Birth, Baby & Family, Feeding, Pregnancy, Birth & New Baby Guide

Sterilising Basics

If you are using bottles for formula or breastmilk, they need to be cleaned and sterilised before your baby uses them. There has been much discussion about whether equipment used with breastmilk needs to be sterilised because breastmilk is without the potential bacteria that could be in formula. The guidance doesn’t distinguish between breast or formula.

The NHS guidance for cleaning and sterilising your bottles includes…
cleaning bottles and teats in hot water as soon as possible after a feed, using bottle and teat brushes to clean thoroughly and then rinsing with cold water.

After an initial clean with bottle and teat brushes you can use the dishwasher to continue to clean bottles and teats but they will still need sterilising.

You can sterilise with either…

  • a steam steriliser – following the instructions, as each steriliser can be slightly different. These often hold a few bottles and takes a few minutes.
  • microwave sterilising – some bottles can be sterilised individually in the microwave or you can use a microwave steriliser – but make sure it fits in your microwave.
  • boiling water – boil bottles and teats in a pan of water for 10 minutes, making sure they stay under the water. Use a lid and, if possible, a pan that is only used to sterilise your bottles.
  • cold water sterilising – follow the instructions on the sterilising solution you are using but keep the bottle/teats under the water. You need a lidded bucket or container and it takes about 30 minutes.

After sterilising…

You can keep the bottles in the steriliser until you need them or you can allow them to dry on a clean surface and then put the bottles together with a the lid over the teat ready for use.

It’s also important to check your bottles and teats for deep scratches, tears and cracks as these will need to be replaced.

Janine Smith – a specialist in pregnancy, birth & early parenting
Birth Preparation | Postnatal Sessions | Baby Massage | Weaning | 1:1 Parent Support

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