Are you standing in front of a sink full of the remains of your baby’s last milky meal and wondering how to sterilize baby bottles? Don’t worry. Team Peanut has you covered.
First things first: it’s important to keep all parts of your baby’s feeding system clean. Your newborn’s immune system is still a novice at protecting its little human, so avoiding germs is high on the priority list.
But how far should this cleaning process go? Should you be in full hospital-grade sanitation mode? Just what is the proper way to sterilize bottles?
Let’s take a look.
Do you really need to sterilize baby bottles?
Bottle sterilization is an extra cleaning step that is all about keeping germs at bay. But it doesn’t have to be complicated—and it doesn’t have to be forever.
If you have a newborn, it’s a good idea to sterilize a new bottle before you give it to your baby for the first time. Whether you need to sterilize it again after that depends on your unique situation.
Sterilizing bottles is more important if:
- The bottle is new.
- The bottle is a hand-me-down.
- Your baby has a weakened immune system for any reason.
- Your baby was born prematurely.
- You live in a place where you don’t have access to treated water.
So how do you sterilize baby bottles at home?
How to sanitize bottles baby bottles: 9 tips
How to sterilize bottles: 9 tips
Once a day (max) is fine. Wondering how often to sterilize baby bottles? Cleaning a bottle after every use is essential, but there’s a chance that sterilizing too often can actually damage your baby’s bottle. So if boiling baby bottles isn’t your idea of a fun time, then don’t stress - once a day is fine.
Use the sanitizing cycle on your dishwasher. Now we know how often to sanitize bottles, but we still need to know how to sanitize baby bottles. According to the CDC, the best method is to use the sanitizing cycle (AKA heating drying cycle) on your dishwasher. Easy! (Just make sure all the bottle’s parts are dishwasher safe.)
Do it before things get gross. If the milk curdles in the bottle, the whole job is a lot harder (and might be a little nausea-inducing).
Bring it to a boil. If you don’t have a dishwasher, pop your baby’s bottle into a large pot of clean water. Bring it to a boil and keep it there for about 5 minutes. Air dry. Simple.
Tap into the handy bottle sterilizing products on the market. From UV cleaners (so fancy, right?) to sterilizers that steam your bottles in the microwave, there are all sorts of products on the market that can help you with the task. (Be warned though, some of them are pricey.)
If you need to use bleach, dilute it as much as possible. Otherwise it can cause serious harm to your baby. If you have the option, think steaming and/or boiling before bleaching.
Opt for BPA-free bottles. BPA is a chemical that, if heated, can leak into your baby’s milk. Best to avoid.
Get ahead of the game, if possible. An urgent midnight feed coupled with the task of cleaning a bottle in a hurry is enough to tip anyone over the edge. If you can, at least put that bottle in a bowl of soapy water until morning, so the milk doesn’t get caked on.
You don’t have to do it forever. Sanitizing bottles is only recommended for up to 3 months. Once your baby hits this mark, that little immune system has really kicked into gear and can handle some germs, so sterilizing isn’t as important.
Ok, mama. There you have it. Another skill to add to the resume. Congrats!