Tips on how to sterilize baby bottles: 7 safe methods

by Karen M. Walker, MD, FAAP


The best way for a new mother to establish a nurturing bond with her baby is through breastfeeding. But sooner or later, you will have to switch to other alternatives for feeding your baby. Nursing is quite inconvenient when you are running low breast milk, are in the throes of illness, or have to shuffle between work and home.

Your baby's need to breastfeed can be gradually phased out by switching to a bottle, which is the natural progression that most new parents adopt. Perhaps the greatest comfort is that it can be done by anyone at home, not just the mother. The most prominent con, however, is that the effort goes into cleaning and sterilizing the bottle.

After remaining is cocooned in the warm confines of the womb, infants take their own sweet time to adapt and adjust to the foreign environment of the outer world. Moreover, their immune system is still very rare and underprepared to take place and bacteria that are usually harmless to adults.


Thus, cleanliness with regard to everything your baby comes in contact with cannot be stressed enough. One key aspect of maintaining such sanitary standards is to keep your baby feeding equipment both clean and sterilized.



The mouth is the primary entry point to the body, so it is imperative that you take care of what your child is putting into his / her mouth. Sterilization goes a long way in eliminating any trace of microbes from your baby's feeding bottles and cleaning them thoroughly.


Reasons to Sterilize Baby Bottles
Babies have to be shielded from all-pervasive disease-carrying agents that riddle the environment, particularly in the initial few months after birth. Keeping your baby bottle and its accessories clean squeak is one such way to ensure the health and well-being of your tiny, vulnerable being.


Be it a glass, plastic, or silicone bottle, cleaning and sterilizing this feeding equipment is essential for the following reasons:


  • It is very easy for pathogenic microorganisms to accumulate and drive within the damp insides of the bottle. Bottles has had milk stored in them and are not cleaned properly thereafter the perfect breeding grounds for disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Subsequently, these microorganisms can easily access into your baby's body, which can lead to bouts of vomiting, diarrhea, and other infections and illnesses. [1]
  • A newborn possesses only those antibodies that have been passed on during the last three months of pregnancy. This form of passive immunity begins in the first few months after birth.
  • The water supply at home may be contaminated with disease-causing microbes or other impurities, especially if you do not use municipal treated water.
When to Sterilize Baby Bottles

It is a common misconception that brand-new, unused baby bottles are devoid of any germs and are safe to use without being cleaned first. However, you can never be too sure about where it was handled before it was packaged and sold to you.

Besides, a lot of chemicals went into manufacturing of these bottles, and they were exposed to a lot of hands-on hands on the factory, during shipping, and in stores before they reach you.

It has a lot of toxic and infectious agents that have latched onto its surface.

Thus, when you buy a new bottle, it is recommended to sterilize it with hot, soapy water, either by hand or in your dishwasher. This kind of cleaning service in the interest of your baby's health and safety as a bottle of any surface powder and germs. [3]

The initial sterilization effect will start after some time and the feeding supplies will eventually start up, germs from your home.

Sterilizing baby bottles is a necessary step beyond traditional cleaning to safeguard your child from germs. It aims at killing bacteria and other disease-carrying agents in a bottle through the use of chemicals and high temperatures.

There is a time when the need to sterilize your baby bottle is far more pressing than it is today. With the steady improvement in water quality, especially in the developed world, most homes are now safe and reliable. As a result, the need for sterilizing bottles beyond the first use seems redundant except in certain cases, such as:

  • If you’re using an old bottle that has been borrowed from someone else who is down, from sterilization is mandatory to dispel any pathogenic traces.
  • If your baby is recently sick, you may have a disease-causing bacterial disease without sterilizing might end up reinfecting the baby.
  • If you have a premature birth, it is less than 3 months old, you have to experience health issues such as chemotherapy, daily sterilization. being. [4]
  • If you don't have access to municipal water, it's not coming from a well or not with reliable water sources. of harmful microbes.
Frequency of Sterilizing Baby Bottles
While there are varying opinions regarding how many times it should be done.

If your baby is doing it, washing the heat cycle or scrubbing them by hand in hot, soapy water as soon as possible, should be enough to keep the germs away.

Once your baby crosses 3 months of age, you can do it without daily sterilization given that the items are carefully cleaned after every use.

If, however, the bottle is left uncleaned for your baby last used, that's all the time it takes for bacteria and viruses to fester. In such instances, most children are subject to your second round of sterilization.

