Baby Brezza, a $200 Formula Maker, May Pose Health Risks to Infants

Mar 13, 2020 · 82 comments
I was a lazy mother, and didn't want to boil water, sterilize bottles, and bother with any of it. Breastfeeding, by far, was the easiest and left me loads of time and money to spend any way I wanted. I can appreciate some would rather not or can't, but if you can, and you are lazy, it is the best!
Mary (Cape Elizabeth, Maine)
How hard is it to make formula. Wash bottles, tops, etc. in dishwasher. Cold water is fine. Shake water and formula together in bottle. Put nipple on and feed. One more expensive accouterment that parents think they need? Life is simple if you get rid of the clutter.
Jennifer Liang (NYC)
This device may be the most unnecessary and ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of and I cannot fathom the reason for its popularity...ummm, mix/stir/shake it yourself?
Sipa111 (Seattle)
Tech will solve all our problems. How long before we we completely stop making babies the old fashioned way?
Kate (NH)
As someone who is still breastfeeding a two year old (at her insistence), I’d like to tell the breast brigade to mind their own business. Do you really think ANY woman who has a baby in this country has not heard the “breast is best” mantra a thousand times? The way we feed our children is not a decision anyone takes lightly. Neither does anyone make the decision (and I use this term loosely. Many women do not have a choice) to formula feed because a stranger has not yet told them that breast is best. Come on people, support families to feed their children the best way they can. And trust women — almost universally, we make informed and contextually appropriate feeding decisions for our families.
CT Reader (Fairfield County`)
The business school professors claim that Millennials don't want to buy as many products -- just "experiences." This article shows the opposite. Millennial parents fall for dubious fad products even more than Boomers did. My infant grandchild is growing up in a home where the only limitation on gadget-buying is shelf and cupboard space.
Susan Murphy (MInneapolis)
I remember my parents standing over the kitchen stove as they ‘sterilized’ a dozen glass baby bottles during the 1950’s. This was early evidence of a scientific process to me, and it was carefully done and very methodical. Each of my six sisters and brother and I grew up healthy and well fed, we’re all alive today Life continues to change and the pressure put on mothers with careers is real and complicates any woman who tries to breast feed successfully. It’s not the just that this may be a very inadequate delivery system, current American post natal policies make it seem like mothers and fathers are spinning in place. Let’s continue to explore and work for a ONE YEAR or more Family Leave policy, We can learn from others countries that practice authentic family values . New parents, our daughters and sons, deserve better.
dearworld2 (NYC)
I’m a boomer. I read these articles and wonder how I survived my childhood when devices like this were not available to my parents.
Shannon (Philadelphia, PA)
I loved this machine! I used it properly and cleaned it often and my son is now a very healthy two year old. I used the machine for a year and would occasionally check to make sure it was dispensing they correct amount of powdered formula and check the consistency compared to a hand made bottle. My son was always in the 99th percentile and was a very chubby, healthy baby. No issues here.
Ceilidth (Boulder, CO)
It's a lifesaver for parents? Really? Here's a really simple way to feed your baby: take out your breast and offer it to the baby. Or if you can't do that, measure out some formula, mix with water and serve. What is it with people who can't even figure out how to do that?
Svrwmrs (CT)
If breastfeeding isn't possible: 1. buy water bottled for infants 2. pour measured amount in clean bottle 3. pour measured amount of powdered formula in with the water 4. secure nipple 5. shake 6. feed baby warming is unnecessary if baby is used to room-temperature or cold milk
Linda (New Jersey)
If the formula looked watery or too thick, why did the parents give it to their babies? Or didn't they notice? If saving time is that important, how are they going to handle all the other ways children take up time?
Amos M (Albany, NY)
Breast feeding is the best if physically possible. For immunology, bonding , etc. Robot baby machines are the opposite. Beware of robot parents, swayed by what's the latest machine to replace parenting.
Harry B (Michigan)
Now I am convinced that humans will go extinct by their own hands.
