Whilst sterilising your baby’s bottles can seem like an arduous task, ensuring that your baby’s feeding equipment is properly cleaned before every use is essential to avoid illnesses and viruses, such as diarrhoea or foot and mouth disease. For a first time parent, the world of sterilising can be a daunting prospect, especially at 5 o’clock in the morning on next to no sleep. But, take a look at our how-to guide and soon you’ll be a pro, sterilising bottles and dummies like you’ve been doing it all your life!
Essentially there are three different ways to sterilise your baby’s feeding equipment, no one is better than the other, and it’s just about choosing the right choice for you.
Cold Water Sterilising Solution
This is a great option if you don’t have easy access to heating equipment, such as a kettle or hob, as it simply requires a bowl of cold water and a sterilising solution. You can purchase special sterilising units specifically designed for cold water sterilising, however you can just as easily use a bucket or container (though they need to have a lid). Also, ensure that the receptacle you use is thoroughly clean, and not used for anything else.
Following the sterilising solution’s manufacturers guidelines, fill your chosen container with cold water. You must ensure that all the equipment is submerged under the solution, so you may want to use something heavy to weigh them down, such as a plate. Make sure there are no air bubbles trapped inside the bottles and teats when you place them into the water, and ensure they are left in the solution for at least 30 minutes. When you take them out, give them a good shake, and rinse each item with cool, boiled water.
This requires a large pan with a lid. As with the cold water sterilising, do not use the pan for anything other than sterilising.
Fill the pan with water and bring to the boil. Submerge the items you wish to clean, ensuring that they are kept below the surface of the water, again you may wish to use something to keep them under. You also need to make sure there are no trapped air bubbles. Keep the bottles in the boiling water for at least 10 minutes. If you don’t need to use the bottle straight away then keep the lid of the pan on until you need them.
The one downside of this method is that boiling can cause damage to bottle teats quicker than the other methods, so keep an eye on them and replace when necessary.
This is by far the most popular method nowadays, though it does require buying more equipment. There are two types of steam sterilisers, microwave or electric, that you can choose from.
The microwave version simply sits inside your microwave, and takes about 3 minutes to completely sterilise the item. The equipment will stay sterile for up to 3 hours after, if you keep the steriliser lid closed. You can also sterilise bottles individually in the microwave, without the use of a steriliser. This takes about 90 seconds, but you must remember to leave the bottles unsealed.
You can also buy an electric steamer, which you just plug into a socket. These take up to ten minutes, and hold a large number of items, as well as having a smaller rack to hold things like dummies or teats. As with the micro steamers, equipment can be kept sterile for a number of hours if the lid is kept on, which is great if you like to be organised for the day ahead.