Sterilising baby bottles for feeds

Sterilising baby bottles is really important to get rid of harmful bacteria, and once you've got the hang of it hopefully it will become second nature...

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Knowing how to make formula up correctly is vital (check out our guidance on how to do it) – but so is making sure  the bottles you use are squeaky clean too.

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You’ll need to both clean and sterilise your bottles and any expressing equipment before each use – as you’ll probably know – but how exactly should you do it?

One mum on our forum, Lgjstorm says: “I’m currently pregnant with my first baby, due in October and I’m starting to tackle the confusing world of feeding and sterilising.

“I’ve looked into different sterilisers and was going to get an electric steriliser however my kitchen hasn’t really got many spare plug sockets.

“So I’ve been thinking about cold water sterilising with Milton tablets as I have a huge kitchen island so can put the steriliser on that….

“I’m keeping myself up all night with all of my worries at the moment so would be great to settle my mind on a method!”

Bear in mind that you can’t sterilise bottles that aren’t properly clean of all bits of milk residue, so you’ll probably need to clean them with a bottle brush first.

Use a fresh bowl of hot water and washing up liquid rather than washing bottles after your dishes, turn teats inside out to clean thoroughly and rinse the bottles and teats well. Then you’re ready to to give them the full sterilising treatment…

Can you boil baby bottles to sterilise them?

Yes, this is definitely an option. Popping them in a fully covered in a pan of water for 10 minutes will do the job without the need for any new equipment.

You’ll need to keep the lid on the pan until you make up the bottles and also make sure that you don’t become distracted and forget the boiling pan.

What about chemical sterilisers?

Chemical sterilisers (like Milton tablets) take longer, but you can leave the bottles in the solution for up to 24 hours before making up bottles, which some people might reckon is a big bonus.

How do you use a steam steriliser?

Steam sterilisers are probably the most convenient and easy to use. You just need to follow the instructions carefully: most sterilise in under 8 minutes and can be left unopened for a few hours before making up bottles.You can buy either electric or microwave versions.

Best steam, microwave, water and electric sterilisers – our MadeForMums guide 

Can you sterilise baby bottles in the dishwasher?

Your dishwasher may have a hot enough cycle to sterilise bottles (though they should still be washed first) but you’ll need to make up the bottles straight away after the end of the cycle.

Check your manufacturer’s information to see whether your dishwasher will do. We’ve also got a great article on using the dishwasher versus a steriliser.

Can you use a dishwasher instead of a steriliser?

Read more

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