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Milton sterilising unit
In the overwhelming world of baby equipment one item that I was assured was an absolute must have was some form of steriliser, because young baby's need the extra protection against any nasty germs that may be lingering around. When I attended my series of antenatal classes at my local maternity unit I didn't really get much out of the overall experience that I did not already know. But one of the things that I will always remember taking away from the classes is discovering the Milton cold water sterilising unit - something up until that point I had never heard of.
So what exactly is the Milton cold water sterilising unit? Essentially, it is just a big plastic tub that holds 5 litres of water with marks on the outside indicating 5 litres so there is no need for guess work. And has an internal plastic insert that you remove before placing items into the water and then put on top so all the items are pushed down into the water. The weighted grid insert does come in handy for smaller items such as dummies that might just want to float on top as well as keeping all the other items firmly in place.
Personally, I have found that you can store quite a lot in the steriliser, on an average day in the Inchy household we have all the parts for my electric breast pump, at least three bottles with teats and caps, four soothers and some other milk storage pots and a bottle brush. The Steriliser unit can look a little cluttered but everything fits in and it's easy to retrieve what you want when you want it.
The steriliser is really simple to use, all you need to do is wash anything you want to put in it first in hot soapy water then transfer into the already filled unit. Then simply drop a tablet into the water and wait for 15 minutes and everything will be sterilised. You can also drop in or take out any item within 24 hours and as long as you give anything newly placed in the steriliser 15 minutes in the water then it will come out fully sterilised. In our house we have gotten into the habit of changing the water and refreshing the steriliser each morning meaning its prepared for a full days use without having to fuss or worry about it. Then you can simply pop things in or out as you wish just as long as you remember to give any item at least 15 minutes in the water before assuming its sterilised.
Other features of the Milton sterilising unit include a lockable lid, which gives me peace of mind that the steriliser is firmly closed when in use. For me it means that when I pick up the steriliser to move it somewhere else, by using the handle it gives me a sense of ease knowing that its very unlikely 5 litres of water is going to end up all over my kitchen floor.
Some of the main pros of the Milton cold water sterilising unit for me is that unlike some of the microwave sterilisers that I have tried you cannot burn your fingers on hot steam. And you can easily take only one thing out at a time without needing to re-sterilise everything else and that it is just so simple to use. It is also the steriliser that was used in my local maternity hospital and having spoken to a few midwives it is the steriliser that nearly all of them have suggested as the best available.
Some cons of the Milton cold water steriliser would be that water can and does go everywhere, especially when I shake the bottles to get them as dry as possible before use. But I have learned to leave a clean cloth beside the unit so I can mop up the extra liquid that always ends up on my kitchen work surface.
Also maybe the smell of the Milton sterilised water might be a possible negative aspect for some people, but personally I like it and so far my little one has shown no sign of being in the least bothered by it. As you might expect the water does have a slight medical or hospital smell about it, but I find it a reassuringly clean and pleasant smell. And as a huge plus point you can use the left over sterilised water for cleaning your house or in my case the bathroom.
I purchased our steriliser directly from Mothercare for the price of £14.99, which even for something that is essentially a big plastic tub has been well worth the money. If I am honest you don't need to buy the Milton steriliser unit to use the Milton cold water tablets but it does help because there is no fiddling around with quantities and its lockable lid and internal plastic weighted grid makes it ideal for the job at hand.
Initially when I purchased the cold water sterilising unit I assumed a set of Milton tablets would have been included, but alas nope. So don't do what I did and get home only to realise that you don't have everything you need to set the steriliser up straight away. However, the Milton steriliser tablets can easily be found in most supermarkets beside the baby section or in stores such as Mothercare for around £2 for a box of 28 tablets.
I highly recommend the Milton cold water sterilising unit, I can't imagine that there is an easier and more straight forward to use steriliser out there on the market. It really is one item that has become a daily must have in our house and something I would not want to do without. Therefore, in my opinion I believe that it deserves no less than five out of five stars.
