Our bubs are our most important possession, their safety and health are our main priority. One basic way to achieve this is with food safety and preparation: sterilizing their bottles, teats, dummies etc.
Sterilising your baby’s tools is also a good way to protect the money you have invested in providing the best for your little one. In this article, we’ll examine the 4 top ways of sterilising baby bottles and also help you choose a method that will aid in prolonging the life of your bottles.
I’ve said that sterilising baby bottles is a key way of keeping babies safe but you may be wondering why it helps. Indeed, your mother and grandmother most likely used boiling water to sterilise baby bottles (if they used them) but nowadays, some doctors are saying that this is no longer necessary as our drinking water is so much safer. So, is it really necessary?
It is true that many parents and some pediatricians have become less concerned about sterilizing baby bottles as well as the water that is used to make up baby formula. However, many are rethinking this reasoning due to contaminated city water supplies in some areas.
As such, sterilising baby bottles and teats is still widely regarded as important for protecting babies from bacteria, viruses, parasites and other pathogens that can make babies sick. Sterilising your baby’s bottles may help protect Bub from illnesses such as thrush, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Babies need to be cared for in this way because their immune systems are under-developed. For instance, a 12-month-old still only has 15-17% of an adult level of the IgA immunoglobulin, which is important for fighting the bacteria that causes gastro.
Now, I can hear you thinking that sterilization must be pointless once Bub starts putting everything in his/her mouth but this isn’t the case. You see, milk is a good material for growing some of the nastiest pathogens so unsterilized bottles have the potential to make your baby very sick.
Note that cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing are different processes. Cleaning removes foreign particles like formula, milk and dirt. Disinfecting destroys pathogenic (disease-causing) microorganisms and removes most organisms from the surface of an item. Only sterilization eliminates all forms of life including ‘transmissible agents’ such as spores.
Baby bottles should be sterilised every time they’re used, ideally directly before they are filled with formula, expressed breast milk or any other liquid. You can, however, sterilise them a little in advance if required; the exact length of time depends on the sterilisation method.
The National Health Service (NHS) advises caregivers to sterilize all baby feeding equipment until Bub is at least 12 months old.
Note that most dishwashers do not get hot enough to sterilize baby feeding equipment thus I don’t discuss it in this article.
This is an automated process that makes the process easier where steam is used to kill microorganisms.
To Minbie electric sterilizer make sure to read the instructions before using and follow it at all times. The steriliser is used with water and is a switch unit that automatically does the job once turned on. Check the instructions to find out how long sterilised items can be left in the unopened unit before they need to be re-sterilised.
It is a very simple method to use.
The method may be more effective than boiling or microwave sterilising because there is less room for human error.
This sterilisation method doesn’t cause bottles and teats to degrade as quickly as boiling does.
Electric sterilisers can be expensive and bulky.
Boiling is the most basic method of sterilising using heat. To sterilise your baby bottles and teats by boiling them, follow these steps:
Check that your bottles, teats and anything else you wish to sterilise are all able to be boiled safely.
Put all the items you need to sterilise into a large pot.
Fill the pot with water until all the items are completely submerged. You also need to make sure there aren’t any air bubbles inside any of the bottles or teats.
Bring the water to a rolling boil.
Boil the water for 10 minutes.
Leave the items in the pot until you’re ready to fill them. Or you can store them in a sterilized container in the fridge. When removing your bottles and teats, make sure the water has cooled enough that you won’t burn yourself.
Repeat this process if you don’t use your bottles and teats within 24 hours of boiling.
This is the cheapest method of sterilisation.
You do not need any specialised equipment to use this sterilisation method.
Teats tend to degrade faster with this method of sterilisation.
There is a risk you may burn yourself using this method.
All Minbie products can be sterilised by boiling. I recommend using this method at least the first time you sterilise a Minbie bottle and teats.
Cold-sterilisation chemicals work by disinfecting bottle feeding equipment. There are a range of sterilising chemicals available. Some are ready-made liquids, others are dissolvable powders and some manufacturers sell effervescent tablets. The active agent varies but many products rely on sodium hypochlorite or sodium dichloroisocyanurate for their disinfectant properties. In order for these chemicals to disinfect and sterilise baby bottles and teats, the instructions on the product must be followed to the letter.
