It goes without saying that your main priority as a new parent is to keep your baby safe and well. Sterilising your baby’s bottle is one of those jobs you just can’t get away from.
Not sterilising or cleaning your baby’s bottles and accessories can lead to tummy upset, diarrhoea, and one grumpy baby. In this post, we’ll explain how to effectively clean and sterilise your baby’s bottles and look at some of the common methods you can use.
Why do I need to clean and sterilise my baby’s bottles?
Your baby’s immune system isn’t as developed as yours, meaning they’re more susceptible to infections. That’s why it’s essential to clean and sterilise your baby’s bottles, as it helps to protect your little one against illnesses such as tummy upset and diarrhoea.
You might not think it, but milk is an excellent breeding ground for the bacteria responsible for giving your baby an infection, by cleaning and sterilising your baby’s feeding equipment, it helps to reduce your baby’s chances of getting poorly.
The NHS recommends sterilising your baby’s feeding equipment until they turn one.
Cleaning baby bottles
It goes without saying that after every bottle feed, you should clean and sterilise your baby’s bottle. If you’re unable to clean the bottle properly after a feed, make sure you rinse the bottle out immediately as it’ll make them easier to clean later.
Once your baby starts using finger food its even more important to make sure you clean your baby bottle better as your can also get small bits of food in the creases and cracks.
Before sterilising, it’s important to clean your bottles by:
• Check teats for any cracks. If any are damaged, throw them away immediately. This is because bacteria can thrive in small cracks in the teats, causing stomach upset for your baby.
• Wash and rinse bottles and teats thoroughly, using a bottle and teat brush, in hot and soapy water straight after feeds.
• If you prefer to put your baby’s bottles in the dishwasher, this is also fine – ensure bottle lids and teats are facing downwards, so no damage occurs in the dishwasher.
• Once your bottles are washed, rinse them in clean, cold running water before sterilising.
How to sterilise baby bottles
There are many different methods of sterilising your baby’s bottles, including cold water sterilising, boiling, steam sterilising and a bottle steriliser.
Each technique works effectively in sterilising your baby’s bottle, and the method you usually opt for depends on what you have available.
Below we take a look at how to sterilise bottles using these various methods.
Cold water sterilising
Cold water sterilising is a method of sterilising that uses chemical tablets that dissolve in water to create a sterilising solution.
Sometimes you can get a ready-made sterilising solution. However, this is usually more expensive.
Cold water sterilising is generally good if you need to sterilise multiple items as you can leave bottles and dummies in it for up to 24 hours if the container you’re using has the lid closed:
1. Use a clean, watertight container with a well-fitting lid
2. Make up the sterilising solution according to the instructions
3. Fill the container with the sterilising solution and submerge all items in the water until the air bubbles are gone
4. Leave the items in the solution for the time specified by your manufacturer’s instructions and follow the guidance
5. Remove items from the solution using tongs or clean hands before use
Boiling is one of the most cost-effective, reliable, and easiest ways of sterilising your baby’s bottles and teats. Many people have the equipment already available in their house, so it’s a popular method amongst many parents:
1. Put the washed bottles in a big pan or large pot.
2. Fill the pot with water until the bottles and teats are submerged. Ensure all air bubbles are gone.
3. Put the pan or pot on the hob and bring to a boil. Once boiling, boil for at least ten minutes, ensuring bottles and teats stay submerged beneath the water.
4. Let everything cool down in the pan or pot.
5. Remove the bottles just before use, using tongs or clean hands.
If you use the boiling method regularly, teats can be damaged by the heat, so you may need to replace these regularly. Always ensure your bottles and teats can be sterilised by this method, and, if you are unsure, always check with the manufacturer.
Steam sterilisers are devices designed specifically to sterilise your baby’s bottles. You can either plug them in or pop them in your microwave, depending on what type and style you have.
It’s always important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions as there are different sterilisers out there on the market.
With many steam sterilisers, you will put your clean bottles in the unit and add water. You will either switch the unit on and leave it to do its work or pop the unit in the microwave according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Steam sterilisers are a great way to sterilise bottles quickly and effectively as they take all the work out of sterilising for you. The process uses no chemicals and leaves very little room for human error, so is a popular method among many first-time parents.
Sterilising baby bottles only works if you have cleaned all parts of your baby’s bottle effectively with hot soapy water. As well as sterilising your baby’s bottle and teats, it’s important to also clean and sterilise any utensils (such as milk scoops) too.
Always ensure you wash your hands thoroughly before you touch the sterilised bottle and teats.
You’ll find it helps you out if you wash your baby’s bottle straight after use. If it’s not always possible, ensure you rinse their bottle out with warm water to avoid the build-up of milk on the bottles.
Always dispose of any bottles or teats that are broken, damaged, torn, or broken in any way. This will help to avoid injuries and eradicate devious places that bacteria can hide.
It can also be handy to store your baby bottles in their own area to help prevent any contamination after sterilising.