Ron (Providence, RI)
Insane that a malfunctioning kitchen appliance has any ability to affect the health of your baby. The abstraction created by technology is not a relief from the burden of common sense.
JL22 (Georgia)
This isn't funny at all, but does anyone else see an opportunity for Keurig formula pods? If you can, breastfeed. If you can't, play it safe and mix your own child's formula. Here's hoping Gwinneth Paltrow doesn't get any new product ideas.
Deborah Schneider (Vaud, Switzerland)
I am rather discouraged by the judgment implicit in some of these comments. People use devices of this type for a variety of reasons, none of which have anything to do with laziness or a refusal to assume the responsibilities of parenting. My husband and I are foster-adoptive parents to a trio of amazing girls, one of us came to us as a medically-fragile fourteen-day-old with a congenital developmental disability and a host of physical challenges. We bought the Baby Brezza thinking it would facilitate her care, allowing us to make properly-mixed bottles of formula and giving us more time to attend to her needs and those of her sister. Unfortunately, we ended up having a very bad experience with the device (We could not get it to mix a consistent bottle.), but we purchased it in good faith, thinking we were acting in our (now adoptive, then foster) daughter's interests. Please do not judge others unless you certain that you understand their circumstances and motivations.
Sane Human (DC Suburb 20191)
If your feeding your baby with TAP water in the device, that’s NOT optimal unless you use filtered water.
Mary (Cape Elizabeth, Maine)
Depends on where your tap water is from.
Ceilidth (Boulder, CO)
@Sane Human According to whom? Gwyneth Paltrow? Most tap water is cleaner than bottled water.
Heather (Vine)
Leaving water to sit seems a bad idea anyway if your newborn will be consuming it. Leaving formula in the machine might invite bugs unless it's very well sealed. Just seems unnecessary. Making bottles is somewhat laborious. But only somewhat. And you still have to clean everything. Just make the bottles by hand.
Judy Petersen (phoenix)
I feel badly for mom's who can't breastfeed for the many reasons out there. So much easier, always the right temperature and portable. I could go on and on.
Anon (USA)
@Judy Petersen many women choose not to. For some, it's a painful, frustrating, demoralizing experience if the milk doesn't come, isn't enough, or hurts for every second you're doing it. Studies show formula is perfectly safe and has the same nutritional benefits as breast milk (and some upsides, too). It gets a bad reputation in 2020 for stuff that happened decades ago.
Mme. Flaneuse (Over the River)
@Anon It is true that many women find breastfeeding difficult, and either surrender in sad frustration to manufactured infant milk, or are instructed to begin supplementation by their baby’s pediatrician. Quite often these Mothers have been failed by our healthcare system, &/or the lack of support from both the workplace & community. Those of us who work as lactation consultants (International Board Certified Lactation Consultants) dedicate ourselves to improving the outcomes for Mothers & babies, & educating both other medical professionals & the public regarding breastfeeding. We have made great strides, but clearly there is much to address. Your statement, however, that formula “has the same nutritional benefits as breast milk” is completely erroneous. As a professional I would be remiss to allow such an egregious error to pass without correction.
Phil (NYC)
You can put this device right next to your Juicero! For people who can be bothered to... mix powder with milk.
Kh (Arizona)
I raised twins. Prepared a dozen bottles each evening after dinner -wash the bottles by hand, fill with tap water, dump in formula, shake, and pop in the fridge door in a row, all ready for the next day. Very simple. At night - my babies happily ate the cold formula directly from the fridge - they actually liked it better than when it was warmed. It’s really not that complicated.
CC (California)
@Kh To make sure you're keeping the formula safe when preparing ahead, the instructions are to boil water, cool to a precise temp, add the formula, and then mix. I did that for a year for one of my kids, every night. Used the Baby Brezza for the next one and it was so much easier.
If you think that warming a bottle is so onerous of a child-care chore that it needs to be automated... then I have some very bad news for you!
