“ Brand: Boots / Nursing Aid: Sterilisers „
Although my son is now well over two years old, a couple of minor health problems means I still occasionally sterilise his bottles and feeding equipment - not every day or even every month, but a recurring gastric reflux issue (not serious and it tends only to happen now when he's under the weather) combined with the fact that he suffers with horrible febrile convulsions when he's ill makes me ultra concerned about keeping tummy bugs in particular at bay. This is hard when you have four children as illnesses tend to rip around all of us really quickly, but I've found sterilising David's stuff does help to prevent him from coming down with anything that is likely to land him in hospital.
This is the steriliser I bought while pregnant with David; I used a microwave one too but it was a massive faff compared to this cold water steriliser, so when I stopped sterilising his bottles on a regular basis I decided to get rid of the awkward (and awkwardly shaped for storage) microwave steriliser and keep this one. My Boots cold water steriliser was used pretty much constantly throughout the first twelve months of David's life, I had a brief dalliance with an Avent electric steamer but after a week of that particular nightmare I went back to the old fashioned method of Milton mixed with water.
First thing first. The shape. Completely weird and took weeks of getting used to before I learned how to arrange everything in order to make the most of the space available. It has a wavy shape, which is perfect for holding six of the slimmer baby bottles but means I can only sterilise three of the fatter wide-neck Avent bottles I've always used for David. This isn't an issue for me now as he drinks mainly from a cup these days, but I found it awkward when he was a baby as I'm pretty old school when it comes to looking after the kids and continued to make up his days bottles of SMA in batches rather than 'as needed' which is the current (bizarre) recommendation. Most days he'd have six bottles of milk throughout the day and evening and this meant I had to do his sterlising in two stages as his bottles physically wouldn't all fit in there at the same time - if I was sterilising dummies or his spoons too I'd sometimes have to spend up to an hour waiting for the items to finish sterilising so I could complete my job of making up his milk powder! Nuisance Boots, big nuisance.
Using the steriliser is easy, you simply fill with cold tap water to the clearly marked line and drop in your sterilising tablets or fluid. You don't need to stir it, if you're using tablets you need to let them fully dissolve before popping your bottles in and let them soak in the water for a while. The length of time they need to be immersed is down to the brand of tablets/fluid you're using so check the instructions carefully, the Boots branded tablets I use take twenty minutes to fully sterilise a load of items and this is about average in my experience. An important point when using this or any other cold water steriliser is that you need to ensure there are no air bubbles trapped inside the bottles or teats as the sterilising water won't be doing its job in those areas, a quick shake of the items as you pop them into the water is usually enough but I can't emphasise how important this is as the tiniest microbe of stale milk can breed germs which could be deadly to a newborn.
The plastic grid used to ensuring the items stay under the water is ideal; it fits perfectly into the oddly shaped steriliser and is perfectly weighted to sit an inch or two below the surface so that even the most buoyant bottle won't pop itself out of the water and into the germ filled air. It's surprisingly easy to clean too considering how ridged and moulded it is, I suppose because it comes into contact with nothing but clean bottles and water and doesn't ever seem to have a speck of dirt on it. The lid isn't very tight fitting and this annoys me as it's shaped to make you think it's going to click into place but really it just kind of rests on the top of the steriliser - it doesn't feel at all stable and even now after over two years of use I still expect it to fit more securely than it does.
I've always been in the habit of washing my steriliser out daily but this isn't really necessary if your little one has a more robust constitution than David, and probably wasn't even necessary for him truth be told. A quick rub over with washing up liquid and boiling water has kept the steriliser looking as good as new despite a huge amount of use, and when I stop feeling the need to sterilise for David then I'm positive it'll be passed along to one of the currently developing bumps in my family. It takes up masses of room on the draining board after washing but the 'unique' shape makes it quite compact when all put together and in use on the work surface; I'd recommend it for people with small kitchens as the steriliser can be popped into any gap really, our kitchen isn't huge but I can always easily make space for it simply by shifting the George Foreman across a couple of inches. Compared to the gigantic footprint of the Avent steam steriliser it's positively tiny!
Included with the steriliser are three Boots branded skinny bottles with lids and locking rings, a small pair of plastic tongs and a teat brush. These accessories were all great, David didn't use the bottles himself as I've favoured Avent (or occasionally Tommee Tippee) bottles for all of my children but I passed them on to a friend and she used them with her baby for quite a while. I still have the tongs and they still work well, but the teat brush wasn't used for long before the bristles went flat and I returned to my tried and tested (but also Boots) bottle brush with integrated teat brush. I seem to recall a sample sized pack of sterilising tablets were also included, but I'm not 100% sure about that as I purchased a stock at the same time as the steriliser.
