3 ways to sterilize your Baby's feeding bottles
If you are wondering when and how to wash baby bottles and how to keep them fresh then read on to know all about it.
Parents who bottle-feed their kids know how important it is to make sure that it’s clean. Learn about the proper way to wash baby bottles here.
What can you read in this article?
- How often to sterilize baby bottles
- Sterilizing baby bottles in boiling water – is it safe?
- How to store and when to stop sterilizing baby bottles
Irrespective of how you wash baby bottles, the only thing you need to remember is to do it immediately after each use. So you basically clean them with soap or detergent, rinse them thoroughly, and dry them completely before using the bottles again.
It’s a fairly straightforward method. But is this really the best way to keep your baby’s bottles clean? You may wonder: “Why do I need to use soap each time? Do I really need warm water? Can I reuse a wet baby bottle?”
If you are wondering, then worry not. We’re here to answer these burning questions for you.
How to wash baby bottles: An in-depth look at the procedure
Both your breast milk as well as formula are susceptible to bacterial contamination, which is especially true if you do not store them properly in sterilized bottles.
This can also cause a stomach infection in your baby. That’s because his immune system and gut are not strong enough to fight off infections.
That’s why you need to sterilize and wash baby bottles thoroughly right from when you first purchase them. Let’s begin with how you should sterilize a brand new baby bottle.
Different methods of washing and sterilizing baby bottles
While sterilizing a bottle you essentially kill any existing germs. This procedure is a must for the first 12 months of your baby’s life.
So regardless of whether you use breast milk or formula, you must make this a practice and sterilize and wash baby bottles before each use.
Let’s take a look at some of the common methods of baby bottle sterilization.
By boiling baby bottles you can kill any harmful germs. The high temperature doesn’t allow these tiny organisms to survive, and it leaves the bottle clean. But is it safe?
In 2008, an experiment from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine found that polycarbonate plastic bottles (the material used for a lot of baby feeding bottles) released a known environmental pollutant 55 times more quickly when filled with boiling water.
While washing and soaping baby bottles really does release the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), Scott Belcher, the leader of the study, said that boiling water released bisphenol A from the bottles up to 55 times more quickly than the lower-temperature water.
Because of this, the Food and Drug Administration banned the use of BPA on feeding bottles and other baby products in 2012. So if you must do the boiling technique, make sure to choose BPA-free feeding bottles.
How to sterilize baby bottles on your stove? You can follow the method listed below on how to sterilize baby bottles in boiling water:
- Place the baby bottles, nipples, and caps in a big saucepan on the back burner.
- Add water to the saucepan, enough to cover up the bottles and their additional parts. Make sure that no air bubbles form in this process.
- Bring the water in the saucepan to a boil, and rapidly boil for about five minutes.
- Now turn off the stove and let it all cool down for a few minutes.
- With clean and sanitized hands, you can pick up the bottles from the cooled-down saucepan. Make sure that the area you plan to assemble the bottles is also clean and sanitized.
- Take the equipment and shake off excess water.
- If you do not wish to use the baby bottles immediately, you can assemble them (place the nipple and the lid) and store them in a container in the fridge.
- If you are using it again after 24 hours, make sure to follow the same procedure again.
2. Chemical sterilization
How to sterilize baby bottles without a sterilizer? Here is something you can try.
In this method, chemical disinfectants that are available as tablets and liquids are used to sterilize and wash baby bottles. Here’s how you use this method.
- Clean the bottles, caps, nipples, and utensils you plan to do this in before you begin.
- You will get a manual along with the chemical sterilizer that will guide you on the preparation of the liquid. Use that to prepare the mix.
- Again, similar to the boiling procedure, immerse the bottle and the rest of the accessories in the solution. Make sure there are no bubbles.
- Leave the equipment in the solution for about 30 minutes or as indicated by the manufacturer.
- You can leave the bottle in the solution till you use it next.
- If you use it immediately, take the bottle and other parts out and rinse and dry them completely with a clean cloth. Store it in the fridge the same way as before.
- Make sure you throw away the solution after 24 hours. Clean the container with some warm water and soap to remake the chemical solution.
The final method to wash baby bottles is by steaming them. Much like the boiling method, in this method also you will use high temperatures to sterilize and clean the bottles. Here’s how you can use this procedure.
- For this purpose, you need to have a steam (microwave or electric sterilizer). These are available in the market and even online.
- Clean the bottles, lids as well as nipples before you begin. Place the equipment with the opening facing down into the sterilizer.
- You will find instructions about the amount of water you need to add and how long you need to keep it on. Follow them to a tee.
- If you are using them immediately, follow the instructions to check how to drain or rinse and dry them.
- Alternatively, if you want to store them, you might want to check how to reuse the electric sterilizer again.
