To protect your baby’s developing immune system, sterilizing all their eating accessories is a must. Hand-washing will remove many of the germs, but sterilizing the pieces removes 99.9% of the germs that can quickly develop.
Buying a baby sanitizer doesn’t mean you have to invest a large amount of money. There are many budget baby sterilizers on the market that quickly and effectively sanitize baby bottles, pacifiers and other eating tools. For a budget baby sterilizer, a top pick is the Philips Avent Microwave Steam Sterilizer. It’s affordable, easy to use and can easily sanitize all pieces.
One of the most dangerous germs that grow quickly in old breastmilk or formula is Cronobacter. The CDC says this germ can survive in dry foods, including dried breast milk or unused formula. While rare, this is a deadly infection for infants, especially newborns. This is merely one example of the types of germs a baby sterilizer can remove.
Sterilizing your food equipment at least once a day is a good habit to adopt. The CDC explains this will keep them consistently sterilized and prevent the growth of germs. Texas Children’s Hospital also recommends sanitizing any new pieces you’ve purchased before you use them.
Consider how many pieces you plan on sterilizing at a time. If you want to sterilize the most pieces at once to cut down on the work you have to do, check the capacity of the sterilizer you’re interested in. The bigger the better, although you should also consider the size and whether it will fit on your counter or in your microwave.
Some baby sterilizers are compatible with their corresponding brand items. If all your bottles are from a certain brand, consider buying a sterilizer that is specifically compatible with those pieces. You’ll likely be able to fit more things in the sterilizer if it’s made specifically for your bottles.
The CDC recommendation is to sanitize eating equipment at least once every day. Because you’ll be using it frequently, you’ll want a sterilizer that is easy to use. If it’s complicated or inefficient, you’ll find yourself skipping the task, and that can increase the risk of your baby getting sick.
Some electric sterilizers include a drying function. A drying function speeds up the process so you can use your equipment faster. This also reduces the risk of contact contamination inherent in setting your bottles on the counter to dry.
Check whether the sterilizer you’re interested in has different cycles, specifically a quick cycle. This will be important when you run out of bottles and need one in the middle of the night.
You may not be able to stand at the sterilizer the entire time it’s running. Without an auto-shutoff feature, your electric sanitizer could continue running, wasting energy and money. An auto-shutoff feature is safer because of the heat involved in running an electric sanitizer.
Much like watching a pot to see if it boils, watching your sanitizer run through a cycle can be mind-numbing. If you need a piece sanitized quickly, you’ll want to know how long you have to wait. With a cycle indicator, you can know exactly how long you have left before your piece is ready to use so you can plan around that.
If you plan on taking a trip or traveling with your baby, continue to sanitize anything they use to eat. Purchasing a sanitizer that’s portable is important. If you can easily take your sanitizer with you, you’ll be more likely to pack it for the trip and use it while you’re away.
A fast sanitization cycle is great, but you have to wait for the pieces to cool down. Some sanitizers have a fast cool-down feature. This allows you to use sanitized bottles and pieces faster, a handy feature when you have a hungry, fussy baby.
Although some baby sanitizers cost hundreds of dollars, you can find a budget baby sterilizer between $6-$30 that will be highly effective and easy to use. If you can spend a little more, you will find some basic electric baby sterilizers in the $30-$75 range.
A. While baby sterilizers are a convenient tool to keep your baby’s bottles and feeding accessories safe and germ-free, there are ways to sterilize your equipment without a sterilizer. The CDC recommends boiling the pieces for five minutes.
A. According to the CDC, sterilizing feeding items once every day is sufficient to keep them germ-free. This is especially important for babies who are younger than 3 months old, those who were born prematurely and babies with compromised immune systems.
A. The Mayo Clinic recommends you sterilize a pacifier before each use during the first 6 months of your baby’s life. After they reach the 6-month milestone, it’s less crucial to sterilize a pacifier before each use, although it is recommended you continue to wash it with hot, soapy water before each use.
What you need to know: Durable, dependable and affordable, the Philips Avent Microwave Steam Sterilizer is a great option that will fit most bottles and has a larger capacity.
What you’ll love: The best thing about this sterilizer is the speed. You can have your pieces sterilized in as little as 2 minutes. It’s also roomy enough you can sterilize breast pump parts and accessories, as well as pacifiers and teethers.
What you should consider: Be sure this sterilizer will fit in your microwave. It may not fit in smaller models.
What you need to know: For the most budget-friendly baby sterilizer, the Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer is the way to go.
What you’ll love: This sterilizer is highly affordable and compact so it will fit in most microwaves. You can sterilize up to four bottles and two breast shields at a time and it won’t take up counter space.
What you should consider: If you have more than four bottles to sterilize, you’ll have to do multiple batches.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: Dr. Brown’s Deluxe Bottle Sterilizer is a great electric sterilizer option on a budget.
What you’ll love: Able to hold up to six bottles at a time, this electric sterilizer is simple to operate with just a couple of buttons. It doesn’t take up much space and has a built-in tray for things like pacifiers and teethers.
What you should consider: Some users have commented that it isn’t as reliable as other electric sterilizers.
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Kasey Van Dyke writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.