When my daughter was first pregnant, she sent me a link to the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Perfect Prep machine and asked me what I thought about it. I have to be perfectly honest here and say, that I told her I thought that it was another piece of totally unnecessary baby equipment, that would just serve to clutter up her kitchen work surface. I mean to say, what’s wrong with making bottle feeds the old fashioned way?
As children are sometimes inclined to do, she totally ignored my advice and went ahead and bought it anyway. Now on to baby number 2, I have to confess that the Perfect Prep machine is still going strong and has proven to be worth its weight in gold!
Now don’t get me wrong, it is not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination and I’ll highlight its faults later on. It is also not cheap, although the price does seem to be competitively priced at the moment. Nonetheless, it is an accessory that my daughter would not be without.
What Does The Perfect Prep Machine Do?
The Perfect Prep prepares a bottle of formula milk, at room temperature, in under two minutes. This means that the bottle is ready to feed to baby almost immediately and there is no waiting around for it to cool in a jug of cold water. You’ll no doubt appreciate this the most when baby is screaming for a feed, or it’s 2am and you’re absolutely exhausted and just want to go back to sleep.
The manufacturer’s claims are as follows:
- Makes a fresh bottle at correct temperature in less than two minutes
- Filter system removes impurities present in water
- Initial hot shot of water kills bacteria that may be present in formula
- Dispenses correct amount of water for an accurate and consistent dilution
- Works with any powdered formula milk
The Perfect Prep machine is also now available in a range of colours. In addition to white and black, you can buy the machine in red, midnight blue or cool blue. Great if you’re style conscious and would like the machine to blend in with your kitchen.
Who is the Perfect Prep Machine Suitable for?
The machine is suitable for parents who are using formula milk and also anyone who regularly babysits their children. My one regret is not buying a machine of my own. I initially insisted on making bottles the traditional way, which, as anyone who does it will know, is extremely time consuming. You have to freshly boil the kettle and then let the water cool down before using.
Alternatively, if you’re making the bottle in response to a screaming baby, you inevitable end up using the water as soon as it boils. As my daughter was using Dr Brown’s Natural Flow bottles, which don’t have a very good seal, I ended up scalding myself no end of times. You also have the added responsibility of making sure that the milk is at room temperature before feeding your baby.
- Makes bottles in under 2 minutes
- Correct temperature
- Measures water for you
- No waiting around waiting for kettle to cool
- Fits most, if not all bottles (so not restricted to using Tommee Tippee brand)
- Loud beeping noise and flashing green light which cannot be adjusted
- Filters need replacement every 3 months and are expensive (see below)
- Only measures 4 to 8oz bottle feeds
- Times out after 2 minutes so have to have to restart the process if you get distracted
- No facility for temperature adjustment (seems too cool to me – see below)
Perfect Prep Review
Out of over 2000 customer reviews, the machine has a 4.6 star Amazon rating, which is of no surprise if I am perfectly honest. I love this machine! However, if I had to be picky, then these are a few of the issues that I encountered.
Set Up and Filter Replacement
There is a set up routine that has to be undertaken before the machine is used. This is not particularly time consuming, less than 10 minutes, but I personally found the instructions that are supplied with the Perfect Prep to be rather vague.
Similarly, there is a process that has to be followed every time a filter is replaced. You try remembering how you did it 3 months earlier! Again, I found myself searching the internet for instructions on how to do this. (See videos below on how to do this.)
Bottle Feed Temperature
Clearly, I had no concept of ‘room temperature’ when I was bringing up my children! The Tommee Tippee machine produces bottles which are lower in temperature than I would produce, if making a bottle manually.
I bow to Tommee Tippee’s superior knowledge, but this does have some drawbacks. Bottles tend to cool rather quickly. Also, when you start weaning and want to use formula milk to mix with rusks or baby porridge, the temperature of the milk isn’t really hot enough to dissolve the rusk or mix the formula entirely. Also, the food feels quite cold when feeding to baby.
It would be an advantage if there was some scope to increase the temperature.
Beeping Noise and Flashing Light
The annoying beeping noise and flashing light on the machine, which both seem rather insignificant in the daytime, suddenly become a major issue at 2am in the morning. I suffer with migraines and have to cover the light with my hand so that it doesn’t trigger one off. The beeping seems loud enough to wake the house up and will be particularly problematic if you take the machine into the bedroom with you (as many mothers do, especially in the first few weeks).
A volume control and dimmer switch for the flashing light would be a great improvement.
Cost of Replacement Filters
The cost of the replacement filters is a bitter pill to swallow. It is a well known ploy of manufacturers to incorporate a consumable item into their product. This creates a recurring revenue stream for them. (Think printers and printer cartridges. The printers are sold low, sometimes even cheaper than a replacement set of manufacturers ink cartridges.)
The last minute filter purchases that I made cost £10 at Tesco and £10.39 at Boots. They are presently £10.50 in Asda and £10.99 in Argos. When you think that you can purchase 4 Brita water filters for circa £15, which is less than £4 each, and perform the same function, this gives you an idea of the sort of profit that is being made.
Unfortunately, the Brita filters will not fit the Tommee Tippee machine. However, you can buy the Tommee Tippee filters a little cheaper than this on Amazon. My advice would be to plan ahead and order in at the best price that you can find.
Feed Size from 4oz Only
Depending upon the weight of your baby, you may well find that he or she only need feeds of 2 – 3 oz, especially when they are first born. As the machine measures a minimum of 4 oz, you will probably end up wasting formula.
The reason the manufacturer gives for this is that both a hot and cold injection of water are needed to achieve the optimum feed temperature. For feeds of less than 4oz, they are unable to achieve this.
There is a bottle holder which can be slotted into the machine and adjusted to suit the size of your bottle, which is great. Unfortunately, the hooks on our holder broke in transit recently. This is no reflection on the product, just a warning to be careful if you are transporting the machine.
Also, as there is a lip on the bottom of the machine, you cannot stand the bottle upright on a work surface. Hence, I now find myself having to stand at the machine and hold the bottle under the dispenser. You can actually buy replacement parts from Tommee Tippee by using their contact form. My daughter hasn’t bothered with this as her youngest will be switching to cow’s milk shortly. Nonetheless, it’s handy to know.
Perfect Prep Machine Times Out
When you start making your bottle, the machine dispenses hot water. You then have 2 minutes to add the formula to the bottle, before restarting the machine. I presume this is a safety measure to ensure that the bottle is at the right temperature for your baby. However, if you become distracted, then the machine will reset itself and you will have to start making the bottle all over again.
Rightly or wrongly, I tend to measure the formula and add it to the bottle before starting the process. When the hot water is added, I find that it mixes better with the formula, rather than the other way around.
Also, when you start the second stage, the cooler water trickles out rather slowly. A long wait when you’re tired and waiting for an 8oz bottle to fill, believe me!
Hot Water Dispenser
Be careful with the hot water dispenser so that you do not burn yourself. It tends to spit out the water and there is often a shot of hot water dispensed after the machine has beeped.
How to Set Up the Perfect Prep
How to Use the Perfect Prep Machine
How To Change the Filter
Is it Value for Money?
Yes. The manufacturer’s recommended retail price (RRP) is apparently £119.99. When my daughter
bought her Perfect Prep machine it was on offer and she paid approximately £75. At the time of writing, the machine is still retailing at some UK stores for between £75 and £99.99. However, do shop around as prices do vary and you may find special promotions running.
Assuming that you’re not breastfeeding, then we absolutely recommend buying the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Perfect Prep machine. Whilst there are a few little niggles, these are far outweighed by the convenience and benefits of the machine.