When you opt for bottle feeding, the sterilization of bottles and its attachments is highly important. Little negligence in cleaning process might lead to loose motions or constipation in your lo. There are many ways to sterilize your baby’s feeding bottles and equipment like Cold Water sterilizing solution, steam sterilization and also by sterilizing with water boiling method.
The following cleaning and sterilizing process is applicable to all feeding equipment you use for your baby, be it EBM (Expressed Breast Milk) or infant formula.
So before you head to sterilize, you need to ensure that the baby bottles and its equipment are clean. Following are the steps to clean your baby bottles and its attachments;
- There are lot many options for baby detergents available in market. Always opt for alcohol free and fragrance free solution. Though I personally recommend not using soap for cleaning baby bottle for baby of 0-6 months. Just remember simple thing, as soon as your lo is done with feeding detach all the parts of bottle like ring, nipple, bottle cap. Then clean them in a hot water, you may use soapy water also, if possible after a feed. Use bottle and nipple brush to clean the bottles thoroughly in-out and within the creases.
- Just before sterilizing, rinse all parts of baby feeding bottle with clean and cold running water.
I have been travelling since my lo was less than 3 months old, so I had to opt for many sterilization methods. Please read following methods to sterilize and select one as per your convenience and requirement.
Steam sterilizing can be done either with electric steamer, microwave or home built steamer. When using electric steamer, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions manual as there are several different types of sterilizers. So follow as directed in the manual. When using sterilizer ensure that the openings of the bottles, rings and teats are facing down in the sterilizer. Manufacturers will give guidelines on how long you can leave equipment that you are not using immediately before it needs to be re-sterilized.
If you have microwave, then it becomes simpler. The microwave is a quick, easy, and safe way to safe baby bottles. Always ensure that the inside of your microwave is clean with hot water and mild detergent before using it to sterilize baby bottles. Then, clean the baby bottles using mild baby detergent or dish-washing liquid and hot water. Then place the baby bottles in the microwave bottle sterilizer with the correct amount of water. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for microwave time.
Also if you do not have a , you can still use your microwave to sterilize baby bottles. It’s easy peasy, just after cleaning the bottles, pour bottle with one half full with water and place inside the microwave leaving the lids off. Then take a bowl, fill it with water and submerge, the rings, teats, caps, lids and nipples in a bowl, and place that in the microwave. Next, microwave the half-filled bottles, and bowl of teats, nipples and rings for maximum of 2-5 minutes. Wait at least five minutes before removing the baby bottles and tops from the microwave. Then remove and allow them to air dry before storage or use. It is best to sterilize your baby’s bottles for his or her first year of life.
Sterilizing by boiling
This is the most effective and handy method and can be done anywhere. But when dealing with hot boiling water, please take utmost care to ensure safety and avoid mishaps. Also see to it that hot bowls and water are not left unattended, discard the hot water just after use so that no accident can take place.
Also see to it that the bottles/feeding equipment you use, are safe enough to be sterilized by boiling method. While using the boiling method to sterilize the baby bottle, the teats tend to get damaged faster than usual. So keep the regularly check that teats and bottles are not torn, cracked or damaged. Just like any other method of sterilizing, just detach all parts of baby feeding bottle, and wash them with water or soapy solution. Wash them once again under cold running water, leaving no traces of baby detergent. Take a wide mouthed vessel, in fact dedicate one vessel exclusively for sterilizing your lo’s baby bottles. Fill the vessel almost 75-80%, and boil it for at least 10-15 minutes. Switch off the stove/gas, put the baby bottles and its attachments, and see to it that they are fully submerged. Take a clean lid and close it. Meanwhile wash your hands clean the surface or the drying racks where you will put all bottles and it’s attachments to air-dry. If the bottles are not being used immediately, they should be put into the racks, air dried and assembles together fully with the teat and lid in place. This will prevent the sterilized bottle from being contaminated, along with the inside and outside of the teat, with covering bottle cap.
Cold water sterilizing solution
Being in India, I have had never come across the Cold water Sterilizing solutions. But lot of my mommy friends and readers in UK, US and Australia use them. They firmly believe that one has to follow the manufacturer’s instructions as it is, just the way we do it for formula. Also make sure that you change the sterilizing solution every 24 hours or as per instruction provided in the manual. And leave the bottles and it’s attachments in the sterilizing solution for at least 30 minutes. Make sure that there is no air trapped in the bottles or teats when putting them in the sterilizing solution and Keep all the bottle parts under the solution with a floating cover on it.
If you do not have Cold Water Sterilizing Solution, then you may also, purchase non-toxic sterilization tablets such as Milton, fairy and let it dissolve in a container filled with cold water. Put the bottles and its parts into it; let it soak in the water for a minimum of 30 minutes. They can be rinsed when finished and are safe to use. Please note when using cold water sterilizing method use the bottles immediately after sterilization.