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Some Like It Hot... Especially Babies. Here's Yoomi!

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At dinner recently with a close friend, his wife and their 10-month-old baby, I was introduced to a new product which astonished me in its uniqueness, practicality and usefulness. Halfway through our meal, his wife said it was time to feed the baby... and she whipped out of her bag something called a Yoomi. It was a bottle-and-warmer in one, and she merely pressed an orange button on its top to activate the built-in heater in the head. In 60 seconds, as I watched in amazement, the milk in the bottle had been heated to just the right temperature (86-90 degrees) for the baby... and the little one eagerly sucked away at the built-in nipple on top of the Yoomi.

I remember going out with them a month ago and she had to go into the restaurant's kitchen to heat the baby bottle in a pan of hot water there. "This is a new product from England," my buddy told me. "I read about it in the Wall Street Journal and tracked it down in a baby shop here, where it just went on sale for about $40. You fill the bottle with breast milk or formula, heat the special warmer head in a microwave for 90 seconds, then attach it and it's ready to go." He went on to tell me that it good for at least a hundred uses before needing to be replaced; they merely prepare the head and bottle before venturing out. When they drove to Santa Barbara, they took two of them in the car. "Now we can even handle midnight feedings without having to go to the trouble of heating the milk," he added.

I went to the Yoomi website and found out a little more about it. It is the first rechargeable self-warming baby bottle system available in the U.S. It was developed in the U.K. by an engineer and his wife, Jim and Farah Shaikh, who were inspired by the many feeding challenges they faced following the premature birth of their first child. Over the course of five years of development, the innovative product received several awards for its engineering. The British Library just named it one of the fifteen best inventions of the decade,

Curious, I bought a five-ounce one for $33 online. The original model had a beehive-shaped top warmer which had to be heated in boiling water for 25 minutes before using. The new model, just available, can be prepared in a microwave in less than two minutes. The milk flows over the warmer on its way to the nipple, so you don't have to worry about overheating the bottom of the bottle. It reached the ideal temp in just 60 seconds once you press the orange button. The website explains that the warmer is powered by a special "phase-change" gel (a non-toxic material which generates heat as it transforms from liquid to solid) safely sealed within the leak-proof chamber, much like traditional hand warmers. Once activated by the push-button, the gel flows inside a series of channels on the outside of the warmer to gently heat the milk. The system remains warm for about an hour. An interesting side note: the wide, soft silicon nipple features strategic vents to help reduce colic by preventing air from bubbling through the milk. How ingenious is the mind of man! This English couple saw a worldwide need... and by sheer industry and effort, they created a unique product which will have appeal and use to mothers (and fathers) throughout the globe. Yes, Yoomi is here, little one.

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