Some experts inclined towards a more cautious approach that calls for regular sterilization, once every week. Given that sterilizing your baby feeding equipment is a pretty straightforward process that can be easily managed within half an hour, it's not a big ask when we consider what at stake. Just know that you are doing your best to keep your little one out of harm's way is well worth the effort.


Pre-Sterilization Ritual: Cleaning Bottle-Feeding Equipment
You can avoid the need to sterilize your baby's bottle-feeding equipment frequently by cleaning it after every feed. Besides, cleaning the bottles, teats, and other feeding equipment in hot, essential prerequisite of the sterilization process.

Here is a step-by-step guide for successfully completing the presterilization regimen: [5]

  • First and foremost, wash your hands with soapy water and dry them with a clean towel. If you detect cracks in the bottle's teat, discard it as bacteria can easily flourish in the tears.
  • Cleaning bottles, teats, and other feeding equipment often involves using a bottle brush that can be used as a narrow insulator of any bottle and any dried milk stuck on the surface. To clean the small opening in the teat, squirt water through it.
  • Turn the teat inside out and wash it in hot soapy water for a more thorough cleaning. It is preferable to scrub the separate dishes by hand, rather than in a dishwasher.
  • If you choose to clean your baby feeding equipment in the dishwasher, make sure the bottles, lids, and teats are facing downwards to clean them.
  • Lastly, the cleaning equipment with fresh cold running water before setting aside to air-dry.
This preliminary form of cleaning is important for removing all the traces of milk or formula left inside the bottles, but it does not ensure that the feeding equipment is completely sterile or germ-free.

Note: Using salt to clean texts is strictly prohibited to be dangerous for your baby.

Standard Methods of Sterilizing Baby Bottles 
There are various methods for sterilizing your baby's bottles, teats, lids, and other feeding equipment. You can pick and choose from the most available options below, depending on what is most convenient for you.

1. Sterilization by Boiling

Water temperature by boiling water works by raising the bacteria, enough to kill any bacteria left over after washing. [6] This is perhaps the simplest form of sterilization and does not require any special equipment. A basic kitchen pan or pot and clean water are all you need for this method to work. .


However, before you proceed with this method, make sure that the feeding equipment that you want to sterilize is safe to boil.


  • Fill an adequately sized pot or pan with sufficient water to cover the feeding equipment that you intend to sterilize.
  • Immerse the fresh washed equipment in such a way that there are no air traps.
  • Cover the pan with a heavy plate or lid that almost touches the surface of the water.
  • Place the pan on a set of high burner stove, and bring the water to a boil.
  • Let the water boil for at least 10 minutes, and set a timer so you don't forget to turn the heat off.
  • If you plan to prepare the bottle right away, clean your hands and the kitchen surface beforehand. In fact, disinfecting your hands before handling any sterilized equipment is mandatory regardless.
  • Use sterilized tongs to pull out the equipment from the pan. To that end, you may want to get into the water while it is boiling and leave them be for some time. Once the heat is turned off, allow the tongs to cool off a bit so that you don't burn yourself in trying to hold them.
  • As soon as you take the equipment out, assemble theids and test on the bottles straightaway.
  • Give the bottle a shake to get rid of the dripping water, if you need to use them right after sterilization.
  • If there is no urgency, place the bottle on a dry, clean dish in the upside-down position or the lid to get rid of the excess water and allow them to air-dry.
  • Once dry, refrigerate the bottles with the pressure on clean container to prevent contamination.
Note: Because the teats are usually too fragile to bear the heat for a prolonged period, they are likely to be cracked in this method. For this reason, it's best to boil them for no more than 5 minutes. Even then, regularly check them for any sign of heat-induced

2. Using the Microwave

Microwave sterilization works to sterilize baby bottles and teats. As microwaves that are regular household use invites of food spills, they are often hygienically unfit for conducting a sterilization process.



There are, however, specially designed sterilization units available in the market that also harness the power of steam. Such units provide enclosure for bottles in a plastic case, giving them a more thorough cleaning inside the microwave. [7] [6]


  • If you are using a microwave steam sterilizer or a standard kitchen microwave, make sure that the equipment is thoroughly cleaned before beginning the sterilization process.
  • You will also want to make sure that the incident of your microwave is devoid of any food residue.
  • When using a regular microwave, fill a bowl with water such as the feeding bottle, teats, rings, caps, and other accessories, get submerged in it.
  • Place the bowl in the microwave set on high for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Use clean, dry oven to remove the equipment from the microwave. Dump the remaining water, and let the water-dry equipment on a sanitary surface. Alternatively, you can also wait for them to handle them with your bare but clean hands.


