Keeping your baby’s feeding gear super clean is very important.
Those teeny tiny bodies have weak immune systems, and it doesn’t take a lot for them to get sick.
Making sure that they’re properly sterilized is extremely important. And it turns out that it’s really simple to do it.
Here’s our guide on keeping your bottle sterilized in only 10 minutes.
Why should I sterilize my baby bottles?
Bacteria — this is a word that makes a lot of people cringe.
It’s also a big reason why you should be sterilizing your baby bottles: bacteria can grow very easily inside them, especially because you usually have milk stored in them.
If you’ve ever forgotten a baby bottle somewhere or just neglected to clean it in a timely manner, you should be very concerned about bacteria. In this case, it’s not enough to just wash them out with water.
Nope—it’s time to sterilize.
And don’t think that your brand new bottles don’t need to be cleaned. On the contrary: they’re probably full of chemicals and germs from being handled in the factory. Gross.
Fortunately, it’s very easy to sterilize baby bottles in your kitchen, and you won’t have to buy any products to do it! You can easily sterilize baby bottles using simple boiling water
The easy way to sterilize baby bottles.
First of all, gather all of the baby bottles you’ll be sterilizing. You can sterilize all parts of the baby bottles, including both the nipples and covers.
Here are the things you’ll need before you sterilize your bottles:
- A medium or large kitchen pan or pot depending on the size of your bottles or how many you’re going to be sterilizing at once. You’ll have to do your own judgment here.
- A set of tongs to put the bottles into the water and remove them.
- A small towel for air drying the bottles.
- First, wash the bottles with soap and water. Don’t forget to disassemble the bottle completely and wash away all of the residual soap.
- Fill the pot about 3/4 full with water and bring it to a boil. While the water is boiling, take the time to disassemble your baby bottles completely.
- The nipple of the bottle is a place that bacteria love to thrive! Once the water is boiling, place the bottles inside the boiling water using the tongs. You can use the tongs to push the bottles down into the water.
- Put as many bottles as you can into the water, but don’t fill it too much; you don’t want the water to overflow and spill out of the pan. Also, don’t put the nipple in with the rest of the bottle; use the tongs to hold the nipple in the water for about 30 seconds.
- Leave the bottle and the rest of the parts in the boiling water for at least five minutes; the longer the better.
- Five minutes should be enough to kill all of the bacteria, though. After they’ve been in the water long enough, simply use the tongs to remove all of the parts from the boiling water and lay them on the towel to air dry. If you want, you can hand dry them when they are cool enough, but just be careful not to burn yourself.
- Make sure that they dry out completely, and never use a dish towel to rub or pat them dry. This can leave lint or transfer germs back onto the bottles.
Should I sterilize my baby bottles every time?
For a normal, healthy baby more than 3 months old, it’s not necessary.
However, according to the CDC, if your child is under 3 months of age or has a compromised immune system, sterilizing feeding equipment daily (and that includes bottles) is highly recommended.
You should, of course, always wash the bottles after every feeding.
If you can wash the bottles out as soon as your baby is finished with them, it’s not necessary to sterilize them every time your baby uses them. However, if more than a few hours passes, or you forget to wash one out, I would definitely recommend sterilizing them.
When can you stop sterilizing bottles?
A reader recently contacted us with a question:
Hi! My son is 12 months old and is getting onto cow’s milk. I’ve been wondering, when can you stop sterilizing baby bottles? I’ve been doing it the entire time he’s been bottle feeding but it takes a lot of time every day and I’m wondering if it’s safe to stop yet? Thanks!
In general, you can stop sterilizing bottles after your baby is 6 months old. At this point, their immune system should be built up enough to fight off the bacteria on their own, without the need for sterilizing.
However, be sure to check with your pediatrician before you do so: this is only a general guideline, and your baby might need more time depending on their personal health.
It’s really not very hard to sterilize the bottles, and it only takes about half an hour from start to finish. Sterilizing them on a regular basis will give you the peace of mind in knowing that you’re keeping your baby safe from harmful bacteria, and that’s priceless.
Be sure to check out our guide to buying baby bottles — it’s full of great tips!