What are sterilisers?
OK, so a steriliser isn’t the most glamorous product you’ll be buying for your baby, but it is one of the most important – even if you’re breastfeeding, and only expressing occasionally.
That’s because dangerous germs and bacteria love a warm, milky environment, so it’s vital to sterilise all feeding accessories and your breast pump.
It’s recommended you keep sterilising feeding equipment until your baby is a year old – including any bottles or sippy cups used for juice.
There are 3 types of steriliser you can buy:
- Cold water
Which steriliser is right for you?
Each system has its pros and cons – it’s really up to your lifestyle and budget:
Cold water steriliser
- The cheapest method: you can either buy a special cold water unit or use any strong plastic tub or bucket with a lid. Then all you need are sterilising tablets or liquid to add to the water – and you’re ready to add the bottles. They need to stay submerged for 15-30 minutes (depending on brand, see label for precise time) then they are ready to use. With some brands you will need to rinse the bottles to prevent a nasty taste, but with others you don’t. You can re-use the solution multiple times over 24 hours, and items in the solution stay sterile for 24 hours.
Pros: Cheap; good for travelling when there’s no electricity/microwave; you can keep chucking things in over 24 hours; don’t have to wait for bottles to cool down.
Cons: Rinsing can be a pain; bulky tub takes up kitchen space.
Electric steriliser - These kill bacteria with steam and plug in at the wall; most take 6 bottles and the cycle takes around 5-10 minutes depending on the brand. Bottles will stay sterilised for 24 hours if the lid is kept closed. Most units are around £50-£60.
Pros: No chemicals; quick and easy.
Cons: Expensive; descaling the unit (every 2 weeks in hard water areas); need plug socket; takes up worktop space.
Microwave steriliser -
Uses steam just like electric units, but these fit inside your microwave. Cycles often take 4-8 minutes, and units usually hold fewer bottles because they are smaller than electric sterilisers. Contents remain sterile for 24 hours if lid kept closed. Most cost around £20-£28. Some double up as a cold water steriliser when travelling.
Pros: Compact so you can put away when not using; quick and easy.
Cons: No metal; holds fewer bottles; need a microwave!
How much will a steriliser cost?
Cold water sterilisation is the cheapest: a unit will cost around £15 but you can use any plastic tub with a lid and just buy the sterilising tablets. Electric units generally cost £50-£60 and microwave units come in a bit cheaper at £20-£28.
Top tips for buying a steriliser
- Consider how often you’ll use it before buying. Breastfeeding mums will have it running less often than bottlefeeding mums, who will get through 6-8 bottles a day.
- If buying electric/microwave, check your brand of bottles fit in the unit you’ve chosen. Wide-necked and anti-colic bottles take up more space.
Ready to buy?
Take a look at some of the popular sterilisers below.
Philips Avent 3 in 1 Steriliser
RRP: £59.95 - Buy now
This versatile steam steriliser can accommodate different sizes of bottles and accessories, and you can even use its size for easy kitchen storage.
- natural steam sterilisation kills 99.9% harmful germs without the need for chemicals
- fast six-minute cycle
- fits all bottle types
- BPA free
- space saving design – adjust it to suit your storage
- automatic power switch off when finished
What you get:
1 x 3-in-1 Steriliser
1 x Tongs
Why we love the Philips Avent 3 in 1 Steriliser ....
- it fits bottles, breast pumps and accessories, and toddler plates and cutlery
- space saving - we all know how much space baby kit takes up, so we love how this can be adjusted into three shapes to squeeze into your cupboards