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A smart bottle warmer designed for self-care

Duration: 10 weeks (SPR 2019)

In collaboration with Terrene Huang

DESIGN 318: Intermediate Industrial Design Studio

Roles: UX Researcher, UI/UX Designer, Industrial Designer

Tools: Adobe XD, Keyshot

Context & Problem Space
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Challenges during Motherhood

With their new bundle of joy as their primary focus, new mothers do not frequently prioritize time to care for their own health and recovery, with the belief that it can be selfish. However, as the mother prioritizes time and care for herself, she is more able to meet the needs of her child. The task of feeding newborns is crucial to a mother-child relationship, as it’s a natural time for bonding and nurturing.

How might we encourage new parents to integrate self-care into their newborn’s feeding schedule?


Product Features

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Interface Features

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Image by Kelly Sikkema


NurtureU allows parents to prepare bottles hands-free in the midst of their busy parenting routines, with the help of a predictive feeding schedule. It also encourages parents to take advantage of feeding time to mentally reset themselves through hands-free relaxing audio, without needing to worry about being away from their child.


Competitive Market Analysis

We performed a competitive analysis on several leading bottle warmer products in the current market to see what features were important to parents and what features these current products were lacking.

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Market Research

To explore where our product could fit in the current market, we organized existing bottle warming products across a matrix, labelled using our findings in the competitive analysis grid (above).

We found that we'd like to explore bottle warmer designs that were 

  • low maintenance

  • multi-purpose (scheduled feeding reminders, mindfulness)

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User Research


We recorded 25+ responses from parents through Google surveys.


We learned that most parents struggled with self-care during their transition into parenthood.

Many also like to use music to calm down their crying babies, most likely due to the hands-free experience and low effort needed to play music.

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User Journey of Feeding Newborns for Parents

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Megan, first time mother-to-be

Core Needs:

  • Care for Mia, her 3 month old baby girl

  • Adapting to a new lifestyle of parenthood

  • Physical & Mental Recovery from childbirth

“I feel selfish at times if I take time to myself when I feel I should be putting more into my child. But I know that when I’m not taking care of myself, I can’t give my best to my child.”

Image by Kelly Sikkema
Problem Framing
Problem Framing
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Baby as the Priority

Parents have little time for themselves

Design Insights

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When babies cry, that is the cue for parents to begin prepping food. For some, this means the baby has been hungry for a while already

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Growing Stress

Bottle heating feels like it takes forever, especially with a crying baby

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Encourage Self-care

Utilize baby's feeding time to reset the mind

Design Principles

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Discover patterns in the baby's feeding schedule

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Peace of Mind

Countdown to feeding time can reduce parent's uneasiness

How might we encourage new parents to integrate self-care into their newborn’s feeding schedule?

Ideation & Prototyping
Ideation & Prototyping

Early Ideation

Early bottle warmer sketches explored features that were seen in popular bottle warmers as well as features that have not yet been explored in the current market.

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Early Prototyping

Prototyping with basic blue foam and a baby bottle allowed us to explore basic interactions and experiment with the product's scale. The main takeaways from this step was to make the screen more angled to reduce wrist discomfort and to add greater volume to house the bottle warming components.



After critique, prototyping, and manufacturing considerations, we combined the features of early sketches (transparent lid, round shape, and clear display) and prototype takeaways into one refined design.

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Design Solution
Design Solution

Song Credits: You Are Mine by Secret Nation feat. Holley Maher

This video is meant for demonstration purposes only. No copyright infringement intended. All music rights belong to their respective owners.

Design Features


Safe Heating

Auto shut-off and a clear display allows parents to focus on comforting their babies without the fear of overheating or burns, as their bottle heats in a warm water bath


Encourages Relaxation

Easily accessible audio relaxation allows parents to de-stress hands-free, while staying by their baby's side



The predictive feeding schedule offers parents peace of mind as they will be reminded and prepared for the next time their baby is hungry

User Journey with NurtureU

Feeding newborns can be highly stressful when your hands are full, trying to prepare milk and addressing a crying infant at the same time.


NurtureU is here to automate the bottle warming process so that parents can focus more on their babies during the waiting period. Once the baby is full, parents can utilize this downtime to reset their minds.

Final Prototype

Reflection & Takeaways
Reflection & Takeaways

The ups

This was my first ever smart-product design project that allowed me to practice both my ID and UI/UX skills. I was excited to explore a new design medium and practiced designing UI to fit within a product's physical form.

The downs

We initially felt quite lost on ways to promote relaxation in parents without being parents ourselves. In early ideation stages, we thought we could encourage self-care through yoga or exercise. Through interviews, we learned with any spare time parents had (if they even had any) would be used to nap/sleep. There was no time, place, or equipment for large activities such as yoga or exercise. Therefore we decided to include music as a relaxation feature, as it was handsfree and easy to use.

Moving Forward

When displaying this project at the UW Industrial Design junior showcase, one parent suggested we explore implementing an auto or default heating feature to minimize the need for inputs when prepping the bottle for future iterations.

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