Unitasker Wednesday: Formula Mixer

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

The baby industry never ceases to amaze me with its ability to prey on new parents. This week’s Unitasker is right up there with the Nuvo Ritmo Pregnancy Sound System as being a totally useless gadget. Introducing the Formula Mixer:

As an adoptive parent with six months of making bottles under my belt, I can 100 percent attest to the fact that merely shaking a bottle will produce a wonderfully consistent meal for my son. No electricity is needed to power my arm while it shakes. I don’t need to toss my arm in the dishwasher afterward, and I don’t have to buy my arm seeing as it’s already attached to my body. Since you have to continuously hold down the power button to use this item, I don’t understand how it is in any way better than simply shaking a bottle. Oh, Unitaskers, how you make me smile.

47 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Formula Mixer”

  1. posted by Alix on

    Adoptive or biological, you’re a PARENT, period! ;-)

  2. posted by rhett on

    this kind of invention is something my husband would HAVE TO HAVE – it’s a good thing he doesn’t know about them :) I’m of the opinion one doesn’t even need to dirty a spoon to make chocolate milk for a toddler in a sippy cup… just pour and shake… but that’s just me :)

  3. posted by Rue on

    This would be great if you had some type of container with no lid that therefore could not be shaken ;)

  4. posted by Ashly on

    @ Rue – or you could just use a spoon

  5. posted by Mike on

    Deep in the bowels of the workshop where Formula Mixer was designed…

    POINTY-HAIRED BOSS: You engineers need to come up with a new ultra-simple product that uses the tiny electric motor that is our only patented asset!

    ENGINEERS: But we already make electric toothbrushes, powered screwdrivers, and female pleasure devices!

    PHB: What you need to do is figure out how to build the exact same thing another way so we can sell it to people who already have an electric toothbrush, powered screwdriver, and female pleasure device.

    ENGINEERS: What about something people can stir their drinks with? People like booze, right?

    PHB: Yeah, but people can get booze at a pub. What about the people who don’t go to pubs, because they have no lives and can’t ever leave the house!

    ENGINEERS: You mean engineers?

    PHB: No! I mean parents! Make it a product for babies!

    ENGINEERS: But babies don’t drink booze.

    PHB: See, this is why I get paid more than you guys.

  6. Profile photo of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @Alix — Ha! I used the word “adoptive” to ward off the hate mail I’ve received in the past when I’ve mentioned that I feed my child formula. Last time PJ wrote about buying formula, we both received hate mail for two weeks — for a total of about 75 messages. I have enough valid e-mail to sort through, reading hate mail only clutters up my time.

  7. posted by JC on

    This is too funny.

    Erin: I know too well the hostility associated with using formula, even from people knowing that I had adopted.

  8. posted by momofthree on

    Everytime i see an Unclutterer Unitasker, the line from the movie TOY STORY crosses my mind:

    “…next year’s garage sale fodder…”

    Wow, just how gullible are people?

  9. posted by Alix on

    Hi Erin
    Good grief! What’s wrong with people??? Well, anyway — belated congratulations on your bundle of joy, Mom! :-)

  10. posted by Rue on

    @Ashly – lol, yes, it was a joke :)

  11. posted by chacha1 on

    Mike is a genius.

  12. posted by julier on

    I had preemie twins who had problems with reflux that were aggravated by the air bubbles produced by shaking their bottles. I would have loved to have one of these forumula mixers.

  13. Profile photo of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @julier — This device creates far more bubbles than shaking does. Plus, our son had reflux until he was six months old, and our doctor said just to let the bottle sit for three minutes before serving it to him. No more bubbles! And, I don’t know how long ago you had your twins, but now there are special “heavy” formulas created just for reflux.

  14. posted by whyioughtta on

    I’m still caught up with your idea of removable limbs we can put in the dishwasher. I think you might be on to something there…

  15. posted by Ashly on

    This also makes me think of bottle warmers…is there some reason that a bottle warmer is more efficient than using warm water? I honestly don’t know, I’ve never used one, but the idea just seems like a scam to me. When my daugher was hungry, I did not have time to unscrew the bottle lid before the meltdown began, let alone put it in any sort of warmer!