One thing I like about using this steriliser now, at an age where I shouldn't really be having to sterilise anything of Davids, is that when it's not in use it can be used to store his miscellaneous plastic items - teat-less bottles, unused cups, cutlery oddments and the like. This is great as I hate the mess of this sort of stuff lying around the kitchen and loose in drawers so it's a big bonus to me compared to other styles of steriliser.
This cold water steriliser and it's various accessories currently sells for £14.99 (it was £2 cheaper when I bought it in late 2010) which I think is a bargainous price for something which has lasted so long AND is still in exactly the same condition as when I first bought it. The fact that it comes with three bottles adds to the value for money aspect considering the price of bottles at the moment, but even without the bottles I wouldn't hesitate to purchase again if I had another baby - or actually this one here would be perfectly fine to use again as it's still in such amazingly clean condition. The best aspect for me at the moment is that it really has helped David to avoid a lot of the stomach bugs which has plagued our family over this cold snap; at one point we all had it apart from Alice (who has the constitution of an ox) and David, which is pretty impressive considering the rest of us all fell ill within less than twenty-four hours of one another - I'd sensed it coming when Hollie complained of 'sticky poo' so immediately started sterilising anything that was likely to go into David's mouth, that combined with regular hand washing and good hygiene practices kept him safe. And me safe from the projectile vomiting he's so good at sometimes...
Highly recommended for any new or soon-to-be mums.
As a pregnant woman, as soon as you walk into a baby shop you're bombarded with marketing that implicitly tells you 'If you don't buy X product then you're a bad parent'. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in terms of the many different sterilisers available (microwave, steam or cold water, madam?). The Boots cold water steriliser sits right at the bottom end of the market in terms of cost: it's not really any more complicated than a bucket and costs £13.99 including a range of accessories (three wide necked 250ml bottles - all of which it can hold on one go - and teats, a brush, an easy drain lid).
Clear, rectangular and bucket like, there isn't really very much to it (but I didn't have the confidence to just buy a bucket -- maybe next time!).
You basically need to give the bottles a bit of a rinse and brush before popping them into the steriliser as a means of getting rid of any milk residue. When ready top up with cold water and add a single sterilising tablet (these are available for £1.39 for 64 for Boots own brand or Milton £1.49 for 20) or fluid (Milton £1.99 for 500ml).
Leave for 15-20 minutes and all bacteria, fungi and spores are killed: it's the method used in hospitals for its reliability. The fluid remains sterile for 24 hours which is a major bonus as you can just take a bottle out as and when you need it, making it extremely convenient.
The other major plus point as far as I'm concerned is that it doesn't need an energy supply: it's quite possible to pop the steriliser, a tablet and a 2litre bottle of water in the car and know that you can produce sterile bottles.
Milton sell an alternative, slightly larger (more square) blue bucket which has the advantages of being big enough to fit in breast pump parts (which can be a bit of a squeeze with this one). It also has an intermediate lid which holds bottles down into the solution, stopping them from floating off and away from the solution. However at £2 more expensive and lacking any of the accessories of this one, it's probably not neccessary for most new Mums (and again.... a bucket might make as much sense!)
When I was pregnant with my twins of course I had to make sure I had everything ready to keep their bottles clean as you can probably imagine I was due to go through hell of a lot of bottles everyday and night. I opted for this one, the Boots Cold Water Steriliser, I bought 2 both for just under £20 at the time and the 2 of them probably come to the same price as one of the more fancy ones would.
It is a very easy way of ensuring my boys bottles were sterilised, and suitable for use. Not only did I just get the sterilisers they each came with 6 Boots bottles, which I used right up until my boys were 8months old. Each also came with six sterilising tablets, teat tongs (which are used to pick up the teats and put them in rather than using your hands and a teat cleaner which is designed to get right into the tiniest part of the teat to give it a thorough clean. I was very impressed.
Now I say they were easy to use, it's true, they were extremely easy! It was a case of filling each steriliser up with cold water, and dropping in 2 sterlising tablets ... I either used Milton or Boots own sterilising tablets. My mum told me to use Milton as that's what she used when I was younger, but for nearly £2 for a box of 24 tablets which didn't last very long really I opted for the Boots own more often as it was just over £1.20 for 64 Tablets, a BIG difference! The longest I would leave them for was 10/12 hours, depending on if the sterilising water got very dirty or not.
The bottles did actually come out gleaming afterwards, but I always washed them in boiling hot water from the kettle before placing them in the steriliser anyway. Nobody told me to do this I think I just done it for my own peace of mind. I found these sterilisers to be quick and very convenient, I had no problems during my 12months of using them and I would definitely buy them again if I have another brood! Can't reccomend them enough! Especially if you are looking for something quick and convenient, I had 2 very damanding babies who needed .. or should I say wanted bottles THERE and THEN and didn't I know it so these were perfect for me.
Boots Cold Water Steriliser will hold upto six standard neck bottles or alternatively three wide necked bottles. Comes complete with slow flow silicone teats.