How to Sterilize Baby Bottles?
During the first year of your baby's life, they are at their most vulnerable to diseases and illnesses. While we can’t always stop these things from happening or causing problems. We can take all the preventative measures available to keep them safe and well. If you have chosen to feed your baby by a bottle, if they are not sterilized correctly, then you run the risk of bacteria building up. This can make your baby ill. Fortunately, sterilizing baby bottles and nipples are very simple to do. Here is all the information you could need to sterilize baby bottles.
Are you aware of BPA?
First of all, before you start anything there are is a few things to consider. Some plastics can contain BPA. BPA is a synthetic compound that has been linked to development problems in young children. So when purchasing baby bottles look for the sign that they are BPA Free. This should be very clear on any packaging. But if you are unsure seek some guidance from the staff in store.
What main equipment do I need?
First things first you need to decide on the bottles you are using. There are many brands out there, so this is a good opportunity to do your research. It might be worth speaking to friends and family to see if they have any recommendations. Then you can choose the method in which you want to sterilize. Which will be covered in more detail later on in this guide. You also need to consider getting specific brushes to clean your bottles with. These can be bought as a set and can sometimes come with the bottles you purchase.
What should you do first?
Before any sterilization takes place, your bottles need to be thoroughly cleaned. This means separating you baby’s bottles into as many pieces as possible. By washing the cap, nipple and bottle separately you are doing all you can to rid them of any dried milk in the cracks. Bacteria can feed of dried milk which is why this is essential.
It’s best to clean them in hot soapy water as soon as possible to avoid any milk drying up or smelling off. You should only use brushes that are just for the bottles. This avoids any contamination with germs. You should scrub each part as best you can, making sure every part is covered and soaked in the soapy water. You should then rinse all the bottles and equipment under cold running water, to remove any soap suds. This gives you time to make sure they are all clean and sparkling. Ready to be put into your sterilizer.
Cleaning your baby bottle nipples can be a little more tricky. There are specialist brushes small enough to clean them thoroughly. You could also turn them inside out to make sure any dried milk and soap have been removed before you sterilize them.
It’s also good practise to make sure they are dried before they are sterilized. Air drying is the recommended method to avoid any bacteria being added to them through towels or cloths. You can buy air drying racks which just sit on the side. Make sure they don’t sit in a pool of water. This can be a breeding ground for bacteria and can just undo all of your hard work.You can consider running your bottles thought a dishwasher. But just makes sure that your bottles are dishwasher safe.
The main methods available for sterilizing bottles
There a few different ways that you can sterilize your baby’s bottles. There is no right choice it just needs to be your preferred method.
This is the easiest sterilizing solution for your baby's bottles. There is an appliance for everything and sterilization is just one of them. You simply plug this in, place your bottles in and switch it on. It’s as simple as that. These electric steamers work with high temperatures. This is how they kill any germs or bacteria on the bottles or nipples.
Some electric steamers will not only sanitize your bottles but dry them with hot air afterwards. Making it a great product to have. Make sure you load them up correctly to get the full benefit of sanitisation.
Some steamers will allow you to sanitize in bulk, whereas others will only allow a few at a time. So work out how many bottles you will have before making any purchase. They can be quite expensive, so make sure you do some research into the different brands available.
Sterilizing in the microwave
Using the microwave means you can quickly and effectively sanitize your bottles. There are two different methods you can use. At first, some people tend to give their microwave a good clean. You may already do this as part of your cleaning routine. It wouldn't be advisable to sanitize your baby’s bottles in a microwave with food splatters down the side. If your’s isn't looking too great, it will be time to give it a scrub.
The easiest method to sanitize your bottles in the microwave would be to use a steam sterilizer. This is something that you place your bottles in that then get’s placed in the microwave. The steam sterilizer works in a similar way to the electric steamer but using the microwave heat instead.
Another method would be to wash your bottles and then fill them half full with water. Add them to your microwave and place it on for about a minute and a half. If you need to do the nipples and caps, then place them in a microwave safe bowl and fill so they are covered with water. Microwave for the same amount of time. Some say this method is great, but others prefer to use something alongside it
Whichever method you use don’t be too hasty to get those bottles out of the microwave. You rely on the hot temperature to sanitize them so you won’t want to burn your fingers and cause any accidents.
You may want to consider the boiling method. This requires a large pot filled with water. It would be advisable only to use this pot for sterilizing. But if you do cook with it make sure it thoroughly cleaned before you begin. Add your bottles to the pot. If they are plastic, you may need to weight them down, as they have a tendency to float because of their light weight. Once there are no air bubbles, place the lid on and boil for five minutes. Be mindful to check the nippes if you use this method, as they can be damaged by the hot water more with this sterilization method.
Sterilization in cold water
If you travel a lot where you don't have access to a powerpoint or a stove, then you may have to consider this option. Sterilizing doesn’t have to be done with heat; you can use cold tap water if you get a sterilizing solution.
Get yourself a tub and add some water. Submerge your bottles being mindful there are no air pockets. Then add your sterilizing solution following the instructions on the packet. You may need to use a heavier object to weigh the bottles down. Just like with the boiling method, the bottles can have a tendency to float due to the weight of them. Make sure the container you use is a clean food grade container.
Sterilize your bottles with a UV Light
This is a new technology but does have a good background to support its properties. For a while now, ultraviolet light has been used to purify water of bacteria, mold, and kill viruses. It is only just recently being used as a tool in baby products. At the moment, there isn’t any full sterilizer that uses UV light to sterilize a full bottle. They are only big enough to sterilize a pacifier or a nipple and cap. But I’m sure at some stage in the future this will change so keep your eyes open for them.
Do you need to sterilize a baby bottle after every feed?
It is recommended that a baby bottle is sterilized after each use. However, you can do that by just giving the bottles a thorough clean in hot soapy water. At some stage, you may even be able to put them through a dishwasher cycle. Providing they are dishwasher safe. Most mothers will continue to wash and then use an additional sterilizing method each time. This is down to your personal preference. As long as you use one of the sterilizing methods every few days, and keep all the bottles clean, this should be enough to keep any bacteria at bay. There is no right or wrong answer.
When can you stop sterilizing your baby bottles?
It is advisable to continue following these procedures until your child reaches the age of one. This is where they are less vulnerable to illness and disease. Many mothers, however, would recommend that you continue to sterilize your baby bottles until they stop using them. Again it’s every parent's choice.