Newborn babies are highly vulnerable to disease-causing bacteria and viruses. It is crucial that the things that come in direct contact with the baby are kept germ-free. Feeding bottles and related equipment are the medium through which a baby is fed and viruses, bacteria, and parasites are tend to gather in them if not cleaned and sterilized properly, ultimately making the baby sick. Do you know what can happen if you don’t sterilise bottle feeding equipment?
What Can Happen If You Don’t Sterilise Baby’s Bottle?
The babies can be exposed to bacteria and germs that can cause diseases like Food Poisoning, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Hepatitis A, Stomach Flu, etc.
Even though the baby can fight off the germs associated with this illness, the common side-effects like dehydration can be hazardous for them.
Also Read: Can my child get his missed vaccination at later date?
Clean Before You Sterilise
Bottles should be cleaned thoroughly first, to make sure every trace of the milk is removed before sterilizing. This should be done immediately after the baby is fed to eliminate the chance of milk getting dry and settling on the bottle and the corners.
Procedure to Clean the Bottles:
- Wash the bottles in clean, hot soapy water, along with the teats (is called a nipple), retaining rings, and caps. Use a bottle cleaning brush to clean inside the bottle.
- Take an extra care to wash the teats as even a trace of milk left on them will survive the sterilization.
- After everything is washed, rinse them with running water making sure that all the detergent is removed.
Ways To Sterilise
There are a few ways to sterilise bottle feeding equipment and you can choose one, based on your convenience.
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Boiling is probably the most used method of sterilization. The idea is to raise the temperature high enough to kill any leftover germs after cleaning.
- After cleaning, place the bottles, teats, retaining rings, and caps in a clean saucepan and put it on the gas stove.
- Add enough water to the pan so that all the equipment are covered.
- Bring water to boil and then boil for 5-10 minutes.
- Turn off the stove and cover the saucepan with lid.
- Allow the water to cool down. Take the equipments from the saucepan, shake off any excess water, and store in a clean container in the refrigerator. Storing equipments in the refrigerator keeps them away from germs till the time you use them.
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This is the quickest and easiest way to sterilize bottle feeding equipment and bottles if you only have one or two bottles as it only takes around 90 seconds via this method.
- Ensure that the microwave is clean.
- Fill the bottle halfway with water and place them in the microwave. Remember to leave the bottles unsealed so that pressure cannot build up inside the bottle.
- Place nipples, rings, and accessories in a glass bowl filled with water deep enough to cover them.
- Set the timer for 90 seconds. Once bottles are done, put the glass bowl having nipples, rings, and caps and do the same exercise.
- Allow to cool before you remove these items from the microwave.
Note: Don’t put the bottles which are not microwave safe.
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#3. Electric Steam Sterilizer
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They are efficient and quick and take around 10 to 15 minutes to sterilize. Most of them have space for sterilizing around 5 to 6 bottles in a go.
- Place your bottles in the sterilizer ensuring that the all your bottles and other equipments like teats and caps are positioned with their opening downwards.
- Add water according to the device instructions.
- Press “Start.”
- Leave the bottle feeding equipment in the sterilizer with the lid closed.
- The bottle will be sterilized for 6 hours in the sterilizer so use it within that time.
#4. Chemical Sterilizer
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There is chemical sterilizer available in the market in the form of liquid or tablets that can be diluted in the water (preferably cold) and made a solution.
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions for making up the sterilizing solution and prepare it in a clean container.
- Place the feeding equipment in the prepared solution. Ensure they are fully submerged and there are no air bubbles.
- Leave the equipment in the sterilizing solution for at least about 30 minutes or as recommended.
- Take out bottles and teats only when you need to use them. Allow bottles, teats, and lids to drain before you use them or rinse them with cool (boiled) water.
- Change the solution every 24 hours. Clean the sterilizing container thoroughly in warm, soapy water, before making up a fresh lot of solution.
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How Often Do You Need to Sterilise Bottle Feeding Equipment?
It is a good idea to sterilize the bottles once a week or two, depending on the usage. Other than that, sterilize the bottles:
- Before using it for the first time.
- After your baby has been sick.
- If you notice build-up inside the bottles or nipples.
- If you live or are traveling in an area where tap water is not regulated.
Otherwise, Cleaning with soapy, hot water after each use is enough in daily routine.
When Can You Stop Sterilizing Bottles?
Though it is mandatory to sterilize feeding bottles at least in the first year of the baby, there is no harm in continue sterilizing till the time you are bottle-feeding the baby since the bugs that stick to milk curds in partially cleaned bottles can be particularly nasty.
You can also start feeding your baby in cups after a year as the cups are easy to clean with soap and hot water and there is no need to sterilize them.
Also Read: 8 Precautions in Breastfeeding when Mom is Sick (Including 5 Advantages)
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