What type of sterilisation is best for you?
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Why do we need to sterilise & how often?
When you become a parent, you are bombarded with information about keeping your baby safe. Crazy because your sole mission in life is to protect this precious little baby - It's all you want to do. I know how much you love your little one so I won't write why its necessary to sterilise items in baby's first year. Instead, I'll refer If you to read the official NHS Website sterilisation, then I'd suggest this Medela article for a step by step of 'how to' on washing parts and bottles thoroughly, then take a look at their FAQ: How often do I need to sterilise? They explain why sterilisation can take place once a day due to the naturally occurring antibacterial qualities of breast milk.
Remember to make a choice that makes you feel comfortable. No pressure here.
TIP: Get spare parts if you want to sterilise after each use - it'll save you so much time.
After getting a deeper understanding as to why you need to sterilise, to minimise risk of infections despite breastmilk's natural antibacterial qualities, I wanted to write about what types of sterilisation you can choose from. No doubt someone has already insisted you choose their favourite way but we will just say thank you for the advice and choose something that suits your family circumstances best.
Electric Steam Steriliser
They basically boil water at the base, which creates steam within the system for multiple minutes. This plug in device often has tiered storage which means multiple bottle/pump part capacity.
Tommee Tippee sell an electric steriliser which I've used for months. It's so easy to use; wash and rinse the bottles/pump parts, stack them in, pour 80ml of water and 5 mins later it's done! They even do an upgrade which dries them for you!
Fast Sterilisation Time
Handy measure line on TommeeTippee Bottles
Microwave Steam Steriliser
These are compact plastic sterilisers which usually have a circular storage area for bottles / pump parts. Pour in the small amount water needed, place the bottles and parts where needed and place in microwave where the steam will work it's magic.
I used Tommee Tippee microwave steam steriliser. Our previous home lacked counter and storage space so this compact design worked well as we could store it in the microwave when not in use! However it's capacity is smaller so we found we had to use it multiple times to get through all our feeding equipment.
Simple to use
Microwave Steriliser Bags
These are plastic bags which have been specially created to sterilise your feeding bottles and pump parts. They are ideal for travelling or on-the-go parents as they pack flat and require minimal set up. These often come in multi-packs as they can only be used a certain number of times.
I've used microwave steriliser bags from Boots. They're mega cheap £5 maybe and fit 2 or 3 bottles / a few parts each use. They were great for our weeks in Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital and another time when we went on a week away. You can pack them so easily and are so simple to use.
Perfect on-the-go item
Easy to store
Cold Water Steriliser Tablets
These tablets are designed to sterilise your bottles / parts in cold water, so ideal for when you don't have a kettle or pan available to boil water. However, note that they use chemicals to do so.
I've used Tesco steriliser tablets for cold water sterilisation. I needed them whilst staying at a hotel whilst our baby was operated on at GOSH (long story for another day). I'd say, these tabs are good if all you have is a bowl and cold water and no access to a microwave or cooker for boiling water. I preferred the idea of sterilising with steam over these so have only used them on occasions like this.
No power source needed
No heat needed
These products are made for ease of use. Have your bottles and parts washed and rinsed and use the spray to make them sterile. More and more brands are bringing them out with a variance of natural or chemical ingredients so be sure to take a look and see what you're comfortable with.
I received a bottle of Vital Baby Hygiene Spray from another momma who found out I was bottle feeding and what a handy gift it was. You wash the bottles as normal and then use the spray to sterilise. Simple as that. We found this really good for those odd times where you need one bottle cap or lid rather than a whole electric sterilisers' worth of items.
Easy to Use
A disposable way to clean your bottles & pumping equipment whilst out and about. The packet is small and can easily fit in your baby changing bag. Use and throw away. This pricier way to sterilise is similar to the one above but there's no risk of spraying a stranger or spilling mishaps. I've linked the Milton ones for you -as they've been recommended by many mum friends!
Lastly, UV sterilisers use specialised lamps which emit UVC radiation to essentially damage the DNA of micro bacteria which could be on the surface of feeding equipment. These are a more expensive device but require no chemicals, no water and therefore no descaling. This particular Vital Baby UV steriliser can dry, sterilise and store your bottles also includes 2 bottles.
No water or steam
No descaling needed
There are some bottles that self-sterilise. You'll add a little bit of water and pop them in the microwave and a few minutes later they are clean and ready to use.
I love my MAM sterilising bottles as they make going out and about so easy especially when visiting a friend or family members house. I just use their microwave and it's ready to use.
The main thing to take home from all of this, is to ensure you sterilise your breastmilk feeding equipment at least once every 24 hours. If you use any formula, remember to always sterilise before use. Now, you know the rules, you can see that there are many options on how to sterilise your products - even self-sterilising bottles exist! This guide was put together to help translate what can be a very overwhelming time. Now you've read this, think about what's most important to you - time? space or budget? and eliminate options from there.
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