Latest deals from trusted retailers
Medela is best known for its breastfeeding equipment, such as breast pumps and breast pads, and for hospital neonatal equipment. It’s a company that promotes breastfeeding, and therefore the Medela b-well Steam Sterilizer is the first steriliser in its range, designed for cleaning Medela breast pumps and expressed breast milk bottles. However, despite its aim as solely a steriliser for Medela’s own range, it actually does rather well at sterilising other brands, too – I’ve tested it out with Difrax S, Dr Brown’s and Philips AVENT.
The Medela b-well Steam Sterilizer uses steam rather than chemicals to sterilise your baby’s feeding gear and takes eight minutes from cold to sterilised. It holds five 250ml Medela wide neck bottles and has automatic switch off and acoustic and visual signals once it’s completed the sterilisation/cooling process.
What we love
The Medela b-well Steam Sterilizer is so simple that the instructions are not really needed – you load the stuff in, chuck the water in and press the button – and that’s it. It’s also compact and has a small footprint so it doesn’t take up much space on the workbench.
It fits five large (250ml) Medela bottles, with plenty of room on the top shelf for all accessories (teats, lids etc.).
The on/off button changes colour so you know what the steriliser is up to (constant orange when sterilising, flashing green when the heating process is complete and constant green when cooling to the ‘safe’ temperature for lid removal). It also sounds different beep-patterns when the sterilising is complete (five slow beeps) and again when the cooling process is complete (five fast beeps). This is a great feature for the sleep-deprived parent, although in common with most sterilisers it doesn’t actually tell you if it’s done a whole cycle once it’s cooled and turned itself off, so you still have to remember whether you actually put the bottles on to sterilise in the first place!
The cord can be removed to help store it more easily, and this is also good for transporting the steriliser if you’re going away. And the b-well is also space-saving as you can store the Medela Bottle Warmer inside to avoid cluttering up your bench.
The Medela b-well Steam Sterilizer is also quite stylish, and although there are lots of warnings about the unit getting hot and avoiding the steam vent in the lid, I found the plastic was thick enough for the steriliser not to get too hot to touch during its cycle.
Because the unit can be completely dismantled and disconnected from the hot plate (you end up with four separate washable parts – the lid, plastic body, shelf and handle), it is also really easy to clean and providing you washed the parts regularly, you might avoid lime scale build up. Medela does, however, recommend the use of cool distilled or filtered water to avoid this problem completely.
What to watch out for
Although it is not designed for bottles other than Medela, I tried it with Philips AVENT, Dr Brown’s and Difrax S. Sadly, it only fits four of the large sizes of these three brands, but I did find it coped with five small AVENT bottles and all accessories, which is fairly comparable with other sterilisers on the market. In common with other sterilisers I have used, the lid drips condensation onto the workbench when you remove the bottles.
Although compact (so good for transporting), the Medela b-well doesn’t have a lid that secures, so it would come off in transit. It’s also fairly expensive compared to other sterilisers on the market.
Because the hot plate comes into direct contact with the water the machine uses to make steam, over time I imagine that in hard-water areas like London it would need cleaning with a descaler or vinegar (in the same way you would clean the inside of your kettle).
The top tray is slightly fiddly to get into place and there’s a small chance stuff will slide off while you’re fiddling with it, as the lip on the tray is so shallow.
Unlike other sterilisers on the market it doesn’t come with tongs for removing the bottles and accessories (Medela advises using a clean cloth).
Who is the Medela b-well Steam Sterilizer best for?
Medela-using mums after an electric steam option designed specifically for their brand of choice.
The Medela b-well is a stylish, compact rapid steam sterilising system, which is great for use with Medela bottles and accessories. For safety, it has automatic switch off and the power button changes colour so that you know where the steriliser is up to in its cycle. However, it is fairly expensive and the complete cycle (sterilising and cooling) is an annoying 23 minutes long, although you can take stuff out of the machine without waiting for it to cool, even though this isn’t recommended.
Latest deals from trusted retailers
|Model||b-well Steam Sterilizer|
|Number of bottles it can hold||Five 250ml Medela bottles, four other-brand large (250ml) bottles|
|Compatible bottles||Medela, Difrax S, Dr Brown's, Philips AVENT|
|Length of sterilsing cycle||8min(s)|