  16. posted by Rebecca on

    Well, you aren’t supposed to use warm water from the tap to make formula because it has too many impurities or something. (Sorry, my son is nearly three and some of my formula-making memories have lost their specificity.) So for safety’s sake, you have to use cold water. Then yeah, you can either sit the bottle in hot water to warm it, or use a bottle warmer. I never had a bottle warmer but I’ve heard they are faster than the hot-water method.

    That said, this is clearly a get-men-properly-involved-in-baby-care device. My father would have mixed a lot more bottles and volunteered for a little more babysitting, if he’d been given the opportunity to use some kind of gadget like this as part of the deal. He’ll do almost anything more if there is a cool-looking gadget to do it with. Ditto a lot of other men I know (not my husband, as it happens, but others).

  17. posted by empty on

    @Ashly
    We use a bottle warmer for our daughter, who drinks expressed breastmilk when I’m away. She is a bit of a princess about bottles and will howl in protest if her milk is not at the same temperature she’s used to from nursing. In her defense, she is completely mellow about everything else.

    My son, by contrast, would happily drink expressed milk that was only half-thawed and still contained ice chunks. When he was a baby we thought that bottle warmers were a total scam.

  18. posted by Mike on

    @chacha1 – Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week. Just remember, the more you drink, the funnier I get! And please remember to tip your server.

  19. posted by Writergrl on

    I have to admit that I did use one of these: I too had preemie twins with severe reflux. We had to mix b-milk/formula with Simply Thick in order for it to stay down and simply shaking it together in the bottle produced globs of thickener surrounded by the thinner food. But — for the 99.5% of babies who don’t need this special additive, this is truly a waste of batteries.

  20. posted by Mama T-Mag on

    My daughter had a feeding tube and severe reflux. Try concentrate rather than powder, and try prescription formula. It took 3 trys but we found one that helped.

  21. posted by Lilliane P on

    This makes me think of my latte whip … only that would definitely make too many bubbles. I use the whip because I love mountains of froth.

  22. posted by Gisele on

    Ours clumped with just shaking. We used a metal chopstick, since spoons weren’t the right size, and then put the dirty chopsticks in the dishwasher.

  23. posted by L. on

    @Erin — On behalf of humans everywhere, I want to apologize for anyone who dared to comment to you about what you feed your children.

  24. Profile photo of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @L — No need to apologize! The formula hate mail is pretty funny. It’s honestly the amount that was the worst part of it. I had no idea that formula was such a hot topic until that first incident.

    Sometime I should post the best of the best hate mail I receive. People would be laughing for weeks. Except, well, the truly best includes words that should not appear on a family-friendly site.

  25. posted by Linda on

    Our nurse (it’s really a Dutch thing that you’re supposed to give birth at home and then have a nurse over for a week, right?) always told me that shaking the bottle would result in too much air in the formula (and therefor maybe bigger burping or so.. *lol*)

    But ehmm.. this thing.. couldn’t it just be replaced with a spoon or a fork??? I mean.. people, come on….. ;)

    Greetings from the netherlands!

  26. posted by Rachel on

    I would have to pronounce this an undertasker:

    For my twins we found that a hurriedly assembled bottle can sometimes leak, and if this is found out by shaking over the sink (as it so often – but not always – is), it’s SOOOO much better than discovering a) after it’s dripped all over baby’s clothes and b) once baby is halfway through bottle and doesn’t want you to take the bottle away to replace it/otherwise fix the leak…

    If the makers of this formula mixer cannot guarantee that my bottles, once mixed, will not leak, it’s not fully replacing a good old shake.

  27. posted by slw on

    Erin, I’m really sorry you get hate mail, and I have huge respect for people who adopt, so what follows is not in any way a criticism of you or of adoptive parents generally. I just wanted to point out that for the majority of parents the whole bottlefeeding apparatus comes under the category of useless unitasker, when breastfeeding (with the right support and information) is easier, cheaper and more convenient, as well as being incomparably healthier. Anyone who needs support with breastfeeding should check out http://www.llli.org.

