Dear Father Hood: what’s the best way to sterilise baby bottles on holiday?


Did you ever imagine that there would come a time when you would find yourself trawling the world wide web in a bid to discover the best way to sterilise baby bottles on holiday? Me either. But boy did my wife and I harass Google with our ‘vacation sterilising’ queries. Are microwavable sterilisers any good? Will the smell of the tablets make him gag? Do you have to use boiled water? How many bottles can a travel steriliser de-germ in one session? Can’t we just spit on the bottle and then give it a bit of a rub?

I’d claim it was fun, but if you’ve spent even a quarter of the time that we did investigating the subject, then you’ll know that this is a lie. The process was tedious and laborious. And that’s before we got into reading other parents’ product reviews on Amazon. This energy-sapping cherry on the top of ultra-boring cake was so dull I was tempted to sack it all off and go down the pub. Then I remembered a) that I’m not a stereotype from the 1990s and b) that the whole ‘sterilising baby bottles on holiday’ thing is rather important.

So we kept searching. We searched and we searched and we searched. Then we discussed and discussed and discussed. Then we phoned some friends. Then we re-checked the reviews. Then we discussed things some more. And then and only then did we finally agree on the following holiday sterilising commandments.

If you’re driving to your destination

…Thou shalt not mess about or attempt to be clever. Simply shove your usual steriliser in the boot or, safer still, on the floor in the back of the car. Note one: if you’re not sure your accommodation will have a kettle, pack that too. Note two: if you’re heading abroad remember to take an adapter plug.

If you’re organised, flying and staying with family…

…Thou shalt use the internet to your advantage. Go online a few weeks before your journey and order a microwavable steriliser to be delivered to your host’s house. Note one: check the dimensions of the steriliser before buying, as some won’t fit wide-necked bottles etc. Note two: remember to use a towel when removing the sterilised bottles from the microwave – I didn’t and ouchy, ouchy, hot, hot, hot.

If you’re disorganised, flying and staying with family…

…Thou shalt pass on the burden of responsibility. Call your relative and ask them to purchase a microwavable steriliser. Note one: while you’re at it, you could also get them to pick up a bath chair, high chair, kiddie crockery, a travel cot and baby towel. Note two: please at least offer to pay them back.

If you’re flying and staying in a hotel…

…Thou shalt embrace the Oasis Disposable Steriliser Bags* revolution. My wife and I are recent converts to this product, but boy does it change your life. Forget get trying to squeeze a giant steriliser in your suitcase or begging the hotel manager to let you boil away the bacteria in his restaurant’s kitchen, just open the bag, fill it with cold water, tighten the string, leave standing upright for 30 minutes and, hey presto, you have a selection of sterilised bottles at your disposal. Note one: the box contains seven bags, so grab two if you’re away for a fortnight, four if you’re away for a month and so on. Note two: the sterilising tablets that come with the bag have had some pretty ropey reviews. Dump them and use half a Milton sterilising tablet* instead.

And, finally, if you’re holidaying without the baby…

…Thou shalt forget all about the worries of how to sterilise baby bottles on holiday, relax and pour thyself a really big glass of wine.

Until next time…

*As an Amazon Associate, earns from qualifying purchases.


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