Do you ever get worried thinking whether your infant’s bottle is clean and sterilized while feeding them? Being a parent is not an easy job, and it comes with a full set of responsibilities to ensure that your little one is safe and healthy. Moreover, if the bottles are unsterilized, harmful bacteria might get into your child’s digestive system and therefore compromise their health.
Although sterilizing toddler bottles is compulsory, the process might feel overwhelming if you don’t have complete knowledge about it. So, to get all your questions answered about the sterilization of bottles of infants, follow this detailed guide.
When to stop sterilizing bottles?
Although sterilization is much required, you don’t have to repeat the process at a stretch. In other words, sterilizing bottles of your infant can be done once a week. Otherwise if the water in your region is contaminated, you are recommended to sterilize for 2-3 days a week. Moreover, you need to practice this method until your infant is 1 year old. After that, you can either decrease the frequency of sterilizing or completely stop it, as per your pediatricians’ guidance.
Perhaps by understanding the right frequency to sterilize those bottles, you will earn some sleep, even if for a few hours! But you will be able to overcome everything with time, patience, and a bit of cautiousness. Now that you know the right time to stop sterilization, read the next section to understand its need.
Why is the sterilization of bottles essential?
When infants are born, their immune system is not strong enough to fight bacteria present in our environment. Therefore parents need to take necessary measures to prevent the interruption of bacteria in their toddler’s bodies. If you find your infant falling sick often, then feeding them in unsterilized bottles might cause it. Likewise, after sterilizing the toddler bottles, the germs and bacteria in the bottle’s nooks will be gone for good.
Furthermore, if you relate to the following situations, sterilization is highly required:
- Your toddler has not been feeling well for the last few days.
- You have had a premature delivery.
- Your child has had health conditions since birth.
- You are using second-hand milk bottles to feed your child.
- You do not have access to clean and pure drinking water.
Even if your little one can fight off the germs and bacteria, they have to bear the symptoms. Often vomiting and dehydration are associated with it, and these can impact the delicate ones severely.
Must Read: How To Teach Your Toddler To Walk
What are the different methods of sterilization you should follow?
With the progression in technology, the number of effective sterilization methods you can follow has also increased. Regardless of the sterilization method you follow, the first step remains the same. Before moving on to the process, rinse your bottles with hot water to remove any milk residue.
You can follow any one of these methods or a mix and match these, as per your convenience.
1.In the microwave oven
Many parents often wonder ‘how to sterilize toddler bottles in the microwave’ and whether the method is effective. Well, this section will answer all your queries. You will also know how to use your microwave to sterilize your infant’s feeding equipment.
Before beginning the sterilization process, please make sure that your microwave is spotless. Also, this process will work best if you have a microwave sterilizer installed.
- Place clean bottles in the sterilizers with their openings face down.
- Now read the instructions of your microwave sterilizer and add water to the unit accordingly.
- Leave the bottles inside the microwave oven according to the instructions of the leaflet.
- However, if you are not using the bottles just after sterilizing them, you can leave them in the sterilizer for a specific time.
Sterilizing using the microwave is convenient for new parents. You can tend to your infants, and the microwave will turn off automatically after the process is complete.
2.Boiling in water
This is probably the easiest sterilization method you have come across. All you will need for this a large pot, water, and some heat to trigger the process. This process works best even if you want to sterilize a large batch of bottles at one go.
Also, if you have been wondering ‘how to clean infant bottles without soap,’ follow all the steps carefully.
- Place all the unsterilized bottles and other feeding equipment on a large saucepan over the stove but don’t turn it now.
- Fill the saucepan with enough water so that all the bottles are submerged in the water, and there are no air bubbles formed.
- Now you can turn on the stove and let the water boil for more than 5 minutes.
- After that, you should turn off the stove and let the saucepan cool down before touching it.
- While it is cooling down, you should wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Also, disinfectant the surface where you are planning to store the bottles when not in use.
- Now one by one, take out the bottles from the saucepan while shaking off the excess water.
- The bottle is now ready for use, but you can store it if you are not using it right after sterilization. To do so, open the bottle’s lid and put it inside the bottle and then place the bottle inside a clean container and refrigerate it.
- If you are not using the bottles within the next 24 hours, you would have to repeat the sterilization process.
If you think that sterilizing your infant’s bottles with boiling water might not kill all the bacteria, follow this method. This sterilization method involves using chemical sterilizers along with water to sterilize the bottles. Chemical sterilizers come in the form of disinfectant solutions and even tablets utterly soluble in water. After getting hold of the chemical sterilizers from a brand of your choice, follow this method:
- Open the package, find the instructions, and start reading it.
