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Despite originally purchasing the MAM steriliser set from Amazon for £13.50, I had an unfortunate incident with a microwave and a (metal) bottle brush. Needless to say the steriliser was not usable after that! The MAM steriliser was priced at £20+ and I spotted this Philips Avent Steam Steriliser on hotukdeals for £6. For that price it was worth a punt! This product sterilises baby bottles after you have cleaned them to ensure the are clean and safe for the baby to drink from. It is a must have for all new parents, even those who breast feed as if you want to express milk you will need to clean and sterilise the breast pump.
== My Opinion ==
I am a big fan of the steam steriliser as I think it is quick and easy to use. The Avent steriliser is one of the smaller on the market which is particularly good if you have a small microwave or if you need to transport it. It sterilises in 6 minutes compared to the MAM steriliser which took 8 minutes in my 650w microwave. Despite being branded with the Avent logo, the steriliser also holds other bottles, so my MAM bottles fit in there just fine. I can probably successfully sterilise 3 bottles at once in this steriliser compared to 6 in the MAM. It depends what you need and what you want. I combination feed my baby so only need 1-2 bottles per day so the Avent steriliser is fine for me. If your baby needs lots of formula feeds, you might like to go for a bigger steriliser. The MAM has a second level basket which allows it to hold more and isn't much bigger than the Avent. You need to measure 200ml of water which you can do easily using one of the baby bottles - this ensures the bottles are properly sterilised. The water goes in the bottom, the basket goes on top, you put the bottles in and clip the lid on, pop it in the microwave and wait for it to finish then leave to stand for a few minutes to cool before putting the bottle together with tongs. Easy peasy. It also fits the Medela breast pump pieces in. The product feels well made and none of the pieces are flimsy.
For £6 it does the job perfectly. It is just the steriliser and a set of tongs, no bottles included but for £6 I think it is super. It is currently £12 at Amazon. Personally, I think if you can get the MAM steriliser for £13.50 on Amazon, that is a better buy as it holds more bottles, it comes with a newborn dummy and two bottles which is another good bargain. Anyway, for what I needed it for this steriliser has been great for £6, it only loses one star for the size as I think they could have designed it slightly better. Overall, I would purchase this again but would go for the MAM steriliser if I was starting out.
One of the most important bits of kit I would recommend as a new parent is a good steriliser. You're probably going to use this just as much as you would use the bottles to be fair as all baby food items must be sterilised for at least 6 months in order to kill off any bacteria which may occur from regular washing alone. The baby's immune system needs every little bit of help it can get in those first few months and so steam is a good way of getting the items hot enough without damaging them.
We had originally looked at getting an electric powered steriliser but found some took as long as 10 minutes to finish their cycle before you could get bottles, teats and other paraphernalia out to be used. This just wasn't acceptable to us as time is quite precious when your almost asleep on your feet after doing the 3am feed and have bottles to clean.
We opted in the end for the Philips Avent Microwave steriliser which has been absolutely fantastic so far. Ours has had a solid four months of use and has stood up to many loads time after time. It only takes 4 mins on full power in the microwave with 200ml of water put in the base. We have found, however, that it is best to put filtered water from a Brita water filter into the steriliser as ours became quite built up with lime scale, which obviously meant more regular cleaning, but this of the steriliser itself!
All in all this is a fabulous product and I would highly recommend one to anyone who can not decide between an electric one and an alternative.
This is a really excellent steriliser that is slightly more compact than the table top sterilisers also available in the Avent range. I have owned this as my sole steriliser throughout the period of cleaning everything for two babies now, and I can honestly say I am quite impressed.
The steriliser is compact enough to go in most microwaves, and can sterilise either four bottles, or a few less with maybe parts of a breast pump as well. It only needs 7oz of water and seven minutes in the microwave, and voila, squeaky clean kit (well, sterile anyway!). The best bit is that it can be stored back in the microwave when not in use so it is not just ANOTHER bit of baby get-up you need to keep on display. My only criticism of this product is that when you first get it out of the microwave, it is baking hot, so give it a few minutes to cool slightly before opening it!!!
One of the more tedious chores when you have a new baby is sterilising bottles and other feeding and nursing equipment. With our first child, we invested in an Avent Microwave Steam Steriliser rather than an electronic version - mainly because of its portability and ease of use - and we were quite pleased with it.