To sterilise using one of these products, follow these steps:
Make up the sterilisation solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions (if you’re not using a pre-made product) in a dedicated sterilization container.
Put the items you wish to sterilise in your chosen container, making sure they’re covered by the sterilisation solution and that there aren’t any bubbles trapped anywhere inside your bottles or teats.
Leave your bottles and teats in the solution for at least the recommended time (usually about 30 minutes but be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions). Whatever container you choose to use for this process, make sure you have a plunger or floating cover that you can use to keep your bottles and teats completely submerged under the liquid for the entire time.
Leave your sterilised items in the solution until you need to use them, provided you don’t leave them in there for longer than 24 hours. After 24 hours, you need to replace the sterilisation solution.
You should wash the container you use to sterilize your bottles with warm soapy water before filling it with each batch of fresh sterilisation solution. Don’t store cold-serialisation liquid in a metal container otherwise, the chemicals will slowly eat away at the metal.
Once you’ve made up a sterilisation solution, you can add and remove items throughout the day for as long as the solution remains effective (this is usually 24 hours but refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific product you’re using).
This method of sterilisation can be used when you’re out and about and don’t have access to the equipment needed for other sterilisation methods.
This method of sterilisation shouldn’t cause your bottles and teats to degrade more quickly provided you only leave them in the sterilisation solution for the minimum amount of time required for successful sterilisation.
Not all baby bottles are compatible with the chemicals in these products.
Your baby may be sensitive to one or more of the ingredients in these products.
These products have a use-by date.
It can be more difficult to use this sterilisation method properly (for instance these products only work if the chemicals are used in the right concentration so if you’re not using a pre-mixed solution you need to be able to accurately measure the water you use to prepare them).
Leaving your baby bottles and teats in cold-sterilisation chemicals for extended periods of time may cause them to degrade more rapidly than other sterilisation methods.
This sterilisation method can be used on Minbie teats and plastic bottles (and associated parts). You must not put glass Minbie bottles in cold-sterilisation chemicals.
Microwave sterilisation uses steam (heat) to sterilise baby bottles and teats. You’ll get the best results if you purchase a sterilisation unit that is designed to be used to sterilise baby bottles in a microwave.
To use these sterilisers, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Be especially careful that you use the correct power setting on your microwave. If you don’t, you may melt your baby bottles and teats. You should also ensure you position all bottles and teats with the openings facing downwards in the steriliser. If you’re not using the sterilised items immediately, you can store them in the sterilising unit provided you leave it sealed but consult the manufacturer’s instructions to determine how long you can do this for.
Never put your baby feeding equipment directly into the microwave to sterilise it; not only will it not effectively sterilise your bottles and teats, but it will likely damage them as well. You should also ensure you never microwave metal items inside a microwave steriliser.
Sterilisation is accomplished quickly and easily using this method.
Microwave steamers are usually fairly inexpensive.
This method doesn’t degrade feeding equipment as quickly as boiling does.
Not all baby feeding equipment, including anything metal, can be microwaved.
You need to be careful to avoid being burned when using this method.
Microwave sterilisers can be bulky.
This sterilisation method can be used on Minbie teats and bottles.
Sterilising is only effective if everything is clean and hygiene: bottles, collars, teats, seals and any utensils used for preparing your baby’s food. It’s a given that clean hands are a must as well.
It is generally easier to clean a baby’s feeding equipment if they are washed in warm soap water immediately after a feed. Minbie bottles and teats are not dishwasher-safe. However, for bottles that are dishwasher safe, only the top rack should be used when washing your baby’s bottle.
The bottles and teats should be rinsed in clean water after washing to remove any residual soap. Ensure that the bottles are completely dry before storing so as to prevent mold and other pathogens from growing in them. Tip: don’t rinse your baby’s bottles after sterilisation as this may re-introduce pathogens.
Dispose of any bottles or teats that are cracked, chipped, torn or damaged. This will help to prevent injuries and eliminate sneaky places that pathogens can hide within.
Do not put your Minbie baby bottles or teats in the oven. Don’t put other plastic bottles or teats in the oven.
It is best to avoid heat sterilisation when bottles and teats contains BPA, especially boiling method as this may cause potentially harmful BPA to leach more rapidly. All Minbie products are BPA-free.