Sterilising your newborn’s equipment is extremely important to avoid the risk of getting infections. This sterilisation concept has been around for years, and is used by healthcare practitioners in hospitals and by parents at home.
This blogpost will share some helpful advice regarding sterilising your baby’s feeding equipment, from what it is to different sterilisation methods. Let’s begin with the basics…
What is Sterilising?
Sterilising is a special way of cleaning your baby’s feeding equipment including bottles, teats, breast pumps, and toys to ensure they are completely free from harmful germs that can make your baby ill.
During the first 12 months, your baby’s immune system is still developing which means they are more vulnerable to germs than older children and adults. Common problems are tummy upsets (gastroenteritis), often caused by bacteria breeding in the milk or food traces left in bottles, teats and pumps, and oral thrush.
It’s extremely important to clean feeding equipment prior to sterilising. The easiest way is to wash thoroughly with a baby specific washing up liquid, using the brush to get through to hard-to-reach areas of the equipment, and rinsing thoroughly.
When using a dishwasher, make sure to place all the equipment face down to avoid filling them with dirty water.
There are three different ways in which you can sterilise your baby’s feeding equipment:
Cold Water Sterilising
The cold water sterilising method refers to using cold water and a sterilising solution such as sterilising tablets or sterilising solution.
This method is extremely easy to use. Simply use cold tap water and either a cap of sterilising fluid or 1 sterilising tablet, inside a cold water steriliser. Items are sterilised after a specific amount of time (check manufacturers instructions) and can remain in the solution for 24 hours. There are only pros with this method as it’s quick and easy and there’s no need for electricity.
You can use a microwave steriliser to steam sterilise your baby’s equipment. Simply follow the instructions and ensure all bottles, teats and accessories are facing downwards in the steriliser. There are combi and electric sterilisers. On average, the combi sterilisers can steam sterilise all the equipment in 2-6 minutes depending on your microwave, while the electric sterilisers can sterilise everything in 10 minutes. However, each manufacturer has different timings, check their instruction booklet for more information.
If you don’t have a steam or cold water sterilisers, you can use the good old traditional boiling method. Simply boil water in a saucepan, submerge the equipment in boiling water for around 10 minutes and they’re ready to be used.
However, the only downside of this method is that the heat can damage the items, and therefore need replacing more often.
What Should Be Sterilised?
Any equipment that comes into contact with baby’s mouth should be sterilised. This includes feeding equipment, soothers, spoons, teethers and toys. Generally, you can leave the bottles inside the steriliser with closed lid for up to 24 hours. This is a great reassurance for mothers that like to plan everything ahead and have the baby’s sterilised products ready for use whenever needed.
How Long Do I Need to Sterilise My Baby Bottles?
You should sterilise all equipment for the first year of a child’s life while their immune system is developing. After this, you should continue to sterilise bottles and teats for as long as the baby is using them.
What to Do After Sterilising?
Before taking the equipment out of the steriliser, assembling the pump, or preparing to feed, make sure to have properly washed your hands and cleaned the area where you’ll be placing the equipment.
You can also leave all items in the sterilisers until you need them. This will keep them safe and sterilised.
We hope our advice has been useful in helping you understand why you should sterilise your baby’s equipment and how to do it. For more expert advice on pregnancy, breastfeeding, birth preparation, maternal health and lifestyle, check out our Education & Support section. While if you’re looking to get feeding products for your baby, look no further than our range of products here.
Can I stop sterilising bottles at 6 months?
All feeding equipment, including bottles and teats, should be sterilised for the first 12 months to protect your baby from infections.
When can you stop sterilising baby bottles?
Baby bottles should be sterilised for as long as they are being used for feeding, especially for the first year of your baby’s life.
How long do bottles stay sterile?
Sterilised bottles can be left in the steriliser until needed, however it is recommended that they are used or re-sterilised after 24 hours.
How to store sterilised bottles
After sterilisation, it is recommended to leave bottles in the steriliser until your baby’s next feed to avoid any germs or bacteria. Sterilised bottles can also be kept within a sealed container in the fridge.