Last Updated on December 15, 2021
Do you see yourself trying really hard to search for the best baby bottles for you “little love”? And now you find yourself wondering how to sterilize the bottles after? Or, you are filled with questions like how often or how long it should be done with? You’re not alone. Baby bottle sterilisation is a common question among parents. The good news is that this article will cover all of your questions and doubts on how to do it!
Before sterilising baby bottles
Clean bottles and teats
If your baby’s bottles aren’t dishwasher safe, you are suggested to wash them by hand in a container, not in the kitchen sink, with a bottle brush which isn’t supposed to be used for other cleaning purposes.
- Prepare a large pot filled with soap water and submerge all separated parts of the bottle. Make sure there are no air bubbles at the bottom.
- Leave it for 3-5 minutes and start to clean them with the brush.
- Clean thoroughly bottle parts like nipple holes and collars. The teats tend to have some residue which is hard to be seen sometimes. It’s better to do this by hand rather than by the dishwasher and with hot water rather than cold water
- Rinse the bottles and teats with tap water
Clean baby’s feeding equipment
Feeding accessories like breast pumps should be clean at least once a day to kill bacteria.
- Soak all parts in hot or cold water with a bit of soap for at least five minutes.
- Remove any milk as it starts growing bacteria quickly which may cause problems like breast infection.
- Wash baby-feeding tools
- Rinse well or run through the dishwasher on normal cycle with no detergent
How to sterilize baby bottles
There are different ways to sterilize baby bottles. There are plenty of methods like boiling water, steaming with special equipment, using sterilising solutions and also microwaving. They all works differently and have different advantages.
Boiling is the easiest methods because all you need is a pan or big pot with boiling water on your stove. It does not require much effort even when you are sterilising more than two bottles at a time. You should boil baby’s bottles and all of feeding tools for about 2-5 minutes (not more than that). The heat of boiling water will kill all the germs and bacteria.
You can sterilise two or more bottles at a time with steam sterilisers, but it is important to buy specific equipment for that. The steaming process takes about five minutes. This way of sterilising all bottle parts has less contact with boiling water so they are better protected against damages.
This steam sterilizer is a device specialised to sterilising baby bottles and other small objects. It’s available at shops and online.
To begin, add water into the steam chamber of an electric steam sterilizer. Next, just open the lid and place all your washed baby feeding equipment and baby bottles inside. Then press a button or turn a knob on top of unit to begin process which takes about 10-30 minutes depending on how much you steam. The steam goes through the holes in the base of each bottle and kills bacteria without harming any plastics parts. When you’re done, release remaining steam from the steam chamber and remove the bottles.
For best results: use distilled water and steam for at least five minutes.
For a microwave steam sterilizer, you will need water and a microwavable bowl (heatproof glass or plastic). You can use any size of bowl that fits into your microwave. It is important that the bottle does not touch the sides, bottom or lid of the bowl. The bottles and teats should be sterilised in that hot steaming water for five minutes. Though it’s very economic to use the microwave as you dont have to shop for a new sterilising device, you cant sterilise many bottles at a time and have to clean up the microwave before the sterilisation.
This is a safe, green way to sterilise your baby’s bottles. UV light passes through the bottle and kills 99% of harmful germs and bacteria in minutes. UV steriliser can be used for breast pump’s parts too! The light penetrates deep into seams, cracks and seals to eliminate all types of micro-organisms including mold spores or even hidden germs which regular washing can not reach.
After washing your baby’s bottles and feeding equipment, just put them all in the steriliser and press the Start button. The recommended sterilising time varies from 10-30 minutes, depending on the number of feeding equipment and bottle parts.
The sterilised bottles which are exposed to UV radiation need to be poured some tap water inside so they can be reused immediately without any harm.
This solution comes in different forms: liquid, wipes or tablets. It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully as each product will have specific guidelines on how it should be used.
All surfaces of the bottles and teats should be cleaned with hot soapy water before sterilising. Then place them in a sterilizing container. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on the size and shape of this container.