  28. posted by Karen on

    slw, there are some of us non-adoptive parents who could not, for various health reasons (mine and the babies’) breastfeed. Yes, we know it’s healthier. Yes, I would have LOVED to not spend money and time on formula. But it’s what I had to do.

  29. posted by Annie on

    Allow me to express my deepest condolences that people are being idiots and taking some of the joy away from one of the happiest (although probably most sleep-deprived) part of your lives.

    Also, allow me to second any interest in a post with a “worst of” hate mail post – it sounds incredibly funny, and people like that thrive on secrecy – and deserve to have their statements brought out into the light.

  30. posted by zig on

    I have something similar to this and I love it. We use it to make pudding and other things. I got mine at the grocery store about two dollars cheaper and love it.

    Zig

  31. posted by Jen on

    i formula-fed my (biological) son for non-medical reasons that were just as valid as any others – my reasons were related to post-partum depression and trying to maintain some of my sanity in order to care for my son as well as possible. i tried breastfeeding him for a few weeks and was just not emotionally able to keep up with it and everything else that being a new mom entailed. ultimately, what is important is that i fed my child and that was my job at the time. i’m so sorry that you got all that hate mail when all you did is feed your child (and through the only way physically possible in your case).

    that said, i cannot imagine how a device like this could be more useful than the extra space created by not having it in my kitchen!

  32. posted by Michele on

    Sorry, but I have to say that we did use this and it was great (and spurned a better idea). The reason it worked better for us than shaking was that we make all six bottles for the day, and when you shake the bottles, the formula kind of “settles” on the top parts of the bottle and ends up making them much more difficult to clean after my daughter was finished. I’d rather not have that extra film to clean up (and to have the formula going past as my daughter drank the bottle… yuck). We use Dr. Brown’s bottles, not the kind with a drop-in bag, so maybe for us this was why it worked better.

    We ended up getting a few glass pitchers and using the whip attachment of our immersion blender to whip up a day’s worth of formula at a time and just pouring into the bottles. Then there is a little extra in the glass pitcher to make cereal as needed. I can’t believe we didn’t think of this earlier! It is much faster to prepare, the formula is perfectly mixed in seconds, and clean up of the whip attachment and the tops of the bottles is a breeze.

    Just my opinion with the way we work our day’s bottles.

    :-D

  33. posted by Karyn on

    I’m wondering why in the heck a simple whisk wouldn’t do the job just as well. They do make small, slender whisks that would fit into a baby bottle, and like other whisks, I’m sure they’d do a perfectly adequate job of removing the lumps!

    I wish I could say I cannot believe people would send you hate mail over bottlefeeding a baby, but I work with the public; of course I can believe it.

    For what it’s worth, I had to stop breastfeeding my son when he was a month old, because in that month he went from nine pounds at birth to eight pounds at his one-month checkup. What I thought was normal baby poop turned out to be diarrhea. (Sorry to anyone reading this while eating.) So, lactose intolerance or whatever other digestive problem, the doctor and I decided to try soy formula, and he plumped up into a butterball baby before hitting his next growth spurt. ;-)

    Of course we had an Everyone Must Breastfeed type living down the road, and she insisted, oh, NO, no baby is EVER allergic to its mother’s milk. Ergo, I must have done something wrong! Way to make a new mom feel insecure and like a failure at the mom thing, one month into the venture. :P Nowadays, I’d be less intimidate and more likely to say something that begins with “F” and ends with “YOU.” Not you, of course, Erin. :-D But I’m sure you understand.

  34. posted by Rebecca on

    It’s true that babies aren’t allergic to mother’s milk per se (though there are some rare metabolic problems that can cause an intolerance). That is a scientific fact. However, babies can be allergic or intolerant to some part of their mother’s diet. If that part of the diet is something very common that is present in most foods, it may be difficult to figure out the trigger and the mother may end up compromising her own nutritional status in the process. Soy formula is clearly better for a baby than having a mother with malnutrition!

  35. posted by Alix on

    I’m with Annie, I think the hate mail would be hilarious… and embarrassing for the senders. Double win!

