As babies' immune system are not yet fully developed, they are more susceptible to infection and illness than an adult or even a toddler. It is therefore important to sterilise all equipment until your baby is 12 months old.
Some mothers prefer to sterilize the bottle after each and every use, while others prefer to use 5-6 bottles, waiting to wash and sterilise all the used bottles all at once at the end of the day in preparation for the next. The latter helps to save on average at least 15 minutes of cleaning and sterilisation each time and approximately 1.5 hours each day. Such an approach is favoured by mothers in countries such as U.S., Western Europe, as well as Australia and New Zealand.
There are two key steps to keeping baby bottles safe. First, clean after every feed, straight after your baby has finished feeding. Second, sterilise the equipment.
* We've previously also share how to pick the best milk bottle for your baby here.
How to Clean feeding equipment
Wash hands. Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds.
Take apart. Separate all bottle parts (for example, bottles, nipples, caps, rings, valves).
Rinse. Rinse bottle parts and any other feeding items under running water. Do not set them in the sink.
Wash feeding items.
- Place all items in a clean basin or container used only to clean infant feeding items. Do not wash directly in the sink because the sink may contain germs that could contaminate these items.
- Fill wash basin with hot water and add soap.
- Scrub items using a clean soft or sponge brush that is used only to clean infant feeding items.
- Squeeze water through nipple holes to be sure they get clean.
Rinse again. Rinse by holding items under running water, or completely under fresh water, in a separate basin used only for cleaning infant feeding items.
Allow to air-dry. Place bottle parts, wash basin, and bottle brush on a clean, unused dish towel or paper towel in an area protected from dirt and dust. Allow to air dry thoroughly.
- Do not use a dish towel to rub or pat items dry because doing so may transfer germs to the items.
Clean wash basin and bottle brush. Rinse the wash basins and brush well and allow them to air-dry after each use. Wash them every few days, with soap and warm water. If your baby is less than 3 months old, was born prematurely, or has a weakened immune system, wash basin and bottle brush after every use.
We recommend using washing detergents for feeding bottles when cleaning. This is because general detergents are generally stronger and used for oils that are harder to remove. Feeding bottle detergents milder as they are designed solely for the purpose of removing breast milk or formula milk residue only. They are much safer than general detergents.
Some mothers prefer not to use detergents at all, however over time, this cause the oil residue from the milk to build up. This causes the bottle to be murky, and often result in an unpleasant or overpowering smell in the bottle as a result. This may sometimes be the reason for your baby to reject drinking or what mommies believed to be fussiness.
How to sterilize feeding equipment
Sterilising is the process of killing any harmful germs that may be clinging to surfaces of the bottles and other equipment.
For extra germ removal, it is a good practice to sterilise baby bottles at least once daily, especially when your baby is younger than 3 months, was born prematurely, or has a weakened immune system. This applies regardless if you are bottle feeding with formula or expressed breast milk. Daily sanitizing of feeding items may not be necessary for older, healthy babies, if those items are cleaned carefully after each use.
Before sanitizing, make sure you have cleaned feeding items, bottle brushes, and wash basins.
Sanitize all items (even the bottle brush and wash basin!) by using one of the following options.
- Place disassembled feeding items into a pot and cover with water.
- Ensure water covers all items and items not in direct contact with metal as this may damage feeding items.
- Put the pot over heat and bring to a boil.
- Boil for 3 minutes.
- Remove items with clean tongs.
- Place bottles and teats in the sterilizer with the openings facing down.
- Follow instructions for adding water to the unit and turning it on.
- Leave bottles in the steriliser until they are needed.
- If you are not using the bottles straight away, check instructions for how long you can leave them in the steriliser before you have to re-sterilise them.
Once the items are completely dry, put them back together and store them in a clean, protected area to prevent contamination.
We find it extremely important that oil residue from the milk is thoroughly cleaned from the bottles before sterilising. Failure to do so causes increased plastic degradation during high temperature sterilising. Repeated failure to thoroughly clean the bottles before sterilising is a main reason leading to the phenomenon of your baby bottles getting cloudier or less transparent.
Choosing the Best Milk Bottle for your Baby, click here.
The benefits of breastfeeding. click here.
How much milk does your baby need?, click here.