When can I stop sterilising baby bottles? Is sterilising baby bottles safe on holiday? If you’re anything like us, you’ll have lots of questions about baby bottles, so read on for all the info you need
If you use any equipment when feeding your baby, it needs to be washed and sterilised before each feed.
Sterilising babies’ bottles can prevent your little one from getting infections or stomach upsets. It will be an important part of your daily routine for the first 12 months, so it’ll pay off to become a pro from day one.
Anything that comes into contact with your baby’s milk needs to be sterilised, including bottles, teats, retainer rings, caps and any tubes. If you’re breastfeeding and express, you’ll also need to sterilise the breast-pump equipment.
Before you start sterilising
• Wash your hands carefully with warm, soapy water and wipe down any surfaces.
• Wash everything in hot soapy water using a bottlebrush to get right into the corners and turning teats inside out to ensure they are completely clean. Then rinse everything in clean water.
According to the NHS, there are three main ways to sterilise baby bottles and feeding equipment.
1. Cold-water sterilising
This involves soaking everything in sterilising solution. You can buy a special container for this or use a clean bucket or plastic box.
• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for making up the solution and filling your container.
• Submerge your feeding equipment in the solution, making sure there are no bubbles trapped in the bottles or teats.
• Put a floating lid on top of the liquid to hold everything down, and then leave it for around 30 minutes (or for the time stated in the instructions). Rinse everything with cooled, boiled water before use.
2. Steam sterilising
There are two types of steam steriliser – electric, which you plug into the wall like a kettle – and microwaveable. Read the instructions before you begin.
• Lift off the lid and load your washed equipment onto the tray, with bottles and teats facing down.
• Pour a small amount of water into the base of the steriliser and switch it on, or put it in the microwave for the required time.
• Be careful when you open the lid afterwards – steam can burn.
This is the cheapest way to sterilise bottles, as you don’t need to buy any equipment or solution. But make sure you check teats and bottles regularly for cracks because they can deteriorate more quickly when they’re being boiled every day.
• Put the feeding equipment into a large pan of water, cover and boil for 10 minutes, making sure everything stays under the surface.
• Take care not to burn yourself, and avoid leaving boiling pans unattended.
Sterilising baby bottles on holiday
If you don’t want to pack your steriliser, follow one of these simple steps instead:
• Buy some cold-water sterilising tablets and take a plastic box with a lid that holds all of your bottles with you. Follow the instructions above for cold-water sterilising.
• If there’s a microwave in your holiday home, buy some microwave steam steriliser bags. Pop your bottles into a bag and follow the instructions above for steam sterilising in a microwave.
• If you’re going on a long flight or car journey, you could buy pre-sterilised disposable bottles, or disposable bottle liners and teats. Although they can be pricy, they’re pretty much hassle-free.
By Emily Bamber