Review: Munchkin LATCH

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Recently, I was invited to check out Munchkin’s latest offering, the LATCH milk bottle at a seminar organised by SuperMom Bazaar “The First 100 Days” for new parents and parents-to-be.

the start of the seminar

the start of the seminar

The seminar was packed with couples (imagine, extra chairs had to be brought in!) and there were some booths set up giving out freebies for participants who had signed up for the seminar ($25 for seminar, but freebies were worth WAAAY more than that!) Brands like Nestle, Baby N Me, AXA, Cryoviva, Infantino, Mummamia were there to speak with parents who had questions about their products.

The key speaker, Sister Kang Phaik Giak, who is a Senior Lactation Consultant with Mt Alvernia, was a big hit with the participants. Definitely refreshed my memory about having to deal with a little one! I mean..wah liew, QT is already 1yo lor. I need cuddly tiny babies, STAT!

Nick, from Infantino, managed to squeeze out some time to speak with us (two other bloggers, Cali & Phyllis and myself) to introduce the Munchkin LATCH. Infantino is the sole distributor of the brand Munchkin so you’d be in safe hands getting your products from the direct source!

Infantino booth, with its range of LATCH products

Infantino booth, with its range of LATCH products

The LATCH is Munchkin’s latest offering which has a 360 degree rotational teat; and also an anti-colic valve that sits at the bottom of the bottle.

LATCH bottle & bottle brush

LATCH bottle & bottle brush

Nick explained that by having that rotatable teat, it will follow the baby’s latch, reducing the introduction of air. With conventional teats, there is a gap between the lips and the teat when baby turns his head, which will allow air in and baby could potentially ingest air whilst drinking.

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As for the anti-colic valve, it was interesting that it sits at the bottom of the bottle. Nick explained that anti-colic bottles tend to have the valves at the opening of the bottle or on the teat, to allow air to escape. However, air will pass through the milk, causing some air bubbles in the milk and baby would still be ingesting some air. It did then make sense for the valve to be at the bottom of the bottle, so air would not pass through the milk!

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Pretty cool huh?

Complementing the bottles is also a nifty little bottle brush. On one end is the partially silicon and non-scratch bristled brush, and tucked at the bottom of the handle is…tadah! a nifty silicon nipple brush! I love it that it is compact and it also comes with a suction base so you can just stick it on any ole countertop.

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Testing it.

For new mums, “nipple confusion” would be the buzzword. Switching between bottle and breast. Yikes. I worried about it too, more worried that I would have to spend bucket loads of money just to find that right bottle. Fortunately for me, my boys have not been to fussy about their bottles. We have been using Tommee Tippee bottles since birth.

Now I have to mention that the boys used the bottles in their early stages of infancy before being totally direct latched. They would only use the bottles if I had to be away from there for a couple of hours, and even then they would only allow one person to bottle feed them. Nope, not Daddy Ting, not me. Their maternal grandma. #grandmaftw QT was even more rarely on the bottle cos..well, he is my koala so any bottle offered to him after he could sit..was more of a chew toy. Better that than my boob really. So obviously I was curious to see how he would take to this bottle with me offering it to him.

And…he took to it really well!

korkor giving a helping hand

korkor giving a helping hand

Okay, I tried the bottle myself, and found it really hard to suck. The thought that ran through my head was that..how on earth is any kid going to get any fluid out of that bottle?? But when I gave it to QT, he seemed to take the fluid fairly easily (newborn teat, 1/4 oz gone in less than a min). So..obviously he’d know better at sucking than I do right. Sucking good? Check. Bubbles? Pfffpt, wait, what bubbles? 

[edit: I found that there were no bubbles if kiddo were to finish his milk/water all in one sitting. However, once the nipple collapsed, and I had to pull the bottle out, air would still go through the hole in the teat and cause bubbles to appear in the liquid. It is a hit and miss. I have had instances where kiddo is able to finish his milk without the nipple collapsing and instances where it would collapsed and resulted in me having to pull the bottle away for it to pop back up. ]

gimme back my bottle!

gimme back my bottle!

He was curious about the blue thing at the bottom of the bottle and took a chance at tugging at it. *watches with bated breath* So far so good. It does take quite an effort to pull the valve out as an adult, and for kids who like to fiddle with it, peeling the flap slightly doesn’t cause it to leak. For now.

ooO I can poke my finger in! (typical blur squirmy kid photo)

ooO I can poke my finger in! (typical blur squirmy kid photo)

Seriously, I am awed by the way he is taking to the bottle so easily. I even offer the bottle filled with water when he fusses at night. With his sippy cup, no way in hell he took it. He took to it with his eyes closed, like no issues ma, I’ve got this water thing. 

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One downside. After much sucking, the teat does collapse probably due to the air pressure inside. QT got a little frustrated at having to grip the teat with his teeth. The poor fella was tugging at it and just when he thought he had it and let go of it, it popped back inwards again. I guess it does show that there is a lack of air going inside the bottle. But it would also mean that I would have to pull the teat out to let the air through (stream of bubbles going through the liquid via the teat) so that the teat would pop back out again. Bottle feeding QT was a pain in the arse in the early days cos if you pulled the teat out for whatever reasons, he would NOT take the bottle again. So it had to be a bottle that..well, allowed feeding all in a go.