Edward Swing (Peoria, AZ)
There's a ridiculous amount of unwarranted judgment in the comments here. My wife and I use a Brezza and, as long as we keep it clean, it works great for us. If it doesn't sound like something you'd want, then don't buy it. Parenting is an incredibly difficult experience. Judging other parents for buying something that they feel makes their life easier is absurd. That sort of judgment helps no one. It's reflective of the modern cult of parenting where all parenting behaviors must be approved by completely unqualified, self-appointed experts. Focus on your own kids and stop trying to shame other parents.
CC (California)
@Edward Swing Agreed! We also found it really helpful with other caregivers - they didn't need to know how to mix formula, or heat it.
Anon (USA)
@Edward Swing We did not have a Brezza with our first. We didn't produce enough breast milk so we had to supplement with formula. For the second we've gone 100% formula and used the Brezza and it's been life-changing. It is no exaggeration to say it is the single piece of hardware I would recommend to ANY parent with an open enough mind.
BethJones (Toronto, Canada)
@Edward Swing Stop judging women and shaming them with language like “cult” for describing their experiences and demanding better treatment. The women who supported me through the despair and agony - both physical and emotional - of those first weeks of breastfeeding may be "unqualified, self-appointed experts" to you but to me they possessed life-giving intelligence and experience. Breastfeeding is not intuitive. You need a lot of support through the ups and downs from women who have been there. You ALSO need paid parental leave for both parents to ride the rewarding, but very difficult, journey of that first year. Women deserve better than the Brezza and no manner of shaming women for describing our experiences and demanding better care will stop us from speaking. I guess, I could say the same to you - focus on your own kids and stop shaming mothers.
Steve Hutch (New York)
I'm sorry but what fool would use these machines. Mix it yourself for heavens sake. We mixed a days batch in one container exactly to spec. Then dispensed into a bottle and quickly warmed. Easy and effective.
aph530 (Los Angeles)
@Steve Hutch People who have multiples are the "fools" who may use this machine.
John (Marin County)
"But it looks so cute in the kitchen" (I'm sure is the predominate thinking).
Comment Generator 3000 (New Jersey)
I breastfeed (over a year and counting) but I have seen these things and researched them on the off chance I would have breastfeeding issues (obviously I didn't). I thought that the water temperature alone would be a breeding ground for bacteria and many reviewers said the machine did not dispense the correct amount of formula. If parents want the easiest solution they should buy those pre-made formulas bottles, open the top and feed the baby.
aph530 (Los Angeles)
@Comment Generator 3000 The pre-made formula bottles tend to have small quantities (2 oz.) which are not workable for older babies.
Connie Martin (Warrington Pa)
@aph530 Not to mention the insane cost of them. After breast-feeding didn't work, we went to the premixed formula in cans, to the concentrate in cans to the powder because of the expense. We had no problem mixing the powder and water and babies don't need warm formula- it can make them gassy. The powder was great for long outings- put powder in bottle then at feeding time fill the bottle at a water fountain or from a thermos, shake and serve...
RM (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
Enough breastfeeding sanctimony in these comments, please. Those of us who tried desperately to breastfeed our children, and were unable to, at least have the choice of keeping our kids ALIVE with formula. Our kids are healthy and thriving; we don’t need your judgement, please and thanks. I don’t think I’d have trusted a machine like this: every formula is so different, and anyone who’s taken high school chemistry knows that mixing water and powder is tricky at the best of times. I ended up using several different kinds of formula over the period that my baby needed it, and they all had different guidelines for mixing them correctly. I can see how easy it would be to get the ratios wrong.
Anon (USA)
@RM This is exactly it. We have a Brezza and love it, but it was surprisingly complicated setting it up for the formula we wanted. Changing up formulas would get very confusing indeed, and I can see how it can lead to issues.
Elaine (NY)
In general, I am tired of reading about rich people and their weird problems. Regardless of that, these machines seem unsanitary, wasteful, and bad for the planet. It is not difficult to put a little formula in a bottle of warm water and shake it up.
