Mom’s Question: How Often Should I Sterilize My Baby’s Bottles?
Let’s talk about washing bottles. OK, this is not as glamorous as say, shopping for strollers or cute baby dresses. In fact, washing my baby’s bottles is my least favorite chore! But it has to be done, isn’t it? You don’t want your little one to get a bad case of stomach flu, that’s why. But perhaps, are you overdoing it?
How Often Should You Sterilize Feeding Bottles?
Bacteria love milk; it’s nutritious and delicious. Your pumped breast milk is like a germ spa. Given the right circumstances and time, they’ll multiple by hundreds and thousands. Nasty, isn’t it? So you’ve got to wash each and every time, no questions asked. How about sterilization?
1. Sterilize if the bottle is new
Your new feeding bottle might look all sparkling-clean straight from the store. It might look and smell nice, but it isn’t any pristine. It has been bathed in a cocktail of chemicals before packaging. Bacteria and insect eggs might also lurk in between the minute crevices, so boil them down!
Sterilize your feeding bottle by immersing it in boiling water, zapping it in the microwave or running it on a bottle sterilizer for at least five minutes.
2. Disinfect if the bottle has been dropped on the floor
Your aspiring little baseball pitcher might practice his throw with his feeding bottle. You can just wash and dry your baby’s feeding bottle but if it has gathered lots of dirt from the floor, better sterilize.
This is especially true if you have a pet dog or cat roaming indoors. The nipple is a particular germ magnet so there will be not much harm if you get OC and wash it daily.
3. Sterilize every other day during baby’s first four months
Your child is still in the process of strengthening his/her immune system during his/her first four months of life. It’s alright to sterilize your baby’s bottles every other day especially is your child is born as a preemie. If your little one is breastfed most of the time, you may just wash his/her feeding bottles every two days.
4. Sterilize every three or four days
Your little kid is already growing now. Perhaps he has learned how to turn and crawl and likes to put toys in his mouth. By this time your child has already strengthened his immunity, so he’ll be less likely to get the stomach flu. Per my personal experience and taken from my doctor’s advice, it’s alright to sterilize bottles every three days.
5. Wash every single time, wash before you sterilize
You can destroy the feeding bottle’s structure by boiling it daily. You don’t want the chemicals in the plastic bottle to leach out. You must not fail to wash your feeding bottles to be safe, but sterilize sparingly.
Clean your bottles in warm soapy water and remove traces of milk residue at every nook and cranny before you sterilize. I find it easier to wash feeding bottles as soon as it is emptied. I don’t want to wait for another two or three hours, I wash it right there and then if I can manage.
Excess milk tends to solidify and cling to the walls of feeding bottles if you let them stay a bit longer. Bacteria can also accumulate and multiply every second that they remain inside the bottle. It will take less effort, and you’ll use less soap if you wash the bottles as soon as the baby is done with it.
Various Ways To Sterilize Your Baby’s Bottles
1. Sterilize using a bottle sterilizer
This is the easiest way to sterilize your feeding bottles. There’s no need to boil and dip bottles, just place them in a bottle sterilizer after washing, and you are ready to go. Just take note to read the instructions on your first try.
2. Sterilize by zapping the bottles in a microwave
If you got a microwave at home, you could put it to good use. Remove each bottle parts and immerse them in a bowl of water. Run this for at least 90 seconds. Do not place any metallic object inside the microwave. Be careful also when removing the heated pan as it can scald.
3. Sterilize by using a steamer
Your electric steamer can also serve as a make-shift bottle sterilizer. Wash the bottle container components separately. Put the bottles, nipples and bottle lid upright with the opening upside down on the steamer. Use steam for at least 5-10 minutes to kill off all those pesky germs.
4. Use the old-school way of dipping bottles in boiling water
You may also boil a casserole of water and dip your baby’s bottles there. Leave the water and bottles boiling for at least 5 minutes. Shut off the fire and remove your baby’s bottle parts by using a tong.
You must also sterilize your baby’s milk scoop, teethers, and favorite toys. Another wise word of advice: don’t let your little one handle your mobile phone as it is super dirty, unless you boil it too (which is not advisable obviously!).
5. Dry and store bottles properly
Air-dry your feeding bottles before using them for your next feeding. Wash your hands before handling. Store them in a Ziploc if you are not yet using them. You may also store the bottles in the refrigerator, in a plastic bag.
Too much of a good thing can also get bad. Don’t overdo bottle sterilization or your feeding bottles won’t hold up long. Don’t buy just about any feeding bottle. You have to check if the bottle is dishwasher-safe and heat-proof.
I would recommend that you buy only feeding bottles that are from trusted brands. Even the best sterilization process can’t guarantee that your child won’t get sick. It’s alright also if your child likes to get dirty. All that germs and dirt can boost his immune system and make him sturdy.