The baby and toddler market is one of the largest in the world and with so many products and so much advice available it can be difficult making an informed decision. One product that is an important consideration to new mothers who are bottle feeding their new-born baby is bottle sterilizers. If you are unfamiliar with them you may be wondering how they work and which one is best. Do you even need to use one? Hopefully I can answer these questions here.
As a new mother you may decide that you will be bottle feeding from birth, through choice or through necessity. In either case you must now consider which bottles you will be using and which bottle sterilizer you will use. A sterilizer is necessary in order to completely kill off bacteria that may be present on anything that goes into your baby’s mouth; pacifiers, bottle teats, nipple shields. All these things can pick up bacteria and micro-organisms.
When a baby is born it has a very weak immune system, if any at all. They cannot produce the cells required that kill off infection and bacteria. Therefore, anything that goes into their mouths should be clean and as much as possible sterilized. As a baby develops through its first 12 months its immune system gets stronger and eventually (usually around a year old) it can take care of itself. The concern in the first year is that if bacteria or a bug gets into your baby’s system the result could easily be conditions such as gastroenteritis and thrush. Both can be very serious for a young baby and cause dehydration. This is why a sterilizer is necessary.
There are different methods of sterilization that suit different people. Most use very hot water or steam to clean and sterilize baby products. There is an obvious risk of scalding or burns to both parent and child when hot water is a factor. You can use cold water in a basin or tub instead, though. Sterilizing tablets can be dissolved into water and products left submerged for about 30 minutes. This is safe but takes longer, although the water only needs changing once every 24 hours so a rolling cycles is possible whereby you remove a clean bottle and replace it with a used one.
Steam sterilizers are used in a microwave and do not need much water at all. The small amount of water poured into them produces steam when heated for around 5 – 8 minutes. Hot steam is probably the best way to sterilize things but there is a risk of scalding if care is not taken when removing the lid. Microwave sterilizer bags are also an option if a microwave is available. These are a good idea if traveling as they fold down into a very small space. They only hold up to two bottles but can be re-used many times.
Electric sterilizers work in a similar way to food steamers. Water is poured inside and a heating element, powered by an electrical socket is generates steam. The steam fills the inside of the product and cleans everything it touches. Again these take around 5 – 8 minutes but include useful features like timers and alarms to let you know they are done. Of course there is always the good old fashioned method of boiling a pan of water and cleaning items in that. It will take a lot longer but is just as effective albeit less convenient.
So you see now that infant feeding bottles must be cleaned thoroughly before being put near a baby’s mouth. If they are not then you run the very real risk of making your baby sick. Whilst many parents simply don’t bother, relying on good old soap and water, you are urged to use a sterilizer of some kind. It will give your new-born baby the best chance of a healthy development and give you peace of mind as a new parent.