There’s a saying about parenting by Elizabeth Stone: "Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."
And it’s absolutely spot-on. You never know real worry until you become a parent and will be amazed by the number of things there is to worry about, including whether or not you should sterilize baby’s bottles.
You’ll soon realize that babies can withstand a lot of things. But because their immune systems are still developing, they are vulnerable to infections, and that’s why it’s essential to have the best bottle sterilizer your budget allows.
The Best Bottle Sterilizer for Your Baby
What You Need to Know
Why Should You Use a Bottle Sterilizer?
As hard as you try, you’ll soon find out there’s not much you can do in the fight against germs and bacteria.
No matter how clean your home is, or how careful you are keeping your little one away from those nasty critters, babies are more prone to illness and disease.
Additionally, warm milk is also a breeding ground for bacteria, so it’s important to sterilize bottles, pacifiers, and latex or silicone nipples.
How Long Should You Sterilize Your Baby’s Bottle?
It is usually important during the first 12 months although some experts even suggest six months or as soon as your baby can put foreign objects in their mouth like your shoe, the dog’s tail or another baby’s pacifier.
But even then, sterilizing all the feeding equipment once in a while won’t do any harm.
What Can Happen if You Don’t Sterilize Bottles?
The fact is, babies can pick up germs and bacteria from pretty much anywhere.
But if there were an easy way for you to reduce the number of them, you would do it, wouldn’t you?
The formula contains milk as well as other ingredients that are breeding grounds for viruses and parasites; cleaning the bottles and nubs (or nipples) well will prevent any unnecessary illnesses.
An unsterilized bottle could be a death sentence for a baby. According to Patient.info, Gastroenteritis can cause vomiting, dehydration and if left untreated, death.
This is more prevalent in poorer countries where knowledge isn’t as commonplace and medical care not as readily available. We’re not immune to this, and that’s why it’s recommended to find the best bottle sterilizer for you little one.
How Does A Bottle Sterilizer Work?
The majority of sterilizers are simple to use. It’s a case of placing the bottle along with all the other bits into the sterilizer and switching on a button or putting it into a microwave, depending on the type you have.
Most are quick, can take a few bottles at a time and do the job well.
Different Ways of Sterilizing Baby Bottles
There are various ways to sterilize bottles, and any of these are effective. However, some are more convenient and less fuss.
1. Boiling water
Placing the bottles and nipples in boiling water for a few minutes is a tried and tested way of doing it. Most of us can easily try this at home.
However, the heat is often too extreme and can damage or melt the feeding equipment. Also, it can be messy, and the nipples get unusable quite quickly doing it this way.
This is the most common method and one that hospitals use most often.
You just need to place the items upside down in a container or chamber and leave the steam to do its thing. It’s quick, effective and is a gentle way of thoroughly cleaning the bottles and nubs.
This is probably the most powerful way of killing off any bacteria.
According to LiveScience, the radiation from the microwave and the heat from the steam work together to get rid of any pathogens, and they stay sterile for longer. The only thing downside is that, with this steaming method, you do need to have a microwave handy.
Tip for Saving Money
Getting a bottle sterilizer that takes standard and wide-necked bottles is more versatile. Also, one that has space for bowls and cups will come in handy during the weaning stages. You can sterilize teething rings and other toys in the bottle sterilizer too.
Best Bottle Sterilizer 2017: Our Top 5 Picks
There are many different brands available, and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which is the best bottle sterilizer in 2017 for you and your baby.
Here is our list; hopefully we’ve included something for everyone, from budget-friendly ones to a sterilizer for multiple bottles as well as one that sterilizes and dries.
The microwave steam sterilizer from Philips AVENT is a lightweight and compact sterilizer that is perfect for traveling.
It holds up to four Natural or Classic bottles at a time. Because it operates at a higher temperature than a dishwasher, it kills up to 99.9% of the harmful disease causing germs and bacteria.
From a safety point of view, the steamer has "stay-cool" safety grips and the safety clips keep the lid securely closed.
As far as using it goes, it’s quick and easy to use; simply add water and place in the microwave for two minutes. The power of your microwave creates a natural steam.
What we like about this particular steamer is that it can hold four 9-ounce or two 11-ounce Philips AVENT Classic or Natural bottles at full capacity. You can also sterilize pacifiers, non-metal items, and microwave safe baby items.
It fits into most microwaves, has a 1-year limited warranty and is, of course, BPA free.