3. Using Bleach

Bleach offers another nifty way to sterilize your baby bottle, without any access to basic amenities required for standard sterilization such as boiling water, steam, or dishwasher. This easy-to-do method involves the following steps: [4]


  • Mix 1 teaspoon of unscented bleach in 16 cups of hot water.
  • Immerse the feeding equipment in solution in a way that there is no air bubble formation at the bottom of the bottle.
  • Soak the bottle for 2-5 minutes, and then pull them out of the solution using sterilized tongs.
  • Place the damp bottles on a clean towel dish and allow them to air dry.
  • Any remaining traces of bleaching will occur naturally during the drying process, there is no need for a follow-up process that is taken out of the solution.
Note: Bleach should be used with caution; ventilation should be adequate and consistent with relevant occupational health and safety guidance. Improper use of bleach, including deviations, may reduce the effectiveness of disinfection and can injure health care workers.

4. Try Cold Sterilization 

The parents who are always on the move and rely on a baby bottle sterilizer can find themselves without electricity or boiling water while being out and about. Cold sterilization is perfect in such situations. [6] [5]




  • Add a sterilizing solution or tablet (available from supermarkets), and then plunge the baby items in it.
  • Keep the items submerged underwater for at least 30 minutes or preferably longer.
  • The same water and solution can be safely used but it should be changed after 24 hours.
5. Avail an Electric Sterilizer
An electric sterilizer is one of the most convenient tools for sterilizing your baby's bottle. This device gets the job done in no time and with minimum effort. High-temperature steam is used to kill the microorganisms in the bottles and teats. [7]



  • Simply place to clean baby bottles and teats into the sterilizing unit. Make sure the mouth of the bottle is facing downward to allow efficient sterilization. Pour clean filtered water as instructed in the user manual.
  • Switch on the device. Switch it off once the sterilization is complete.
  • Go through the user manual to check for instructions regarding how long the bottles can be kept inside.
Electric sterilizers are far more efficient than microwave or methods as they are the probability of any human fallacy.


Additional Method

Using UV Light

UV light can kill most microorganisms ranging from bacteria and viruses to mold populations. Working on this principle, UV light sterilizers can help you sterilize the teat of your baby's feeding bottle.

Although this method cannot sterilize your child feeding bottle, it is a small, lightweight instrument that can help you out while traveling.

Safety Tips

  • Always be alert when using hot or boiling liquids, if there are children in the house. Never leave them unattended or within reach of children to leave off burning accidents or injuries.
  • Be mindful when using steam for sterilization or can you just as badly boiling water.
  • Store chemicals and chemical solutions that are beyond the reach of children.
  • If you do not wash your hands, you have to sterilize the risk of transferring any lingering germs from your hand to the freshly sterilized bottle. This single lap can be undo all your concerted efforts and must be avoided.
Resources:

Masood MSA. Scientia Ricerca Inviting Innovations. Scientific Ricerca. https://scientiaricerca.com/srnuft/SRNUFT-01-00017.php. Published July 10, 2017.
Cronobacter Infection and Infants | Features | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/features/cronobacter/index.html. Published February 19, 2019.
Ma L, Zhang G, Swaminathan B, Doyle M, Bowen A. Efficacy of Protocols for Cleaning and Disinfecting Infant Feeding Bottles in Less Developed Communities. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. http://www.ajtmh.org/content/journals/10.4269/ajtmh.2009.81.132. Published July 1, 2009.
How to Clean, Sanitize, and Store Infant Feeding Items | Healthy Childcare | Hygiene | Healthy Water | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/healthychildcare/infantfeeding/cleansanitize.html. Published October 31, 2018.
Guide to Bottle Feeding How to prepare infant formula and feed your baby safely. Family Health Service - Guide to Bottle-feeding. https://www.fhs.gov.hk/english/health_info/child/12146.html. Published March 2018.
Renfrew MJ, McLoughlin M, Mcfadden A. Cleaning and sterilization of infant Public Health Nutrition. feeding equipment: A systematic review. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5553204. Published March 2008.
Towle D, Callan DA, Farrel PA. Baby bottle steam sterilizers disinfect home Nebulizers inoculated with bacterial respiratory pathogens. Journal of Cystic Fibrosis. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1569199312002329. Published December 23, 2012.

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