Any parent who has used powder formula to feed their baby knows that measuring the formula, making sure the water is clean and at room temperature, and mixing the formula and water is a challenging task. Especially when it is 3 a.m., and you have a hungry, screaming baby in your arms. Piena is a new gadget that basically takes some of the hassle out of mixing baby formula.
Developed by a husband and wife team who are both former engineers at Samsung, Piena is a freestanding formula mixer and water purifier. As one blogger writes, it’s the Keurig of formula mixing.
The mixer itself looks a lot like a coffee maker — you simple plug it into an outlet. There are separate compartments for water and for the formula. You can put up to 24 oz. of formula into the container and the patented freshness seal guarantees the powder stays fresh and dry for up to four weeks. You can then fill the water reservoir with up to 8 oz. of water, and you place the bottle under the dispenser.
When you hit the on button, the water will come to a boil within 60 seconds, and then the water is cooled to near body temperature and automatically dispensed into the bottle. The water sterilization process is a concern for some parents (the World Health Organization does advise parents to boil water). If you live in an area where your water is relatively safe and clean, then you don’t really have to be concerned about its quality. But in many areas of the world, water isn’t clean and this 60-second water purification process that Piena provides could be particularly useful to parents.
After the sterilization water is dispensed into the bottle, you turn the wheel on the formula reservoir to dispense the right amount of baby formula powder into the bottle. One wheel turn equals 2 oz. of formula, we’re told.
While the gadget itself doesn’t provide completely hands-free formula mixing, it does make the entire process that much easier, especially when it comes to sterilizing water. And all of the parts are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
In terms of the competition, there are many hand-held mixers on the market, and a few high-powered mixers similar to Piena, but Piena promises complete water sterilization and cooling down in one.
While I think the gadget could save sleep-deprived parents some time and energy, my biggest complaint with Piena is its price. Right now Piena, which is still in production mode, is retailing for around $150 on Indiegogo. For parents who spend hundreds of dollars on strollers, swings and more, that price may not be as steep, but for most of the world $150 is a stretch. I see this gadget being incredibly useful to international markets where water quality is a real concern. Compounded with the high cost of formula, the cost of the Piena may disqualify many of the parents who need the mixer the most.
While Piena, which is part of Strong Ventures’ incubator, is only available on Indiegogo for now, the company is currently in talks with retailers to include in stores and online.