- Value for money
- Trusted name with 1-year limited warranty
- Lightweight and compact
- Ideal for traveling
- Kills 99.9% of harmful bacteria in just 2 minutes
- You may think it's a little bulky
- Read the instructions; wait before opening the lid otherwise there is a chance you can burn your fingers
The Tommee Tippee Electric Steam Sterilizer has been made with parents in mind; it’s fast, easy to use and keeps all of your baby’s feeding equipment safe from harmful pathogens.
Because it’s a chemical free sterilizer, there’s no risk of dishwasher residue or detergent chemicals and keeps bottles, nipples and feeding accessories sterile for a full 24 hours if the lid stays closed.
The Electric Steam Sterilizer is very easy to use. You only need to push the button; an orange light indicates that it’s on. When the cycle is complete, it switches off.
Some of the features we especially like include the space-saving design. It’s easy to clean and store away, and the lid can be used as a sterile prepping surface.
You’ll also be pleased to hear that it comes with two Closer to Nature 5-ounce bottles, a formula dispenser, and nipple tongs.
- Compact and easy to store
- Sterilizes up to 6 bottles in 5 minutes
- The Closer to Nature range is an interchangeable system and can be used
- Only holds wide-neck or Closer to Nature bottles
- Can be fiddly to fit in bottles
You will quickly learn as a new parent that babies cost money, lots of it and if there’s a chance of saving a penny or two, you might want to jump at the chance.
The Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer does almost the same as all the others on the market, except it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles.
If you’re fine with that, then this is definitely worth considering. The Munchkin is inexpensive, sturdy and can accommodate different shapes and sizes of bottles. It travels well and also packs away quickly.
To use it, you simply put in 7 oz. of water, place the bottles inside, pop the lid on, lock it with the easy-to-snap clips and put it in the microwave. That’s it.
What we like about the Munchkin sterilizer is that it can fit bottles from different brands, which is a huge plus and it also fits into most microwave ovens.
This is an excellent option if your budget is a little tight, and the fact that it’s a workhorse adds to its appeal.
- Easy to use, compact and travels well
- Different shaped and sized bottles fit as well bottles from different manufacturers
- No bells or whistles
- Use with caution or you'll get burned by hot water
The electric steam sterilizer and dryer from Wabi is the first of its kind. It’s a 3-in-1 sterilizer that also hot air dries and stores the feeding equipment; understandably it’s a firm favorite for a lot of parents.
The BPA-free interior can fit up to eight standard baby bottles, and it has a smart sensor that boosts its functionality, works in 8-15 minutes cycles and has three drying choices.
Considering how "technologically advanced" it is, it’s surprisingly easy to use, and the PLUS version has newer and better features than the previous model.
We like that with a simple push of a button, your baby’s feeding equipment is sterilized and dried with FDA food grade approved material for a toxic-free environment.
The sleek design fits into small spaces, yet it can hold up to eight bottles, and you can spend more time with your baby rather than cleaning and drying bottles.
- BPA-free interior that holds up to 8 baby bottles
- High efficient sterilize & drying.
- Quick cleaning cycles
- Can store everything: feeding equipment, sippy cups, plastic toys...
- On the larger side
- More expensive than others
- Possible water leakage
There is quite a bit to like with the Philips AVENT 3-in-1 Electric Steam Sterilizer. You can adjust its size to fit in with space you have available, and you’re able to sterilize a few items at a time or do a full load.
Another huge plus is that the contents will stay sterile for up to 24 hours if the lid is kept closed. The sterilizer steams everything clean in a matter of minutes and can accommodate breast pumps, sippy cups, bottles, pacifiers, teethers, bowls and utensils.
The 3-in-1 steamer is easy to use; just plug it into a standard electrical outlet, add water to the base and switch it on. In as little as six minutes, the steamer has eliminated 99.9% of the disease-causing bacteria.
The AVENT 3-in-1 steamer is used in hospitals because of its efficacy and is also the preferred steamer for busy parents who want to effectively clean and sterilize everything from bottles and breast pumps right through to teething rings and toys.
- Compact and portable
- Easy to use
- Sterilizes quickly
- Kills 99.9% of harmful germs and bacteria in 6 minutes
- Hard to clean for some
- Your baby may not like the taste after sterilizing
Have You Chosen Your Favorite Yet?
At the end of the day, the product and brand you choose is very much a personal choice that comes down to what you need, how you need it done and how much you can or want to pay.
What works for one household very well might not be the ideal solution for another. But with the vast range to choose from, you’re bound to find something you like. In case you're still confused, I strongly recommend the Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer, which is very affordable and super easy to use.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. It would be my pleasure to hear from you.