Kracken (Houston)
@Elaine maybe the feeding guidelines have changed since you had kids? Here’s how it goes. Use filtered water (not tap - it might have fluoride or lead) and heat gently to desired temperature (not too fast - can’t have hotspots or ruin the formula) and while you wait 15 minutes for your bottles to warm up you get to listen to your child scream at you because they’re hungry. Don’t make it ahead of time - formula can’t sit for too long and the agony of reheating a chilled bottle is too much to bear. I agree that making and mixing bottles is easy enough and the Brezza isn’t a great appliance but people use them because new parents are inundated with so many rules for feeding babies it’s gotten ridiculous. Once I ignored the ‘rules’ and made bottles the easy way (mixing hot water with room temp water and then formula) life was fine but in those first weeks of trying to follow every single rule Brezza can seem like an easy win.
D (Michigan)
I didn't breastfeed very long because my kids suffered from failure to thrive because of my insufficient production. The pediatrician, a nursing advocate, actually told me to give it up for the sake of the babies. Getting that out of the way, I don't understand what motivates people to use this machine. I used powdered formula, which I premeasured and put into a little dispenser container with sections, so I had about 6 servings premeasured each time. Then I filled bottles with water and kept them at room temperature. When needed, mix the two, shake, and if necessary, put it in the microwave for 15 seconds. It's not that hard or time consuming. Also, you sterilize these items after every use, not so with the machine. If powder is too much trouble, there is a premixed formula version that comes in cans. People are so obsessed with technology and convenience that they often fail to realize that simple can actually be better.
Kracken (Houston)
@D they use them because they are so many stupid rules about how to make formula. For instance - you are never supposed to microwave a bottle. Or use tap water. Or make them too far in advance. I was even afraid to use the instant hot water in my kitchen because I’d been warned of the potential of lead pipes somewhere in the city’s water supply. The rules are dumb, but that’s why people like myself tried Brezza because it’s one less thing. Brezza didn’t work for us because it did make watery formula and I started ignoring the rules and mixing bottles like a sane person but it was impossible to follow all those guidelines every bottle and not lose my mind. (For the record 2oz instant hot + 6oz fridge door water was the perfect temperature)
Bk2 (U.S.A.)
I have 4 kids. Wife breast fed til they were around 7-9 months. Made plenty of bottles though and I remember them taking about 30 seconds. Scoop, fill w warm water, shake. Also, parents should have done some basic math on how much powder was being used.
Shipra (NJ)
In an era where some people are saying no to straws others continue to purchase wasteful gadgets like this that will be in the dumpster the very next year. This is wasteful by design.
Erick McaQuillin (Montana)
Breast feeding needs to be the global standard. There are too many benefits that outweigh the convenience of formula feeding. The cost to society of lower IQ, less robust immune system, and lack of parental bonding from formula needs to be accounted for.
Mary Harrison (Missouri)
@Erick McaQuillin If you can. Not all women can produce enough milk for their babies. I couldn't. My daughter in law couldn't. We both have robust, healthy, smart children. Our kids were starving and we picked the right choice to get them fed with Pediatrician full support.
RL (Washington)
@Erick McaQuillin And the mental and physical health and well-being of women who are unable to breast feed, or who find it otherwise incompatible with fulfilling the many other demands in their individual lives, are irrelevant, right? This story isn't about bottle-vs.-breast in the first place, but you'd never know it from reading off-topic comments like this.
Patricia Cross (California)
I agree. I was very lucky to have breastfed both my boys until they decided enough. That was in toddlerhood. And of course they were eating solids. Food from our table chopped fine starting at 6 months. I also believe I could not have done this if I had not a strong support from my husband, both financially and emotionally. Those were advantages. At the same time I sought support through La Leche League. Let me stress they are not fanatics, but simply providing information, support, and friendship. When pregnant with my second child I became a La Leche League leader — moderating group meetings and offering phone consultation. Probably that training is what led me away from financial/legal professions and into counseling high school students. But I always felt those early experiences in motherhood gave such joy and boxing with my boys, now in their 40’s. Both my grandchildren were breastfed to about a year old and like my boys, never had baby food. They are remarkably healthy and well adjusted and the youngest (age 7) child’s favorite foods are oysters and anchovies! But even so I can’t imagine pushing a button to make formula, leaving the “feeding” to a machine.
