Breastfeeding is the healthiest and most hygienic way to feed your newborn, but you cannot do it forever. When you switch to bottle feeding, try to keep the environment as sanitary as possible. Although it may not be possible to create a totally germ-free environment, a good start is to sterilise baby bottles and feeding equipment. Sterilising baby bottles eliminates almost all germs and bacteria that can spread infections that make your baby ill.
Why sterilise baby bottles?
Babies below 12 months have an immature immune system. They will start vomiting or get diarrhoea if infected by bacteria from an unsterilized feeding bottle. Whether you use bottles to store breast milk or formula milk, it is essential to kill these germs by sterilising your infant’s bottle and teats before every feeding.
How to sterilise baby bottles
The first thing is to put all your baby’s feeding and nursing accessories together. This includes your baby bottles, breast pumps, pacifiers, teethers, soothers, sippers, cups, and spoons – basically, anything used to feed your infant. Then it is all about killing the harmful microorganisms.
With Steam Sterilisers: Electric steam sterilizers are a wonderful and convenient way to kill germs in your baby’s bottle-feeding equipment. You can find these easily online nowadays.
Without Sterilisers: Moms who invest in sterilizers and warmers have it easier. But if you cannot get hold of a good one, here are some alternative methods.
- Microwave: Many baby bottles can be easily sterilised in the microwave. Leave the bottles uncapped and microwave for 90 to 120 seconds depending on the wattage.
- Boiling Water: Feeding bottles are sometimes not suited for boiling, but if they then submerge the bottles and other equipment completely in water. Use a new pan with a lid and boil for at least 10 minutes.
- Cold-Water Sterilising: Feeding bottles and accessories can be sterilised with cold water dissolved with sterilising solution. This solution kills germs effectively.
After your baby’s feeding equipment is sterilised, you need to take a few more precautions:
- Clean and disinfect the work surface
- Wash and dry hands
- Place a sterile bottle on the work surface
- Using sterilised tongs, put the teat and cap the bottle
- Bottles quickly lose their sterility if they are left out for long- then re-sterilise them.
Until what age should you sterilise baby bottles?
For the first year, sterilising baby bottles and feeding equipment is a must. Your baby is still developing its immunity and resistance to bacterial and viral attack. It is easy to pick up infections from nasty bugs that stick to milk curds in clean feeding bottles. The only way to remove them is through sterilisation.