To understand the advantage of steaming over boiling, you must know that steaming leads to sterilization, whereas boiling leads to disinfection only.
Sterilization is the killing or removal of all microorganisms, including bacterial spores which are highly resistant.
Disinfection is the killing of many, but not all microorganisms. It is a process of reduction of number of contaminating organisms, but some organisms and bacterial spores may survive.
Why sterilize your baby’s bottles?
During their initial years of life, babies have immature immune system and are vulnerable to infections by viruses, bacteria and parasites, which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. Though, it is not possible to create a totally germ-free environment for your baby, you can certainly reduce the risk of infections by sterilizing baby bottles/breast pumps/utensils/equipment.
Important Points to consider before you start sterilizing:
Use BPA free products – Cheap plastics can contain BPA and other chemicals that when heated, leech through your babies formula or milk and cause endocrine and developmental problems in young children.
Sterilize new bottles – Just because a bottle is new does not make it germ free. Whenever you buy a new bottle or nipple, sterilize it before giving it to your baby.
Washing your baby’s bottles – Before sterilizing, bottles need to be cleaned thoroughly along with the nipples, with soapy water, so that every trace of milk including droplets and mist, is removed. Throw out any nipples with cracks as they may also contain germs.
Sterilizing with electric steam sterilizer
You need to simply pour in water in the given space and plug in your electric steam sterilizer which work by using high temperature steam to kill germs and bacteria on your baby bottle and nipples. Electric baby bottle sterilizers also remove smell from bottles. When placing bottles and nipples in electric sterilizers, be sure that the openings are facing downward to allow steam to sterilize your feeding gear as efficiently as possible. Not just bottles, even breast pumps and weaning cutlery should be sterilized as well. Steam sterilization is quicker, safer and more efficient than boiling.
Sterilizing with microwave steam sterilizer
A microwave steam sterilizer also works by steaming bottles, nipples and usually takes less time than electric steam sterilizer. Simply add water to the microwave steam sterilizer, wash your bottles as usual before half filling each baby bottle with water and place each bottle upright inside the microwave. To sterilize nipples, place them in a microwave safe bowl filled with just enough water to cover them.
Why not boiling?
Boiling does not kill all bacteria and spores. Still if you chose to boil feeding utensils, you need to regularly check your nipples for damage. Boiling water is known to damage baby bottle nipples much quicker than other sterilizing methods. Also if you are not careful, you risk burning yourself too.