In all these methods, you are essentially killing the germs and removing any unwanted organisms present on the bottle and its equipment. Ideally, you do not need to sterilize the bottle again and again.
So how do you know when to stop sterilizing baby bottles?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if your baby is less than 3 months old, was born prematurely, or has a weakened immune system due to illness, it’s better to sterilize your baby’s bottle before and after use.
On the other hand, the National Health System in the United Kingdom believe that it is important to sterilize all your baby’s feeding equipment, including bottles and teats, until they are at least 12 months old to protect him from infection such as diarrhea and vomiting.
But if you feel the need to sterilize your baby’s bottle, you should do so. Like if he develops an illness such as thrush, you might have to sterilize the bottle before each use, especially the nipples and pacifiers.
Also, if you think the water used for washing the bottle might be contaminated, or if you live in an unclean area, it’s better to be on the safe side and just sterilize.
As far as cleaning and washing baby bottles are concerned, you need to bear a few things in mind.
How do I wash baby bottles and care for them?
In order to keep your baby bottles clean and sanitized, you need to keep a few key points in mind.
- Clean the bottle using warm water and soap after each use. Do not let the bottle sit with milk in it. Left out milk can curdle and stick to the bottle, which will make cleaning it again harder. It will also increase the possibility of germs infesting in the bottle.
- Try to use fragrance-free and dye-free soap in order to wash baby bottles.
- Disassemble the bottle completely before you clean it. So remove the nipple as well as any other equipment you have to clean.
- If you notice any discoloration of the bottle, try to use a fresh bottle. Usually, discoloration indicates the accumulation of milk fat due to inadequate rinsing.
- Washing the bottles with warm water and soap will be sufficient to kill germs immediately. After disassembling the bottle, you can wash it using soap and warm water.
- Keep a separate bottle brush and drying mat. Make sure you clean them thoroughly and regularly as well. This will ensure that grease or residue from other utensils is not passed on to the baby’s bottles.
- When you rinse the bottle, make sure there is no trace of soap left behind. Even minuscule specs of soap can curdle the milk and cause accidental soap poisoning.
- Let the bottles dry completely before use or before you put them in storage in the fridge.
Once you have washed and sterilized the baby bottles, the next step is to rinse.
How do you make sure baby bottles are rinsed and dried properly?
This is a crucial step because if the bottle is not rinsed properly, residue from the soap can be left behind. And as mentioned, it can cause accidental soap poisoning.
For this purpose, you can place each piece of the bottle under a fast yet clean water source. If the water is also boiled, it is even better. Make sure that the bottle feels and looks clean, and that it is soap-free.
Once the bottles are rinsed thoroughly, place them on a clean mat or towel for air drying. This way you make sure that in a sleep-deprived state you do not knock over any parts. You should also make sure to wash these towels and mats regularly.
Only when the bottles are completely dry should you store them away. This way you ensure that no microbial growth or moisture gets trapped within the baby bottles.
Washing baby bottles in dishwasher
Here in the Philippines, we like washing our dishes in the sink, with running water and soap. However, some Pinoy households are already starting to get the a dishwashing appliance to help them with their chores. But how do you make sure your baby’s feeding bottle will be washed thoroughly in a dishwasher? CDC gives the following tips:
- First off, make sure that the feeding bottles are dishwasher-safe before ever putting them in the machine.
- Take apart all the bottle parts and rinse them under running water.
- Place the parts in the dishwasher. For the small parts, make sure to put them in a mesh bag so that they don’t end up in the dishwasher filter.
- Run the dishwasher in hot water or a sterilizing setting to kill more bacteria.
- After the cycle, get all the parts and let them dry in a drying rack.
Shelf-life of a baby bottle
How to store baby bottles so that you can prolong their shelf-life while making sure that it’s safe for your baby to use?
After you wash and sterilize your baby’s bottles (using whatever method you prefer), make sure to air dry them thoroughly before storing them to prevent germs and molds from growing.
Once all the items are completely dry, assemble the parts together and store them in a clean and dry area to prevent contamination.
You can have a designated area or box for all your baby’s feeding bottles so they will not be mixed with other bottles that might contaminate them.
As far as the shelf-life of the baby bottle is concerned, check the condition of the nipple and the bottle. Usually, after three to four months you can change the nipples and use a fresh one.
If you use bottle liners, make sure to toss them out after each use. Check for the following signs of wear and tear:
- Discoloration of the nipples and the bottle.
- If the breast milk or formula comes out as steam.
- Thinning of the nipple. This means the nipple is weakening and needs to be changed.
- Cracks and tears. These are a clear sign in both the nipples and the bottles that they need to be changed.
Just remember, like every sensitive object, your baby’s bottle also needs extra love and care. So make sure you are careful and thorough when it comes to cleaning those baby bottles.
Republished with permission from theAsianParent Singapore