Hrm.

[edited 1/4/15: The guys at Infantino kindly sent me Stage 3 teats for QT and we swapped the teats. I think i have to stress that using the appropriate teat  will affect the performance of the bottle. Stage 3 teats definitely worked so much better for QT and we haven’t had any episodes of the teat collapsing. I can actually see him sucking a lot more with ease and he guzzles the milk faster.)

 But hey, that is my kid. Yours might differ. So, yeah. I did wonder if it was a novelty that’s why he finished his feed so I tried the Tommee Tippee bottle first then the LATCH. He took to the TT bottle readily as well as the LATCH. Chey..so novelty of using bottle with EBM. With the LATCH, his mouth massages the top of the teat to draw milk out, and I could see the accordion movement of the teat, which mimics the tugging/drawing of the milk from the breast. The softness of the teat also meant that it complements the rotational teat to prevent gaps between the latch and the mouth. What I did also notice was that he was using his fingers to knead the sides of the teat of the LATCH, which is what he does with my boobs when nursing #TMI I know.

pre-bedtime EBM feed. Noms.

pre-bedtime EBM feed. Noms.

There is THAT much room on it and it was something he never did on the TT bottles. Haha. And he was damn possessive of the LATCH lar!! I cannot hold it else he will pull it away from me and lift it over his head. WTH. Brat alert.

Washing it was a breeze with the bottle and teat brush.

Using the brush with silicon bristles at the top.

Using the brush with silicon bristles at the top.

Before you go on and ask, “how on earth am I going to wash that valve at the bottom of the bottle??” Fret not. It is removable for easy washing. And here is using the teat brush on the teat and the valve. The good thing about the teat brush is that it widens slightly at the base of the brush so that you can’t push the brush through the valve, so that you can’t tear open the valve and cause any damage.

teat brush on teat and valve

teat brush on teat and valve

As a mom, wind/gas/air has gotta be one of the major worries (on top of “is he eating enough??”) when it comes to feeding problems. That, followed by poop. Moms spend time burping their babies. A LOT of time, just to hear that tiny “urp” from bubs, so that they are all comfy and happy. Happy baby, happy parents.

Functionality wise, the LATCH ticks all boxes. And make sure you empty the box! There is a storage lid hidden at the bottom with the manual and I almost missed it!

Design wise. Hrm. A few questions that came to mind, mostly about the valve. So it is a great anti-colic valve, and it sits at the bottom of the bottle. That in itself is my dilema. How secure is it to prevent leakage in the bag? And how many removal does it take before it gets loose?

The other question that came to mind was warming the bottle up. You either have a bottle warmer, or cheapskates like me will just use a bowl of hot water and put the bottle in there. So since fluids won’t leak out of the valve (or would it?), what about fluids going in? I mean, wouldn’t water go into the bottle via the valve? So I tested it with Ribena, once in the bottle and one in the bowl of hot water, so see if the water would colour.

Both times, the water in the bowl was hot, so I would have expected the valve to perhaps open a little due to expanding air pressure within the bottle or something. Firstly, Ribena in the LATCH in a bowl of clear hot water. Wait 10 mins. Water in bowl did not colour. Secondly, normal water in the LATCH in a bowl of hot Ribena. Wait 10 mins. The water in the bottle did not colour either. So that is good news. But that is also not to say that germs/bacteria would not pass through the valve, as it is an opening after all. It is still not the end of the world, considering most of us store our BM in either storage bottles or milk bags. We can always warm the storage bottles or bags first before pouring into the LATCH. See, problem solved!

Even more importantly, is the valve replaceable? Unfortunately, the valve is not replaceable at present. If it breaks, you would have to buy a new bottle. Nick however mentioned that it is something they are looking into, hopefully being able to offer a replacement valves in the near future.

The other accessory complementing the LATCH series of products is the bottle dryer catered for the LATCH accessories.

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FAQs

Can I use a microwave steriliser to sterilise the parts?
Yes, the parts are microwave safe. I have used the Tommee Tippee Microwave Steriliser to sterilise the parts (on high for 4 mins) and none of them have warped. 

Where can I find the Munchkin LATCH range of products?
Munchkin’s LATCH range of products can be found at Takashimaya, Isetan, Kiddy Palaces and major department stores. You can also find them at the following upcoming fairs: 1) Takashimaya B2 Baby Fair and at the Baby Market from 10 – 12th April 2015

How much are the bottles and accessories?
At the product launch, the prices can be found here

Who can I contact if I have any issues with the products?
You can contact Infantino’s customer service hotline at 6272 4628 ( Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.30pm )

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary set of the Munchkin LATCH bottle and bottle brush to write this review. All opinions are solely mine and are written as objectively as possible.

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