Peter (Boston)
I raised twins Regardless of the faulty device, I’m amazed that parents would buy this device anyway. Early on I noticed that when mixing formula that not all of it dissolved unless it was vigorously shaked, and longer shaking if the water was cool. Eventually wasn’t a big deal, I become adept like a bartender making martinis. My babies grew from premature weight to normal like wild mushrooms.
Melissa (Silver Spring, MD)
@Peter We had a similar experience to you--premature twins. Early on we were making (and washing) 18 bottles per day (feeding every three hours, plus two mini bottles to make sure the boys finished the bottles with their medicine in it). We bought one of those protein shake drink mixers that has a ball inside and would shake the heck out of batches at a time and we would keep them in a mini fridge we kept up in the kids' room. The only late-night stumbling around involved warming up the bottles. There is no way we would have trusted the mixing to a machine, though maybe it's because at their starting weight, any nutritional errors would have had more catastrophic consequences for the boys than for "regular" babies on the weight curve.
Sessy (NJ)
'The Brezza machine can be set up in advance so that a parent only has to press a button to produce a warm bottle of formula." It's sad that everything,including nourishing your offspring has been relegated to convenience and speed. Glad I breast fed my babies,while actually looking at them instead of scrolling through a Facebook feed.
Eileen Oh (Minneapolis, MN)
I actually bought one of these machines for my now 17 month old. I ended up returning it after reading numerous complaints about formula bottles not dispensing correctly and the need to clean it frequently. We bought a simple formula pitcher, a hot water dispenser (to warm up cold formula), and made middle of the night bottles that way. Mixed formula can be used for up to 24 hours. Eventually, we got our baby to drink cold formula. I’m sure someone will say that even formula pitchers are a waste, but despite shaking and mixing, we could never get our single bottles of formula as evenly mixed as what we made in the pitcher. There were always clumps of undissolved formula.
CC (California)
@Eileen Oh I did that for one of my kids (nightly batches of formula made properly), and then used the Baby Brezza for my last. It was so much easier, even with the periodic cleaning/resetting of the machine.
Jane K (Northern California)
One of the advantages of breastfeeding is the convenience of not having to prepare, store, clean up or pay for formula. Generally, in the middle of the night, if a baby awakens hungry you just put him to breast as soon as you need to. In all of the controversy of breast versus bottle, I do not this mentioned very often in this publication. But if formula ends up being the way a family feeds their infant, having an extra gadget seems over the top.
Bob (PA)
I am actually amazed that there are any manufacturers left that sell baby related products other than clothes. While the reality is that, when one is dealing with very large numbers, it is almost inevitable that a tiny percentage of cases will result in catastrophe. Even with a perfectly designed product there will inevitably be a few who will misunderstand instructions, not keep up with maintenance or keep using an obviously broken item. However; this is not a defense if a child is harmed, particularly if offered as a defense before a jury by someone making a profit selling something.
steve (Hudson Valley)
Are these the same rocket scientists who spend $700 for a stroller? Untold generations of parents have prepared bottles of formula for their babies late at night and survived the " several minutes per formula bottle, a welcome convenience in the middle of the night". What will they want next- an automated feeding device?
Jessica Weddle (Paris)
Alas, breastfeeding is best.
Katy (Seattle)
@Jessica Weddle For many women, breastfreeding is not an option. Formula has saved many babies' lives.
SJ (London)
@Katy @Jessica Weddle is simply stating a truth - breastfeeding is best. I'm sorry you take offense. It is true that for some mothers it isn't an option, but Jessica's statement that breast is best was not said in refute of your point.