- Make the sterilization solution according to the instructions of the manufacturer.
- After making the solution, submerge the bottles entirely in it. While doing so, make sure that no air bubbles are being formed.
- Now you can leave your toddler’s bottles into the solution for a specific time, usually 30 minutes.
- After allowing it to sterilize, you can use the bottles right away. However, if the feeding time is some time away, keep the bottles in the sterilizing solution.
- Before feeding your child, you don’t need to wash off the sterilizing liquid as this will again expose the bottles to the bacteria and germs.
- Once you are done feeding, you need to make a fresh batch of the solution and continue the process.
- But before sterilizing it again, you would have to wash off the traces of the sterilizer from the bottles by using hot soapy water.
To add in more ease and convenience into the sterilization process, these steam sterilizers were introduced. Now this sterilization process follows a similar methodology with that of boiling in heat to kill germs. Also, parents who either live in urban cities or don’t prefer to use their stove would find this method handy. Because it does not need a microwave or stove, you can plug it in and let electricity work its magic. If you are wondering how to use steam sterilizers, then read this precise set of instructions:
- Before starting the sterilization, clean your infant’s bottles with a solution of soap and water.
- Now while placing the bottles into the sterilizer, you will have placed the bottles downwards. This is being done to ensure that steam enters the inner surface of the bottles.
- You will have to add a specific amount of water. To know the exact amount, please read the instructions manual carefully.
- After the sterilization process is complete, the machine will turn off automatically.
- If you don’t need to use the bottles right after sterilization, it is better to leave them sterilizer. In case you are going to leave them for more extended periods, it is better to re-sterilize them before feeding your toddler.
How often should you sterilize your infant’s bottles?
You should get into a regular practice of sterilizing your little one’s bottle just after feeding them. As germs have a particular affinity for foods, they tend to get accumulated in the food residue. So get into a routine of washing your hands first and then cleaning the bottles with warm soapy water. If you have dishwashers, don’t hesitate to put the bottles in it and switch it on. Just a couple of rinse cycles will thoroughly clean every nook and crook of the bottles. Now, if you are wondering how often to sterilize infant’s bottles, then stay with us!
Contrary to popular belief, you are not supposed to sterilize your child’s bottle after every mealtime. But if you have purchased a new bottle from the market, don’t use it before you sterilize it properly. To be on the safest side, you should sterilize your toddler’s bottles at least once every week. Although older kids don’t benefit much from sterilization, you should get going with it until your child turns a year old.
What are the dos of sterilizing you should keep in mind?
After scrolling through the various sterilization methods, you might have realized that sterilization is not a daunting task! Although it is super easy and anyone can do it, here are some things you should remember before attempting it:
- Before starting the sterilization process, check whether bottles and other feeding equipment are clean. If not, then wash them with warm water, and they are right to be sterilized now.
- You would need a surface to keep your sterilized bottles after the process. So to ensure that the surface is germ-free, disinfectant it beforehand.
- But don’t use wipes or towels to wipe off the excess water from the bottles. Because often, the towels and wipes might not be germ-free.
- The best practice is to keep the bottles inside the sterilizer until your little one’s mealtime. Furthermore, sterilizing the bottles inside the saucepan, close the lid until you use it.
- But if you are not using the bottles after 24 hours of sterilization, then no worries. Just keep the bottles into a dry surface until it dries off. After that, you will have to store the bottles inside a clean container.
What are the safety tips every parent should remember while sterilizing?
Even if you try wholeheartedly to stick to the instructions listed above, mistakes are common. However, since you cannot compromise your toddler’s health, you need to be extra careful to avoid such mistakes.
- When sterilizing using boiling water on a saucepan or steam sterilizer, make sure your child is not around. These can cause accidents in the blink of an eye and ensure that your baby is not in the same room.
- When shopping for your newborn bottles, look for glass bottles as they adapt to heat quickly. The only downside of glass bottles of them being brittle and cracking because of the slightest impact.
- Parents can also buy plastic bottles, but first, they have to check the product label. If the label states that the plastic consists of toxic substances like BPA as this might cause food poisoning.
- If you find your newborn acting all fussy while feeding on a particular bottle, replace it.
- Some bottle nipples are not resistant to high heat, and it disintegrates. So please read the instructions before placing it in boiling water.
Although sterilizing the bottles of your little one might feel intimidating initially, you will get used to it. Always wash your hands with sanitizers before taking care of the sterilization process as germs might creep into the bottle from your hands. Furthermore, if you are using a chemical sterilizer make sure it is out of reach of your kids.