If using a liquid sterilizing solution:
– Place all the items in a sealed container. Pour in enough sterilising solution to cover all the bottles and teats, ensuring that they are completely submerged.
– Shake well for about a minute
– Leave the bottles and teats for a further 30 minutes or follow manufacturer’s guidelines.
If using wipes:
– The bottle must be dry before wiping it with a sterilising wipe. If possible, try to use one of each brand so you can compare their effectiveness against each other.
– Hold the wipe against the bottle and teat for a minimum of six seconds
– Turn it over and do the same on the other side.
If using tablet form:
– Place all the items that need to be sterilized in a single container
– Heat water to cover the items
– Add the tablet(s) and leave for a minimum of 30 minutes or follow manufacturer’s guidelines.
To avoid contaminating the solution, do not place any other objects into it during this time. When you are ready to remove them from the sterilizing container, use tongs if possible to avoid contact with the items.
Bleach is the safest way to sterilize baby bottles. How do you mix unscented bleach with water? The ratio is not important, but generally use one ounce of unscented bleach (chlorine) per one gallon of water or you can follow the manufacturer’s directions. Be sure that there are no other chemicals in your tap or well-water before mixing it together; if this is the case, use distilled water.
Next, dissolve the solution up to be sure that it is mixed thoroughly and there are no clumps of dried bleach sitting on the bottom of your bottle or container. Then, soak all pieces in this mixture for at least five minutes; longer if you notice any dirt or debris still clinging onto your plastic or glass pieces. When you are done, rinse all of your items off with clean water and allow them to air dry on a paper towel before putting the baby bottles back together again.
After sterilising baby bottles
Baby’s bottles should be left to air-dry properly with their lids off. Place bottles on the top rack or on a clean tea/dish towel, until they are completely dry inside and out. If you use the sterilisation methods like steam steriliser or chemical solutions, this step is crucial as it will prevent bacteria from multiplying and be safe for healthy babies to use.
Why do you need to sterilise baby bottles?
When baby is feeding with formula milk or expressed breast milk, baby bottles need to be sterilised. For your baby’s life-long health, you should always clean and sanitise baby’s bottle before use because sterilisation:
– does not allow harmful bacteria that make your baby sick such as salmonella, E coli, listeria or particularly diarrhoea
– reduces the risk of developing asthma later in life
Your baby’s immune system needs protection from outside germs while it starts growing up, especialy the babies born prematurely. Sterilising your baby bottles can also reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
How often should you sterilise baby bottles?
How often should you sterilise baby bottles? The answer is: it depends. There are certain factors that affect how your bottles and nipples need to be sterilized such as how old your child is or what is your living condition. You may also want to check with your pediatrician who can give you the trustworthy health information.
NHS recommends sterilising bottles and other feeding equipment every day if your baby is less than a week old. If you have more than one child or another baby born into the family, you’ll need to sterilise bottles even more often as babies’ immune systems are weakened when they’re exposed to germs from different people. Nipples will also need sterilising on a daily basis.
Once your baby is a little older, typically after they’ve started on solids, you can start to sterilise less often. NHS recommends only sterilising once a week if your child is over six month old and eating solid foods. You can also stop sterilizing once your child has a strong immune system.
If you’re using disposable bottles, there’s no need to sterilize them. Just wash and rinse them with hot soapy water.
Doing bottle feeding with extra caution is good but sterilising baby bottles too often could lead to weakened immune system because it will kill good bacteria too. If you’re breastfeeding your child, it’s not necessary to sterilise your nipple and bottle after each feed (unless the area around where they were inserted into the mouth has become dirty or there is visible milk residue on them). Sterilizing nipples can damage their protective coating which could make feeding more difficult down the road.
When it comes to how you should sterilise baby bottles, it depends on your child’s age and lifestyle. Be sure to check with your pediatrician for advice tailored specifically for your family!
Sophie is a former primary school teacher and passionate about parenting. She enjoys writing, reading, cooking, and making memories with her family.