S (NY)
@Jessica Weddle Alas, not all of us produce any or enough breastmilk. Or need to take lifesaving medication. Or don't have breasts. Or adopted a child.
DouginCT (West Hartford)
Yep - another needless device is right. By now people really have to stop being upset that gadgets don’t work as fantasized, since most of it is poorly made, poorly researched, and wholly unnecessary- designed to make a quick buck and take advantage of our gullibility and our ever decreasing ability (or desire) to do things for ourselves. Buyer beware....and stop complaining. Remember McDonald’s coffee is hot and you shouldn’t need the lid to tell you that.
fromupstate (upstate)
Are these first time parents? Do they use their eyes? Common sense? Where are the grand parents? Do they own self driving Teslas?
Kay (Boston)
Yet another unnecessary $$$ gadget coming between parents and babies. Nursing is best, but if it’s not possible, a formula bottle put it in a big mug of hot tap water for a few minutes to take the chill off is enough. Worked for us.
an observer (comments)
@Kay Don't use hot tap water--it has bacteria and other contaminants in it from sitting in the boiler, and tastes nasty. Heat cold tap water if you want hot water.
Jennifer Liang (NYC)
Kay is suggesting the hot tap water TO WARM UP THE BOTTLE...sigh
Kas (Columbus, OH)
We spooned the powder into tap water, closed the cap, and shook for a few minutes. Our kids turned out fine. Simplicity for the win.
Daria (Merida, Yucatán)
Can someone tell me how difficult it is to pour formula from a can/pouch/box into a bottle or mix formula and water in a bottle? And can someone address the sanitary pitfalls of having a protein laden residue lurking inside the dispensing nozzle of one of these machines? I have no idea about any of these things.
Carl (Denver, CO)
@Daria I was thinking the same thing...and stagnant water in the reservoir is also unsanitary.
an observer (comments)
Another needless device. How hard is it to fill a bottle with water, spoon in the powder and shake. Multiple bottles can be filled at a time and refrigerated if need be.
CC (California)
@an observer You can make big batches of formula that last a day, but the only way to do that safely is to boil the water, cool it to a precise temperature, add the formula powder and mix it. It's doable, but it's a pain.
NM (Houston, Tx)
If there is a possibility that people may not use the device correctly, the device shouldn't be on the market. As the pediatrician in the story said, too much is at stake.
Bk2 (U.S.A.)
@NM there is a “possibility” that people will use every single device ever made incorrectly. By your logic, we shouldn’t have cars, chainsaws, shovels, knives, etc, etc.
Sara (Wisconsin)
Just how much "convenience" do rich people need? Understand the need for formula in case breast feeding doesn't work, but this is insane. Sure, kids are a "bother" and sometimes "inconvenient", but a one button feeding system is a bit over the top.
Pat (Somewhere)
@Sara No, it's nothing short of a miracle so many billions of humans made it through infancy without this gadget. /s
Ella (NYC)
Having warm formula seems really nice, but there's no nutritional reason for it. Room temperature makes it so much easier to feed your baby on the go -- I always carried a pre-filled bottle of water and a pre-measured serving of formula powder. Just add and shake -- very simple!
S (NY)
@Ella If the child rejects cold formula, as many combination fed babies so, there sure is a nutritional reason!
CC (California)
@Ella That's what I did when on the go, but at home, especially when your baby is on frequent small bottles, it was hugely helpful to be able to dispense a 2oz bottle with the push of a button. I also nightly filled up the pre-measured serving of powder for on-the-go feedings.
Benny (Atlanta GA)
We used this for our baby and loved it. It was a little finicky so you need to pay attention and make sure it is ready and mixing correctly. But getting up in the middle of the night and just pushing a button for warm formula is worth it.
CC (California)
@Benny Same with us. Also helpful for other caregivers who aren't as knowledgeable about how to mix formula.
Anon (USA)
@Benny Same here. A real life-changer, especially in the middle of the night. Ignore the haters.
See also