I first began using a Milton tank last year after the very early birth of Baby CrazyEgg. I was in a hazy world of anaesthetic and shock, not to mention a certain amount of trepidation, as I had intended to use the final fourteen weeks of my pregnancy to Learn About Babies. Apparently, however, Baby was already here. At least, she was in an incubator, along the corridor and up the stairs. A Nurse said that if I was planning to breast feed, ("Eh?"), I would need a breast pump ("Hm?") and a Milton tank. And so began a long and amicable association with My Mate Milton.
In the hospital(s) in which we all resided last year the most frequent form of steriliser on offer was the Milton Tank. I'm guessing it is because they are relatively cheap, (£13.99 currently), easy to store, and don't require PAT (portable appliance testing) because they don't use electricity. In the milk kitchens on the neonatal and special care baby units there were rows of these tanks, labelled with mother's names, often followed by a sequence of dates, some scored through as parent's marked off each time they refreshed the water. In this kind of communal situation, the Milton tank is perhaps the kindest form of steriliser in the sense that everyone has their own and is responsible for it. In the one hospital where they used steam sterilisers there were sometimes queues to use the steriliser, or people would take other peoples stuff out if they weren't there. It was just faffy. The experience of using the steam steriliser confirmed for me that we had made the right choice in opting for a Milton tank at home.
The Milton tank or Sterilising Unit comes in various guises but the one I am reviewing is basically a rectangular bucket. Those of you who have read my previous reviews may be thinking, "CrazyEgg! You paid £13.99 for a bucket? Cheapskate CrazyEgg actually paid? Why did you not just buy a common or garden bucket from the 99p shop?" Well, I did consider that as it happens, but I rejected the notion because the Milton tank is, in its own, basic way, state of the art. It is at the very pinnacle of bucket development technology.
First off it is a pleasing pale, translucent blue. For me the blue gives an air of freshness and hygiene that sits well with its purpose. The translucency is a vital feature, allowing you to see whether or not there is anything in the tank, (although it can be difficult to see bottles as they too are translucent), and so gives you ample opportunity to be reminded that you used the last item and need to put another in. The assumption is that you will be sterilising bottles which are round of base and Milton have thoughtfully provided six 'parking spaces', diligently numbered in the base of the tank. I have no idea why they felt the need to number, but regular readers will also know that regular feeding methods are not in use in the CrazyEgg household so perhaps it will be apparent to someone else. Perhaps someone using the old 'feeding by mouth' method, still common amongst much of the population I understand.
Secondly, the tank has a very sturdy white plastic handle. The tank holds five litres of water and there is no suggestion that the handle is under strain when the tank is full and being transported. The handle also serves as a lock when the lid of the tank is on. It rotates 180 degrees. When it is put down on one side the lid can't be removed; flip it over to the other and the lid comes off. You need the lid to come off obviously so that you can fill the tank and remove stuff from it. It is helpful though that it can be locked, as this, along with the specially designed lid, makes emptying the tank easier.
The lid fits snugly on the top of the tank. One side of the bucket part has a spout at the top. The lid is designed so that you can either have the spout blocked off or not. With the lid locked, and the spout accessible you can empty the tank easily: the water pours out, your items remain inside, you haven't had to fish them out. You have to change the solution every 24 hours and this feature makes the process quick and easy.
There is one other feature, and this is a tray that sits inside the top of the tank. It has holes in it so that water can drain through. Its purpose is two-fold. Firstly, it ensures the contents of the tank is kept weighted in the sterilising solution; anything bobbing above the water line will not have been sterilised. Secondly it can be used as a sterile tray when you remove items for use.
We use a lot of syringes as well as a few bottles and teethers and the tank is ideal for these. With the steam steriliser I had to use the syringes kept falling through the tray and onto the heating element. The tank is big enough to hold and sterilise breast pump funnels, bottles and syringes all at once. It is the cheap and cheerful champion of sterilisers! Well done Milton!