Monday, September 29, 2008

Product Review: Adiri Natural Nurser

I'm going to do another little product review for you green mommies out there. Nobody pays me to do these, but hey, if anyone wants to send me some kickbacks for it, I won't argue! Since my baby turned 9 months and has been demanding more food, I have had to switch from the little bottles that attach to my pump, to something larger.

I did not know to look for BPA-free bottles when I first purchased my Medela ones...I just bought them because they went with my pump. (Luckily the Medela bottles are and have always been BPA free.) But, now that I am no longer breast feeding or pumping (thanks to my little guy's 6 sharp, new teeth...I'll spare you the gory details), I did a little shopping around.

Frankly, I was getting tired of cleaning all of the parts on my old bottles...stuffing a big bottle brush through the narrow opening and then having the bristles spray soapy water all over me when I pulled it out, getting soap and a brush inside the nipple, cleaning the rings, caps, covers, etc...

I've seen these Adiri Natural Nursers written up in several of my design publications (besides running Junk Mail Gems, I'm an industrial designer), and decided to give them a whirl. Above is a photo of the two that I ordered...a stage 2 (blue) and a stage 3 (orange). I got mine from Web Vitamins because they had the best deal that I could find at $10.85.

Being a product designer and wanting to touch and feel everything, those online shopping sites never really show enough photos for me. So, for those of you who are like me, I am including more detailed photos for you...

If you're a technical product material geek like me, you will like to know that the cover, cap, and main body of the bottle (the blue part below) are made out of a polypropylene copolymer. The colored hard part of the bottle is over molded with a type of TPE, which contains some silicone (the soft clear part on top). This makes the base of the bottle more rigid, while the breast shaped part is soft (like nature intended!). The overmolding process results in a smooth, continuous feel as the nipple blends into the bottle.

Here's a close-up of the numbers (ml and ounces, they hold up to 8 oz or 240 ml)

The two bottles I bought, out of the packages:

The only difference in the 3 stages are the color of the bottle, and the number of holes in the nipple. Stage one has 2 holes, stage two has 3, and stage three has 5 holes.

Each one comes with three parts: the bottle itself, the cap, and the clear cover.

Here is a close-up of the cap with the vent:

There is a vent cover under the cap. They say you don't need to remove it to clean, so that's one less part to lose!

Close-up of the nipple...this one is the stage 2 so it has 3 holes in it:

Okay, time to try it out!

1. Slide the clear cover over the bottle and make sure it's snug against the nipple to fill it, so it doesn't leak.
2. Screw on the cap tightly.
3. Shake, if you're mixing formula like I was. (otherwise skip this step)
(step 3.5. Warm it by submerging in warm water or using a bottle warmer, although to do this you have to use the warming cap, which does NOT come with the bottle! You have to get this separate. boo!)
4. Turn the bottle over, THEN remove the cover. (Apparently doing things in the other order will make it more leaky.)

5. Give to baby and observe happiness and a full tummy!

In the past when I've given my little guy a new bottle, he has had to inspect it extensively before putting it to his mouth, sometimes resulting in a rejected bottle being thrown across the room. I was surprised at how quickly this one went straight to his mouth the minute he got his hands on it. Much like his mommy, he's a very tactile little guy and I could tell he liked the feel of this one!

I've read a lot of reviews online, a few complaining that the bottle "leaks all over the place." I really didn't notice that it leaked any more than any other bottle I've used. Of course, my baby seemed to like it so much (or was so hungry) that it really didn't leave his mouth much until it was empty. There are several things to check on the Adiri site if your bottles are leaking too much... In defense of fellow industrial designers everywhere, make sure you are actually following the instructions before posting bad reviews online! Don't assume a totally re-designed product should be used in the same way as the old one.

So, to sum things up...

The Good:
- BPA and Polycarbonate free, not to mention COOL looking!
- Breast shaped...why should it be shaped like anything else?!
- Top rack dishwasher safe (not with the heated dry cycle)
- Much easier to clean than traditional bottles
- Less parts to lose & wash

The Bad:
- You can submerge in warm water or put it in a traditional bottle warmer, but you have to buy the warming cap separate. Why doesn't it come with that?! I wish I had known when I bought them, as I would have gotten these at the same time. (FYI, as I just learned, don't just use warm tap water)
- While the packaging, cover and cap are recycleable, the bottle itself is not (the soft material). Adiri says on their website that they are working on creative recycling solutions.
- Like most GOOD design, pricier than the competition, but then it was totally worth it to me!

Love it! Just wish it came with the warming caps!! (duh!)

For more green mommy reviews, check out my extensive cloth diaper reviews:
Cloth diapering part 1
Cloth diapering part 2
Cloth diapering part 3
Cloth diapering part 4


Gretchen Fleener said...

After having used these bottles for quite some time now, I thought I'd add some more comments, possibly a few down sides, and how I have been dealing with them.

I did purchase a set of those warming caps. They come in a set of 3, and mine had two orange and one blue cap. They basically fit snugly over the base of the bottle, sealing the air valve. This enables you to put the bottle in a warmer without the hot water/steam going up into the bottle or formula coming out. However, I've found that these bottles just do not heat up well in my warmer. I have tried warming twice as long as my conventional bottles and it's still cold. So, I just warm the water before I mix it up now.

While I use them to shake up the formula, in looking at the instructions, I don't think they were made to be used in that way. I'm not sure I know anyone who actually stirs up a big batch of formula in a pitcher, but if you do then that's perfect. I have found that most of the time I can shake it up just fine, but on occasion it'll leak a little out into the clear cover (through the nipple) or base valve. However, using the warmer caps on the base helps with this and that's what I do now! If I notice it's leaked out the nipple into the cover, I just have to take it off over the sink. But, it doesn't happen too often as long as I have it on snugly.

There are a couple little things that I'd consider to be design flaws. The cap, for some silly reason, is all smooth plastic, which makes it nearly impossible to open when the bottle and/or your hands are wet! Why they made the rest of the bottle easy to grip, and the one part you have to grip so smooth, is beyond me. Just a little texture would have done the trick. Also, seeing the measurement numbers can be difficult. If I didn't have a bright window right above my sink, I think I'd have to hold it up to a light every time. They are molded into the bottle, but then when you put the cloudy cover over it which is required to fill it up, they are even harder to see. Strange why they didn't at least make the covers crystal clear...or etch the numbers into the cover itself.

So, there you have it...I think I've found a few more "cons" with this product, but still love them and will continue using them as I still think they are better than what I had before!

Bittylab said...

Would love you to take a look at this baby bottle. I'd like to hear what you have to say.
If you'd like the whole story to publish on your blog here's the link to download a press release

I read the whole thing, I love your constructive criticism (you can tell I'm a designer & a mom)

Gretchen Fleener said...

"Bittylab," I've checked out your link and would love to try out your bottle and post a review if you'd like to send one my way! I'd post probably on my new blog but could here as well. From what I read, it looks like it addresses a couple big issues that the Adiri bottles don't...the nipple extends, and the lack of air...very nice!! My youngest is now 16 months but still does a bottle of cow's milk at nap time and bed time. So, if you think my review would be valid, I'd be happy to give it a try and would love to do a product review on both blogs. :-) Thanks for stopping by!!

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