03/10/2009 15:50 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

How Do You Sterilise?

One thing that you will soon notice as a parent is that for every survey that says one thing, sooner or later another study will come along that seems to say the exact opposite. The advice can be so confusing that it's difficult to know what's the right step to take.

The other thing that you may notice if you have more than one child, is that how you do things for your first child varies wildly from how you behave with any subsequent offspring.

Sterilisation is a good example of this. With your first child you probably did everything by the book, following the NHS advice that all feeding and baby equipment be sterilised up to one year.

In contrast, my second child had been on solids for a good few months before I remembered that I was meant to be sterilising all those spoons and bowls. Oops. I even *look away now if you're a health care professional* used to clean dummies that had fallen on the floor by giving them a quick lick. Though I did follow Food Standards Agency advice to sterilise all bottles, teats and bits of breast pump, and somehow we managed to get through weaning without any major tummy upsets.

So given that this is the internet, and you have the cover of anonymity - be honest, how careful are you about sterilising the stuff your baby uses?

New research from sterilising fluid company Milton claims that lapses in hygiene could be putting babies at risk. Laboratory testing of common baby items from homes and nurseries found that:

  • 90 of blankets and bibs had a higher than desirable level of contamination, with 20 of push chair seats had a range of organisms present
  • Many soft toys were never washed at all

Yuck, yuck, yuck. It makes you want to go and wash your hands right now, doesn't it? But equally, there exists what's known as the Hygiene Hypothesis - the theory that exposure to a few bugs can be good for the immune system, and that in fact, these days we are in danger of being too clean for our own good.

What do you think? Are we too obsessed with germs these days? Do you sterilise everything your baby touches or do you think that's not needed?