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Buyer's Guide: Sterilizers

Buyer's Guide: Sterilizers

Milk is a fertile breeding ground for bacteria, and sterilization helps to keep your feeding accessories clean and safe, protecting your baby against harmful infection. This sterilization process kills germs hiding between plastic folds and valves of bottles and feeding accessories, and in those hard to clean areas.

Of course, a tub of hot water will work out pretty fine as a traditional sterilization method, but this method often neglects the nooks and crannies where bacteria will accumulate, so additional time and effort is needed for proper sterilization. Many sterilizers today are able to handle not just bottles, but feeding accessories and utensils as well, so a sterilizer may be a good investment for your child’s first years.

 

what’s available

electric sterilizer

Electric sterilizers are simple to operate, and kill bacteria using high temperature steam. Simply pop the feeding accessories into the sterilizer, plug it into the wall, and let it run. Electric sterilizers take an average of 6 - 15 minutes to get the job done, and depending on the model you have, can keep items sterile for up to 24 hours with the lid closed.

microwave steam sterilizer

Microwave steam sterilizers work on the same principle as the electric sterilizers, except that they utilize high energy microwaves to generate hot steam from water. On average, this process takes 5 - 8 minutes to complete, and the items can remain sterile for up to 24 hours with the lid closed. Note that you’ll need a household microwave to do the sterilization. Always let the sterilizer cool down to a safe temperature before removing the lid, and take care not to place metallic items into the microwave.

UV light sterilizer

This sterilizer utilizes high-intensity UV light to blast away bacteria, with a reported efficiency of up to 99.9%. The key benefit of this sterilizer is it’s eliminate harmful bacteria on items that cannot be sanitized conveniently with high heat or moisture, such as electronic toys and plastics. These sterilizers are more expensive than the standard options, so be prepared to fork out a little bit more.

 

refine your choice

Sterilizers come in all shapes and sizes, with capacities ranging from 2 to 8 bottles. Wide-necked bottles will require more space than standard bottles. Each sterilizer has its own pros and cons, so select one which will suit your lifestyle needs.

lifestyle considerations

    • Breast or Formula: If your baby is largely formula fed, then they’ll run through many bottles a day. An electric or microwave sterilizer will be perfect, since they can sterilize a large number of bottles within a short period of time. For breastfeeding moms, you may not need a sterilizer initially, but if you intend to express and store your milk, a sterilizer will be handy to clean up the bottles and pump parts.
    • Travel Frequency: All three sterilizers require a power source to operate. However, microwave steam sterilizers can double-up as a cold water sterilizer, which involves submerging your baby bottles in water with sterilizing tablets or liquid, and keeping the lid shut.
    • Stage: Younger babies have a milk-only diet, but as they grow older and progress to solid foods, the need to sterilize milk bottles becomes less. Depending on your child’s dietary development stage, choose a sterilizer that has a capacity to match your sterilization needs.

 

features to look for

    • Alarms and Signals: Look for an alarm or signal feature to let you know when the sterilizer is hot, or when sterilization is complete. This allows you to multi-task while waiting for the sterilizer to do its work.
    • Automated: Some sterilizers perform automatic sterilization on contents every few hours, or every time the lid is opened and then closed, so you’ll always know that the feeding accessories are safe for your baby.
    • Accessories: These additions will give you more control and versatility in using the sterilizer. An accessory tray will be useful for sterilizing feeding utensils and breast pump parts, while extra compartments can give you the flexibility to sanitize bottles of all shapes and sizes, even those from other bottle brands.

 

 

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