Babies need the stuff they use sterilised to ensure their immune system doesn't have to work overtime to fight off any nasty bugs that may be lurking on it. Although a thorough wash in the sink with hot water makes equipment cosmetically clean, you need really high temperatures to kill off the hardier bacteria and viruses.
I retrieved our old Avent Steriliser from the attic, but despite a thorough clean before we stored it, it looked a little worse for wear (but perfectly serviceable). As such, we decided to dispatch our old stager to my mother-in-law's (my wife spends a fair bit of time there) and buy a new, upgraded model for home use. Enter the Avent Express II Microwave Steam Steriliser.
WHAT IS IT?
The product is essentially a large bowl with a clear plastic lid. The lid has two clips - one on either side to fasten it to the bottom half. Inside the bowl is a blue moulded and shaped rack that has impressions for various products (bottles, lids, feeding cups, lids, breast pump parts etc.).
Although the rack is designed specifically for Avent-branded bottles and accessories, we tend to use Tommee Tippee (TT) Closer to Nature bottles to feed our son and these fit in without a problem. Given the TT bottles are the widest on the market at the moment, that bodes well for other makes and brands as well.
All of the parts of the unit are dishwasher safe, and as such are easily cleaned and maintained. If it's not going into a dishwasher, it should be periodically washed and dried between uses. It's tempting to leave the water at the bottom, but in our experience, this causes a build up of unsightly lime scale in hard water areas.
We purchased our unit on sale from our local Mothercare shop for £17.99, but the promotion has since ended. It is currently available on-line from Amazon for £21.99 with free delivery, but prices vary wildly from one retailer to the next, so it pays to shop around before buying. Ours came packaged with a small pair of tongs, an Avent soother, two different sized Avent bottles (125ml and 260ml) with teats, and a small measuring beaker.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The concept is simple. You pour a measured amount of water into the basin (200ml), place your pre-washed plastic baby equipment into it, attach the cover and nuke it in the microwave for the stipulated amount of time (between two and six minutes depending on the wattage of your oven). It's good practice to empty out the water and add a new, measured amount for each cycle, as otherwise you may have too little (boiling the unit dry and damaging it) or too much (which means the water doesn't get hot enough to do the business).
The water is vapourised into steam, killing any bugs. You let the unit rest for two minutes after the cycle finishes, pop the top and viola - sterilised baby gear. If you leave the top of the unit in locked position, the contents will stay sterilised for up to 24 hours. Once the top comes off though, you need to bag up the bits as soon as possible, as contamination starts as soon as the air hits them. It goes without saying that the contents can be extremely hot, so you need to remember to leave it to settle before popping open the lid (ensuring it is on a stable surface and facing away from you), else you will get a face full of steam and scalded fingers.
Make sure you thoroughly wash your hands before handling sterilised parts, otherwise all of the work will have been for nought. A small pair of white tongs is provided so you don't have to manually handle them, although to be frank, these are fiddly to use and impossible for certain bottle and pump assemblies. Once the unit has cooled, we usually bag up the separate parts in Ziploc bags and place them in our fridge.
DOES IT WORK?
I can't speak for the science part - that bit has to be taken as read - but it certainly works for us on a practical level. We don't have the space for the footprint an electronic steriliser would take up on our kitchen counter, so this was an obvious solution - for both portability and storage (it practically lives in the microwave).
The bowl has a larger capacity than its predecessor (it is both deeper and taller) and is capable of holding six bottles or two sets of disassembled breast pump parts (my wife has both a manual and electronic one from Avent that use the same bits). A further improvement on the original is the replacement of a click on lid (with tabs that you had to release by pushing them away from the body - these were a real scald risk if you hadn't let the unit cool sufficiently) with a pair of cool "safety clips" engineered so that you don't get scalded by escaping hot air.
The rack that sits inside the unit has a lot more grooves, indentations and slots than the original and they present the user with a frankly bewildering set of options on how to load the thing. The instruction manual (which has pictorial instructions as well as written notes in several languages) has a detailed set of notes on how to load it properly, but after reading them once, we have loaded it pretty much as we see fit - it does the job anyway.
The next time Avent design one of these things, they should try to load it with two hours of sleep and a bawling infant precariously perched on their shoulder. I'd be most interested with the result!
The original unit that served us so well almost five years ago was already a very good product, but with the improvements made to the new model, Philips Avent are on to a real winner. The greater capacity, the safety clips, the portability and ease of cleaning make this a safe and practical solution for sterilising baby products at an excellent price.
© Hishyeness 2009