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!
For our readers, babies are very susceptible to bacteria that cause vomiting and diarrhea, and these commonly develop in baby bottles used for milk. The easiest way to deal with this problem is by sterilizing them. You can wash them by hand, but it’s not going to eliminate 100% of the bacteria, because there are simply too many nooks and crannies that you can’t reach this way.
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.
If you’re interested, be sure to read our guide on how to sterilize baby bottles for the simplest and easiest way to do so.