Are Prep Machines Safe?

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When it comes to preparing baby formula, Tommee Tippee’s Perfect Prep machines and similar bottle maker devices are useful. 

They ease the burden of having to care for a newborn for those who choose not to breastfeed. 

The machines can remove the stress of having to prepare formula quickly while your baby is crying. The stress and urgency can make manual feeding unpleasant.

But, are prep machines safe? Are they actually better than measuring and heating up water yourself?

In this article, we’ll talk about the machine’s safety concerns. Additionally, we’ll discuss the disadvantages it may impose.

This is not to scaremonger, but provide all the facts to help you make an informed decision.

Perfect Prep Safety Concerns

In only a few minutes, the Perfect Prep Machine prepares a bottle of baby formula for your baby. 

The machine takes care of the job for you, which is why so many people like it. However, despite its convenience, it poses some safety risks.

They’re sanitary and prepare the formula at the proper temperature for drinking. The device operates by dispensing a hot blast of water to kill any bacteria found in the formula.

At least, that’s what the claim is.

The Machine Doesn’t Eradicate All Bacteria 

According to a First Steps Nutrition study, the machine doesn’t eradicate all bacteria. While it may lower the bacteria levels, it doesn’t fully destroy them. The most prominent being cronobacter sakazakii.

bacteria in perfect prep

Additionally, it generated water for the hot blast at a temperature greater than 70ºC. This temperature is the standard. But after 120 seconds, the temperature dropped roughly 10ºC.

Powdered infant formula was introduced around half a minute after the hot blast. The heat in the bottle was sustained for about five seconds before dropping.

The temperature may be insufficient to remove all bacteria present. However, this depends on when you apply the powdered infant formula.

Moreover, for personal use at home away from any laboratory, it is impossible to a) know how much bacteria there may have been present and b) if it was all destroyed.

The amount of water used for a four-ounce dose is inadequate. It needs more to sustain the 120 seconds time frame required for adding the powdered infant formula.

The Machine is Prone to Cross-Contamination

Bacteria can readily develop if the machine isn’t properly maintained. They may infiltrate the pipes as a result of unintentional cross-contamination. This can result in serious bacterial infection.

The device requires thorough cleaning. To clean, use a disinfectant solution (such as Milton) or food-grade white vinegar. Then, start a second cleaning cycle with water. However, even if you clean thoroughly, it is still impossible to know if it is properly cleaned.

If you didn’t inspect the device thoroughly, you may think it’s clean when it isn’t. The pipes are in the back and may appear transparent. However, black mould may build up inside the tank and in the filter, which will need cleaning.

mould spores perfect prep

What Makes Perfect Prep Machines (And Others) Not Safe?

There are several reasons why prep machines aren’t fully safe:

The Device Needs Regular Cleaning

Unfortunately, you have to wash these devices regularly. The process can be exhausting, especially when you have a newborn infant.

It can be difficult to find time to fully clean the machine. Even if you do, there is often a build-up that could occur. Mould can grow if not cleaned properly, posing a serious health risk to your child.

When you first purchase your machine, you must run a cleaning cycle. Additionally, you must run a cleaning cycle when changing the filter. To learn how to clean the machine for the first time, follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect the bottle stand, hopper, and lip and take out the filter
  2. To keep the filter free of bacteria, place it top side down
  3. Wipe off the device’s body with a cloth and an antibacterial spray
  4. Wash the lid, hopper, and bottle stand well in hot soapy water
  5. Submerge the filter in clean tap water
  6. Dry them naturally. Don’t use a cloth or a towel
  7. Prepare 1.8 litres of cold water sterilising solution and pour it into the tank
  8. Begin the cleaning cycle by placing a container beneath the water spout
  9. Pause the cycle and empty the container if your container fills up halfway through the cycle. Then restart the cycle again
  10. Once dried, assemble everything back

2. You Can’t See Inside the Machine to Know It’s Cleaned Inside and Out

The interior of the device isn’t visible due to its design. As a result, you won’t be able to know if you cleaned the gadget thoroughly enough or if any build-ups remain.

3. The Bottles Need Sterilising as Well

The machine will produce water at the appropriate temperature for feeding your baby. Yet, it will not sterilise the bottles. As a result, you’ll either need to sterilise using another device or do it manually in a pot with boiling water.

You need to sterilise all your baby’s feeding items till they’re at least a year old. This will keep your child safe from illnesses, including diarrhoea and vomiting.

4. Human Error

Human error has the potential to damage and destroy the machine. Parents frequently use filters other than those specified, which might lead to issues.

Measurements from formula brands may not be followed. 

Some people, for example, use standard water jug filters in their Perfect Prep machine. Common filters lack the ultrafiltration layer. That layer is important as it eliminates bacteria. Therefore, its absence may cause problems.

The standard filters are more prone to introduce carbon into the device. The toxicity of carbon is low. Even so, it shouldn’t be something to consume by anyone, especially a child. Hence, even a minor human error can harm the machines.

5. The Formula Going in Could Be Unsafe

Baby formula intends to provide for all of a baby’s nutritional needs. However, formula-fed newborns are at a higher risk of developing health problems, than those who are breastfed.

Formula feeding poses more risks than breastmilk with or without a prep machine. 

Some of the health issues include respiratory infections, allergies, and obesity.

There are no antibodies in the commercial-made formula that are in breast milk. As a result, the formula can’t give extra protection against illness.

Baby formulas don’t come in the box sterile. Therefore, they need heated water to destroy germs and make them safe to consume. 

A common misconception is that the prep machines sterilise the baby formula. However, the water in the machines doesn’t reach a temperature hot enough to destroy all of the germs in the formula. This may cause health problems for infants such as an upset stomach.

The best technique to make formula milk is to boil the water in a kettle or pot and let it cool for half an hour. It may not be the most convenient option, but it’s without a doubt the safest.

Conclusion

When it comes to preparing baby formula, Perfect Prep machines and related gadgets are useful but can not offer 100% safety.

Preparing formula by yourself rather than using a machine is the safest approach, if breastfeeding is not an option. That way, your baby will remain happy and healthy.