  36. posted by Karen on

    Michele, we did a similiar thing with my oldest (and will do it again if we have another baby). I had a pitcher with a plunger-type mixer (you pushed itup and down to mix the contents) and would make a pitcher of formula at a time. Looking back, the only reason i didn’t do that with #2 and #3 was, I had lost that pitcher in a move, and didn’t have an immersion blender at the time. I do now, though! It’s a brilliant idea.

  37. posted by Marisa on

    I loved it when we switched from shaking bottles to using the formula mixer! We made several bottles at time a night for daycare the next day (yes, I am a horrible mother who not only fed her child formula, but also puts him in daycare). This was a dedicated utensil that, at the time, only went into my son’s bottles. No worries about cross contamination. I never seemed to shake hard enough or long enough to get those lumps of formula from sticking to the bottom of the bottle.
    Now the formula mixer has become my husband’s portable protein shake mixer. It has also been used to whip up hot chocolate. Some may consider it a unitasker, but it is one unitasker that I love…

  38. posted by Mike on

    @slw — Even breastfed babies drink pumped breast milk from a bottle when they’re at day care, etc. The “bottle apparatus” is probably necessary somewhere near 100% of the time. Neither of my daughters had formula when breast milk was available, but for those times when it wasn’t…

  39. posted by gb on

    I love that line — “I don’t have to buy my arm because it’s already attached”… which is much more useful and practical than any Unitasker. With no recent (grown children) experience with feeding a baby — new moms shouldn’t be ridiculed on how you choose to feed your little one.

  40. posted by Virginia on

    @Rebecca – not entirely true re: allergy. I was allergic to my mother’s milk. Then they put me on formula and I went through several types – turns out I was allergic to the fat content. This was back in the 60’s when formula was mixed with milk – my mom had to mix it with NF Milk to keep me hive free. I’m sure that the fat content was not affected by her diet. I wasn’t able to digest fatty foods until after age 4 so no whole milk, no ice cream, no chocolate, no peanut butter, etc, etc, etc.

  41. posted by David on

    @slw: congrats for the “I don’t want to tell you how you should raise your child, but…” post! I’m sure I’m not the only parent who enjoys such advice.

    @michele: we made multiple bottles at a time for both of our kids and never had any trouble with settling…

    as to the unitasker, if it’s kept (and used) past the bottle years (like marisa did), then it seems like a reasonable purchase

  42. posted by Jill on

    Wow that is stupid, just shake the bottle!

  43. posted by Margarett Linkon on

    I also agree with you. I don’t find anything special of this gadget which would encourage me to purchase it. I have a toddler of three months and I use to do manual shaking for preparing food and it takes a few times to prepare the whole thing.

  44. posted by Michelle on

    So, speaking of uni-taskers, my friend and I always joked that are favorite uni was the “IKEA garlic press” but this week she found a second use for it… cracking open crab legs. Humm… It worked, so I’m not going to knock it.

  45. posted by Karyn on

    @Virginia – Thank you for posting that re: allergies to mother’s milk.

    @Rebecca – The point I was making was that sometimes it’s milk itself that babies can’t handle, regardless of the mother’s diet.

    In addition to the type of allergy Virginia mentioned, there is also the possibility of lactose intolerance, as well. Whether it’s called “allergy” or “intolerance,” the reality is that back in the “olden days” babies who couldn’t, for whatever reason, handle mother’s milk “failed to thrive” and died. Thankfully we now have other alternatives!

  46. posted by Jade on

    I purchased one of these from Avon in the Health and Wellness. It was sold with the shake mixes. Immersion mixers work as well, too.

  47. posted by H20 on

    @Marisa, my environment here looks down on stay-at-home-mum who do not produce money and sometimes labelled as *lazy mum* who always lie down with the baby to breastfeed her.

    I also breastfeed my adopted child (the fourth) and a few of my sibblings always arguing why I should adopt a child, it’s as if I’m using the child to throw some excuses of being *lazy*. I was so depressed for about a year or two, because they talk bad about me a lot and making snide remarks every here and then

    Now I just anti-socializing and concentrate on my kids & my beloved hubby

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