Sterilization of baby bottles
If you’re expecting a baby, then you’re going to need to know all about sterilizing! Many parents are usually a little daunted by the prospect of ensuring that all their baby’s feeding equipment is sterilized safely and correctly. But there really is nothing to worry about, there are numerous very easy ways to ensure your baby’s feeding equipment is clean as a whistle! During your baby’s first 12 months of life they are at their most vulnerable to many common viruses and infections which can lead to all sorts of things including thrush and gastroenteritis. It is not really possible or practical for your baby to live in a completely germ-free environment, but you can however reduce their risks of becoming ill by ensuring you sterilize all feeding equipment, breastpump parts and soothers for the first year of their life.
How to clean baby bottle
Firstly, before handling any feeding equipment of your baby’s ensure your hands have been washed with soap and hot water. Before sterilizing any equipment, it is important you always wash everything first in hot soapy water. Get into a routine of washing everything straight after you have used it to remove any milk or food residue. You can use a specially designed bottle brush to ensure you get into every nook. Ensure you rinse off any soap after washing each item. Before sterilizing any feeding equipment give it a quick once over for any damage, splits or cracks which can harbour bacteria. You can also use your dishwasher to clean items before you sterilize them, just check they are dishwasher safe before doing this.
Sterilizing baby bottle in Microwave or Electric Steam Steriliser
The method of electric and microwave steam sterilizing are both very popular and extremely easy ways of sterilizing all of your baby’s equipment. Both of them use steam to sterilize, but create the steam in different ways, a microwave sterilizer through convection and an electric sterilizer through the use of electricity.
An electric steam sterilizer usually takes around 8-12 minutes to run a full cycle and a microwave sterilizer is usually around 5-7 minutes. Both methods will need time to cool after finishing their cycle, usually about 5 minutes. The main advantage of using a steam sterilizer is that it doesn’t leave a smell or taste on the items and everything remains sterile inside for anywhere between 6-12 hours, dependent on the model and providing you keep the lid on. Microwave sterilizers are simple and very easy to use, but just be sure not to put anything metal into the sterilizer. A microwave sterilizer is particularly useful to take away with you on holiday.
Sterilizing baby bottle in boiling water
The traditional method of sterilizing involves boiling items. If you don’t have access to a microwave or electric steam sterilizer this method will be perfectly adequate. It’s obviously not as convenient as the newer method of sterilization, but you can still achieve the same results by boiling items for 5-10 minutes.
- Purchase or allocate a large pan for this purpose – it must have a lid.
- Submerge cleaned bottles, teats etc under water. Bottles must be completely covered. Make sure there are no air bobbles in the bottles.
- Bring water to a boil
- Boil the bottles for minimum 5 minutes make sure items are kept under the level of the water.
- Remove the bottles from the pan using tongs, and place them on a clean dishcloth to air dry.
- Use the items as soon as you have finished the sterilization proces.
Although this method is perfectly acceptable, you might find items need to be replaced more frequently.
Cold Water Sterilization
Another traditional style of sterilization, but still widely used is cold water sterilization. This technique uses a non-toxic solution, liquid or tablet which is then dissolved in water. This solution is then very effective against preventing bacteria growth on feeding equipment. You can buy specialist containers purely for this purpose, but you can also use a new bucket or a plastic container.
- Place the baby bottle (all items you want to sterilize) in a plastic container with the sterilization liquid
- Place a lid on the container to prevent equipment from floating to the top of the container
- Keep the equipment in the solution for around half an hour.
The equipment can be safely left in the sterilizing solution for up to 24 hours. You will need to replace the solution every day and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before removing any items from the solution.
Safe Storage of sterilized baby bottles
You can leave any items you have sterilized in your sterilizer or container until you are ready to use. Any unused items will then need to be sterilized again after a period of time according to the manufacturer’s instructions.