When we have a newborn in the house, we must pay a lot of attention to sterilizing baby bottles and nipples, as our baby is the most vulnerable during the first year of life. If we don’t sterilize the feeding equipment properly, bacteria can build up on the bottles and nipples and cause our baby to become ill.
There are many ways to keep our baby bottles and nipples clean; some of our favorite methods can be found below.
Things to Consider Before We Start Sterilizing
It’s important to pay attention to the following factors before we start sterilizing our baby bottles and nipples:
BPA and other harmful chemicals have been linked to development problems in children. Unfortunately, some plastic bottles contain BPA, which can get into our baby’s milk or formula once the plastic gets heated.
However, as most sterilization methods require us to use heat, we must find bottles that don’t contain BPA. Another option is purchasing a glass bottle – these are probably the safest option for infants.
- New bottles
We have to sterilize new bottles and nipples before we start using them. There is no guarantee that something is free of germs only because it is new and it hasn’t been used.
- Extra caution with a sick baby
If our baby has recently been sick, we need to pay special attention to our sterilizing routine as germs from bottles and nipples could make our baby sick all over again.
- Glass bottles
We need to sterilize both plastic and glass bottles unless the instructions on our glass bottle indicate differently.
Best Methods for Sterilizing Baby Bottles
Without further ado, here comes the list of the best sterilizing methods that will keep our baby gear clean and our baby safe and sound. Depending on our preferences, we can use different methods. Below are the most useful ones that have worked for us.
Using an Electric Steamer
Long gone are the times when we had to do everything manually. Now, there is an appliance for everything – even for sterilizing baby bottles and nipples. All we have to do is plug in our electric bottle sterilizer and let it do the job for us.
High temperatures that these steamers use will kill all the bacteria and germs on our baby’s bottles and nipples. Moreover, some models will dry our bottles with hot air and deodorize them.
In order to let the steam sterilize our nipples and bottles properly, we should always place them facing downward.
An electric steamer:
- Is easy to use
- Sterilizes, dries, and deodorizes
- Is BPA-free
Using the Microwave
We can also use our microwave to sterilize baby bottles and nipples. However, before anything else, we need to make sure that our microwave is clean. If there are any stains or food remains, we need to give it a proper scrub.
Once we have made sure that our microwave is clean, we should take a microwave steam sterilizer, fill it with water, and put our baby bottles, caps, and nipples inside. By putting everything in the microwave, we will let the steam sterilizer and the microwave sanitize our feeding gear quickly and effortlessly.
A steam sterilizer is:
- Easy to use
- Lightweight and compact
Another option includes washing our bottles, filling them halfway with water, and placing them inside our microwave, putting it on for around 90 seconds. By using a microwave-safe bowl that we’ve filled with water, we can sterilize our nipples this way, too.
In order to avoid getting burned, we need to be patient and let the bottles and nipples cool in the microwave before we move them.
Using Boiling Water
Boiling is another efficient sterilizing method. In order to get started, we will need a large pot and a lid. The boiling process isn’t complex; we should simply fill our pot with water and place baby bottles and nipples inside, submerging them completely. Then, once we’ve made sure that there are no air bubbles inside the bottles, we should cover our pot and let the baby gear boil for five minutes at least.
Investing in a high-quality drying rack is a good idea; it will allow us to dry our bottles and nipples properly. Also, since boiling water can damage baby nipples, it’s important to regularly check and replace them.
A drying rack:
- Has a built-in reservoir
- Makes accessories stay upright
- Can hold up to 12 bottles
Using UV Light
Ultraviolet light can kill bacteria, fungi, mold, and viruses, which makes it a great choice for sterilizing baby bottles and nipples. Unfortunately, as the technology is rather new, no UV device can sanitize a whole bottle at the moment – only nipples or pacifiers.
Nevertheless, these devices are a hit. They are portable, lightweight, and they can sterilize anything in less than three minutes, which makes them many moms’ favorite. They are especially practical for traveling when we don’t have many sterilizing options at our disposal.
A UV sterilizer:
- Has an automatic timer
- Kills viruses, spores, fungi, and germs
Using Cold Water
If we find ourselves in a situation where we don’t have access to a stove, we shouldn’t panic because it’s possible to use tap water and a sterilizing solution to sterilize baby bottles and nipples.
All we have to do is put the bottles and nipples inside a container, add water and make sure that everything is fully submerged. Then, by following the instructions on the package, we should add the sterilizing solution. It’s smart to use a plate or some other object that will keep the bottles underwater.
Also, if we are traveling, sterilizing tablets will be a more practical option than the solution.
- Sterilize in 15 minutes
- Kill viruses, spores, fungi, and germs
- Are safe for baby gear
Is Sterilizing After Every Use Necessary?
In most cases, no. Putting the bottles in a dishwasher (if they are dishwasher safe) or running them through soapy water should be enough. However, we shouldn’t skip sterilizing; in order to prevent bacteria build-up, we need to do it at least once a week.
Also, if our baby is sick, if we notice visible build-up, or if we have bought new feeding equipment, then we absolutely need to sterilize both the bottle and the nipple.
Until When Do We Need to Sterilize Bottles?
Most experts say that we should sterilize baby bottles and nipples until our babies turn one. At that time, they should develop a stronger immune system and a higher tolerance to germs.
However, if we want to be extra careful, we can keep sterilizing baby bottles until our children stop using them.
One more thing – sterilizing baby bottles and nipples is ultimately a choice. While we might feel that it is necessary, some mothers consider it a waste of time.