To sterilise or not, that is the question
I’ve heard lots of mums talking about sterilising in various online places recently which has prompted this blog post. I had my eldest daughter, L, when we were living in France and when I talked about sterilising there I was met with two schools of thought:
School of thought 1
You must sterilise to protect your baby from the nasties that are everywhere, especially on baby bottles.
School of thought 2
Sterilising means that babies don’t develop their own immunity against the nasties that are everywhere, therefore you shouldn’t sterilise.
Now I would love to say that I sat down and weighed up the pros and cons of the two arguments, researched them, analysed them and so forth before making my decision. But that would be a big, fat lie. I’m all about making my life easier wherever possible (although I can’t be that lazy, as I use cloth nappies which I wash myself), so it was pretty much a foregone conclusion. If the medical professionals couldn’t decide which was best then I was going for the easy option. No sterilising.
That’s right. I did not sterilise one single thing of L’s, and C has just turned 10 months and has had nothing sterilised either. However, most baby bottles get washed in the dishwasher at around 50 or 60° so my thinking is that should kill a whole host of nasties.
I don’t preach this to others, I just state what I did (or rather didn’t do), as each to his/her own and all that.
What result did this not sterilising have in my children?
L had breast milk exclusively for 6 months, but from 3 months onwards half her feeds came in a bottle as she was at a childminder’s, from 6-12 months she was on about 50-50 breast milk/formula.
C had 80% breast milk/20% formula for her first 6 months. Then for the last 4 months she’s been more or less 70% breast milk/30% formula.
Both children have grown up around a dog and at least one cat, and a house that is not overly sterilised.
L had one minor cold when she was 9 months old (we were living in the south of France though!) and was ill for the first time, with a 24 hour gastric bug, when she was nearly a year old. In general now (aged nearly 7) she seems to be a lot less ill than a lot of her friends.
C has had a couple of minor colds and a minor viral rash just recently, but other than that is mostly well. I’ve had to give her Calpol a couple of times in the last 10 months, but I’d say on the whole she’s a pretty healthy baby.
L was exposed to other children from aged 3 months (including school age children), C was exposed to other children from the age of 2 days when she came on the school run with me (and L’s friends do love to smother her in kisses and strokes with their oh so clean hands!).
Is the lack of sterilisation linked to their general health? Or is that down to breastfeeding? Or some other unknown factor?
Do/did you sterilise your baby’s bottles? Their toys? Do you think I’m an unfit mother because I don’t/didn’t? I’d also be interested to know whether any French mums reading this sterilised their baby’s bottles, as I think all my British mum friends did.