Almost all of us have come across new parents who are extremely paranoid about germs around their newborn. Though it can sometimes drive others crazy, it is important for them to take every possible precaution for their baby’s health. And there is a reason for it.
Newborns do not produce antibodies for up to 1 year after their birth. These antibodies are vital for fighting all sorts of infections. If care is not taken, the baby can develop any number of illnesses, including a cold, a mild thrush or vomiting and diarrhea.
As it is not always possible to maintain a sterile environment around your newborn, you can make sure that the things that your baby uses are well sterilized. A key step is to keep the feeding bottles germ-free by sterilizing them regularly.
Sterilization involves using high temperature or chemicals to kill harmful bacteria or pathogens that may cling to the surface of bottles even after thorough cleaning.
If you are unsure about the right way to sterilize your baby's feeding bottles, we bring to you 4 easy ways to sterilize baby bottles.
Preparation for Sterilizing Baby Bottles
Before you begin the sterilization process, wash your hands with soap and disinfect the area where you will place the bottles to dry.
Then, thoroughly clean the bottles using hot soapy water to remove all traces of milk. Also, make sure that you clean all the parts separately, including the teats, the cap, and the barrel of the bottle.
Once the cleaning is done, follow one of the following four methods to clean and sterilize baby bottles the right way.
- Method 1: Boiling Water
- Method 2: Dishwasher
- Method 3: Sterilizing Tablets
- Method 4: Steam in a Microwave
Method 1: Boiling Water
Using boiling water is the best and most fool-proof way to sterilize baby bottles. The high temperature of boiling water kills any bacteria that may be adhering to the surface of the bottles. In fact, you can also use boiling water to sterilize glass jars and bottles for canning.
Caution: Be careful while working with boiling water to avoid any burns.
Step 1. Boil the bottle parts (except the teat) in water for 10 minutes
- Place a wide pan on the stove, fill it ¾ of the way with water and turn on the heat.
- Disassemble the bottle.
- Once the water begins to heat up, carefully put the bottle and its parts into the water using a pair of tongs.
- Do not drop the teat in the water. Simply hold it with the tongs in the boiling water for 30 seconds to sterilize it effectively.
- Let the other parts boil in the water for a good 10 minutes, then turn off the heat.
Step 2. Remove the parts from the water and let them air-dry
- Use the tongs to retrieve the parts of the bottle one-by-one.
- Lay the bottle parts on a clean towel until the bottle cools off. Allow the bottle to air-dry before you use it again.
Method 2: Dishwasher
To use a dishwasher to sterilize baby bottles you need to make sure that your dishwasher does have a sanitize cycle. Also, check whether the dishwasher's manual is NSF/ANSI Standard 184 Certification, which indicates it can clean bacteria from bottles and other dishware when run on the sanitizing or sterilizing cycle.
If your dishwasher meets these two conditions, then follow the instructions given below to clean and sterilize baby bottles the right way.
Single-Step Method: Put the bottle parts in the dishwasher and run the sanitize cycle
- Disassemble the baby bottle and wash it thoroughly with hot soapy water.
- Once done, place the barrel of the bottles on the top rack of your dishwasher.
- Place the teat, cap and other parts in the dishwasher basket.
- Run your dishwasher on the “sanitize” setting.
- Retrieve the parts and assemble the bottle with clean hands.
Method 3: Sterilizing Tablets
Sterilizing bottles can be difficult when you are traveling with your baby. This is the time when the germs get a chance to invade your baby’s space and make him or her ill. To prevent this, you can carry sterilization tablets with you, whenever you travel. These tablets are specifically made to sterilize bottles without the need for hot water and are safe to use on baby bottles as well.
Step 1. Dissolve the sterilizing tablets in water
- Fill up a large bowl with enough water to submerge the bottle completely in it.
- Drop two sterilizing tablets in it and stir with a clean spoon until they completely dissolve in the water.
Step 2. Soak the bottle parts in the solution
- Using a pair of clean tongs, drop the bottle parts in the solution.
- Check the instructions on the tablet package to determine how long the bottle parts need to sit in the solution.
Step 3. Retrieve the parts and let them air-dry
- Remove the bottle parts from the solution using the tongs.
- Let them air-dry before reassembling and using the bottle again.
Method 4: Steam in a Microwave
Steam works the same way as boiling water. Bacteria and other germs cannot withstand the high temperature of the steam and will die off as soon as they come into contact with steam. This represents another simple method to clean and sterilize baby bottles the right way.
Step 1. Place the bottle parts in a bowl filled with water and microwave it
- Fill a microwave-safe large bowl with water.
- Disassemble the bottle and put the parts in the water using tongs.
- Put the bowl in the microwave and heat it on high for 2 minutes or until you can see the steam building up.
- Let it sit for a minute until the steam dissipates. Do not try to hurry as the steam is scalding hot and may leave you with a nasty burn.
Step 2. Retrieve the bottle parts and let them air-dry
- Carefully retrieve the bowl from the microwave and remove the bottle using clean tongs.
- Let the parts air-dry in a disinfected area of your kitchen before you reassemble the bottle and use it again.
- Never use bleach to sanitize baby bottles.
- When sterilizing baby bottles, do not leave the boiling water unattended, especially if you have kids around.
- Sterilize the bottles after each use to keep them germ-free.
- If you are not going to use the sterilized bottle immediately, reassemble it and store it in the refrigerator in a clean container.
- Along with baby bottles, you can also sterilize toys and pacifiers using the above methods.
- You can also use an electric steamer to sterilize baby bottles.
- If your little one is suffering from a nasty diaper rash, we also have some simple home remedies to get rid of a diaper rash overnight.
- Or, you can check out how to make DIY homemade diaper rash cream here.