“ Brand: Fisher Price / Type: Electric Steam Steriliser for baby bottles / Rapidly reaches 100 degrees / 35 minute sterilisation cycle „
When I was expecting my first child, I had no intention of buying a steriliser or bottles as I was absolutely determined to breastfeed. Strangely however, I received a very large parcel in the post one day- an electric Fisher-Price SteriMAX steam steriliser which I was informed I'd won in a competition. At this point I was going through a spell of entering competitions for pretty much anything, so I was half happy that I'd at least won something and half disappointed that it was something I didn't think I'd get any use from. Anyway, I told myself that it might come in handy if at some point I wanted to express milk and give my husband the chance to feed the baby now and then. Otherwise I was happy to see that it retailed for over £50 so I knew I could probably sell it on for a decent price in its unused condition.
As it happened, breastfeeding didn't go quite as I'd expected and I was advised within days of Elliot's birth to top up his feeds with formula. After a week of attempting cup feeds and no improvement on the breastfeeding front, we decided the time had come to use a bottle and mix feed so I was very glad to already have my freebie steriliser ready for use.
Fisher-Price is probably not the first brand that comes to mind when considering baby feeding equipment- like many people I had always associated them with producing toys, bouncers and walkers so I was quite surprised to find out that they also manufactured their own line of feeding items. The steriliser itself and the box it came in certainly fitted in with the fisher-price style and had a cheery, colourful look to it as opposed to other sterilisers on the market, which tend to appear more functional and clinical. The packaging itself is a box made from strong, sturdy cardboard and has a picture of the steriliser on the front, along with its various benefits and features. On the one side of the box is a picture of a woman in her kitchen, happily sterilising her bottles and on the other side is a step by step picture guide to using the product. The top of the box has a strong plastic handle, which we found very useful in the early weeks for transporting on weekends away. The instructions on the side are also a great idea for those fuzzy brained early newborn days when you might need to refer them quickly without hunting for bits of paper.
In my opinion, the actual steriliser is quite nice looking (as far as sterilisers go!) and is mostly an opaque turquoise blue with a white base and lid. The circular base is made of strong, durable feeling plastic and houses a metal heating element. A cable and plug run from the back of the base and on the front is an oval shaped LED timer display, next to which is a small grey semi-circular on/off switch. Underneath the display and switch is a long, thin light which glows red whilst the steriliser is working and green once it has finished and is cool enough to handle. On top of the base are a series of holes, which allow the steam to move upwards. On top of the base, lies the main body of the steriliser, which is a bucket shaped piece of turquoise plastic with holes in the base and seven upwards prongs, over which you place your bottles. This easily secures to the base by lining up two little red markers and turning it anti-clockwise until the top red marker reaches a red 'lock' figure. On top of this sits a circular tray secured to the main body by slotting into a notch, again with a perforated base and a handle in the middle, which is intended for smaller items such as teats, bottle rings and dummies. Finally, the lid notches on the very top and has a plastic white and turquoise handle. The whole item looks to be strong and sturdy and is very simple to fit together in minutes.
The operation of the steriliser is also very easy- you're provided with a small jug which measures the exact amount of water needed and you just pour the water directly into the base. You then pop the rest of the parts on top with all the items you want sterilised inside, make sure the lid is on and press the on switch. The LED timer counts down from nine minutes and when the cycle is finished, shows a flashing 'H' for hot, with the light underneath glowing red. Once it has cooled down sufficiently (the whole process takes roughly 15 minutes), the light changes to green and you can take the bottles out without scalding yourself. To empty it, you simply detach everything from the base and pour the leftover water in the base away.
Included with the steriliser is a very useful starter set, including a high quality bottle brush, (still going strong 18 months later) a pair of tongs for getting the bottles out whilst they're still hot, a key like device for lifting out the tray if it's too hot to touch, two bottles and a trainer cup from the fisher-price 'animals of the rainforest' range and two extra medium flow teats. I didn't actually use the bottles included until some time later as we found Dr. Browns bottles were better, however you can fit up to seven wide or narrow neck bottles in the steriliser (only five of the Dr Browns type though.) One thing I really have to praise fisher-price on is the innovative coloured teat system on their bottles- each different flow is subtly tinged in different colours which makes telling them apart so much easier than straining to make out the tiny numbers on most teats.
As with most electric sterilisers, the whole unit does get very hot so you have to be quite careful with what you're doing in the kitchen whilst it's on. The steam escapes from a vent in the back of the lid and I've nearly scalded the skin off my arm a few times trying to reach over it (my own fault for doing too many things at once!) Because of this, you also might want to think carefully about where in the kitchen to put it in case the steam is likely to cause any damage to wallpaper etc. Apparently this particular steriliser has been developed to heat up more quickly and to a higher temperature than others, which it claims kills more bacteria and germs (This they say has been tested against other leading manufactures and independently verified as being the safest and hottest sterilisation cycle.) Having only owned the one, I can't really compare it to other makes- Elliot has had a pretty healthy first year and has had only one tummy bug so it seems to have done its job.
I think the only minus point I can give this product is its price- if I hadn't won it I don't think I'd have been looking to pay upwards of £50 for a steriliser (currently £56.16 in Argos) as there are far cheaper makes on the market. However if you can get hold of one on sale or for less, I'd highly recommend it as being easy to use and providing great peace of mind that you've got rid of all those germs!