into the teat. This has to be done many times as milk starts to diminish in the bottle, often causing baby to lose his suction... Whoever designed this bottle knows nothing of fluid mechanics, obviously.

6) Let's not forget the transparent lid that locks over the teat, to protect it. When the lid is clicked on, and over the teat of a warmed bottle of feed, and it cools down - even by a little - a vacuum subsequently forms, making it very difficult to remove; this difficulty is enhanced by the tiny lip provided on this lid to flip it off; how many broken nails and sore fingers have you experienced in this process?

In any event, I think these are all serious, appalling and inept design faults - and worse, Tommee Tippee hasn't even tested this product sufficiently in the market place to eradicate them. If they had they would have realised very soon that this feeder has a lot of problems...Why do I think this?

Because there are many more problems to come in other parts of this product range.

Keep watching this space baby feeders... I'd be interested to hear what other TT users think...

Clearlymisunderstood Sun 27-Jan-13 19:35:21

Wow you have a lot of time on your hands...

WilliamTheConket Sun 27-Jan-13 19:40:17

I can see clearly why you're so clearly misunderstood...

McKayz Sun 27-Jan-13 19:41:54

I use those bottles when I express for DD. No problems

Nivet Sun 27-Jan-13 19:47:39

Yep, used them for both of mine. The measure scale isn't that accurate, I didn't feel the need to weigh the water to ensure accuracy though.

Other than that I didn't have a problem with them at all.

Boggler Sun 27-Jan-13 19:47:43

I think you'll find that there are faults with all bottles as there're artificial and can never be a proper substitute for a breast. I think you'll find that most parents who bottle feed have to experiment with different types until they find one that suits them and their baby best. So I think you'll find that for every parent who hates tt there'll be another who thinks they're wonderful.

tiredteddy Sun 27-Jan-13 19:48:45

How strange.

We have the TT bottles, steriliser and thermal bags. Dd is two weeks old and feeds brilliantly from the bottles. No problem with the valves at all. She seems to have little or no wind from these bottles and the steriliser works well and everything fits in nicely.

I think different babies/ patents prefer different things. Maybe you could try another brand of bottle? Avent seem popular?

tiredteddy Sun 27-Jan-13 19:49:40

Agh "parents"

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 27-Jan-13 19:56:39

Jesus, do you and your partner work in manufacturing? I honestly would never have thought or noticed any of these things.

I think tommy tippy bottles are the best because both daughters could hold them themselves from a very early age. I breast fed so didn't use them until twelve weeks with dd1 and 8 months with dd2.

Been using these for months. Never had a big problem. If you've got a problem, I'd say....complain to Tommee Tippee and buy new bottles??

Valve thing can be fixed - just squeeze the valve together from the inside to separate the little flaps. Teat will relax.

Lid is easy to flip off - push from underneath with your thumb, rather than pull with your nails.

Thread on the bottle neck? When putting the teat ring on, twist anti-clockwise slightly until it falls into place, then clockwise to screw on, like you do with a lid on anything else??. You are probably screwing on the teat/lid too tightly to be honest. It does have to be tight, but if it's too tight it will effect the air-flow of the valve. It's extremely unlikely that it will unscrew on your baby's face, and if it does, it's only warm milk.

It is 'CLOSER' to nature. Not 'exactly nature'. No bottle is ever going to emulate a woman's nipple (considering that nipples all different, and a lot of women don't even have a matching pair!).

ShoeJunkie Sun 27-Jan-13 20:03:25

We used TT (bottles, hand pump and steriliser) for DS. He was mostly bf but had ebm and formula from the bottles and we never had any issues. He's worked his way through the different flow teats too.
Agree with other posters that these bottles etc may not suits every baby and you may need to experiment with other bottles (I have friends who used avent and dr browns). On the whole however we've been pleased with the products we've used.

jrwoods Sun 27-Jan-13 21:39:14

I'm breastfeeding but on the odd occasion express using the tommee tippee hand pump and bottles. My DS, who is 7 weeks, has taken to them well. The electric steriliser is also excellent smile

stargirl1701 Sun 27-Jan-13 22:13:05

We're using the whole system. I can't say we've noticed anything except the lid sometimes being difficult to get off with one hand.

FunnysInLaJardin Sun 27-Jan-13 22:16:43

we used Avent and if it wasn't for a father like you we wouldn't have been able to google 'problems with Avent bottles' and find a blog detailing exactly why they leaked on and off all the time. Incidentally the vents in the teats have to be very specifically aligned with the rings!

So good for you problem fixing design dad!

princessx Mon 28-Jan-13 04:48:04

Thanks for posting this, I found the tommy tipped bottles terrible and they usually leaked for me too. I've still got some hanging around and I was dithering whether to throw them out. Now it's avent all the way for me!

I hated Avent bottles...always found the teat folded in half.

aamia Mon 28-Jan-13 18:29:48

We used them without problems, but I bf and we have the microwave steriliser so less usage and no bottle warming with tops on.

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