Once your baby is born, you will spend the next 12 months sterilising everything that comes into contact with their mouth. This includes feeding equipment, soothers, spoons, teethers and toys. During the first year, a baby is most vulnerable to illnesses. If bottles aren't sterilised, viruses, bacteria, and parasites can gather and make your baby ill. They could develop anything from mild oral thrush to tummy upsets (gastroenteritis).
HELLO! has spoken to mother-of-three and Milton International Brand Manager and Sterilising Advisor, Christine Dugedre, who highlights the importance of sterilising and gives her top tips.
What is sterilising?
Sterilising is a special way of cleaning your baby’s feeding equipment including bottles, teats and breast pumps to ensure they are completely free from harmful germs that can make your baby ill.
There are 2 ways to sterilise:
- Steaming (using an electric steriliser or by using the microwave) or
- Using cold water and a sterilising solution – such as sterilising tablets or sterilising fluid – this is the Milton Cold Water Method.
The 'Milton Method' of cold water sterilising is so easy to use! You just use cold tap water and either a cap of Milton Sterilising Fluid or one Milton Sterilising tablet, inside a Milton Cold Water Steriliser – it really is that simple!
What do I need to sterilise and for how long?
Any equipment that will come into contact with baby's mouth should be sterilised. This includes feeding equipment, soothers, spoons, teethers and toys. You should certainly sterilise for the first year of a child's life while their immune system is developing.
After this, you should continue to sterilise bottles and teats for as long as baby is using them.
Should I rinse out bottles before sterilising and what should I use to do this?
The easiest way is to wash thoroughly in Milton washing up liquid and water, using the brush provided. Rinse thoroughly.
Baby bottles and teats should be sterilised until a baby is 12 months old
How do I clean bottle teats?
Use the same method above, making sure there are no milk remnants in the opening.
How long can you leave a sterilised bottle out before it needs re-sterilising?
Bottles should be filled immediately once removed from the steriliser.
How does electric steam sterilising work?
Electric steam sterilisers require no chemicals or rinsing, and simply plug in at the wall. They kill bacteria using the heat from steam. Sterilising takes six minutes to 15 minutes. Depending on the model you have, items can remain sterile for up to 24 hours with the lid closed.
What are the pros and cons of electric steam sterilising?
The major con with this method is that you need electricity, which is not always possible when away from home.
Can you steam sterilise bottles in the microwave?
The Milton Combi or Microwave Steriliser is a 2-in-1 steriliser that sterilises from 2 mins in the microwave.
Teethers, toys and breast pumps should also be sterilised
Can I boil steam bottles? What are the pros and cons of boiling?
Yes but when using this method, care must be taken to ensure safety and prevent scalds or burns. Hot pans and liquids should not be left unattended, especially if children are present.
Boil the feeding equipment in water for at least 10 minutes, ensuring that all items stay under the water’s surface. Remember that teats get damaged faster using this method. Regularly check that teats and bottles are not torn, cracked or damaged.
If the bottles are not being used immediately, they should put together fully with the teat and lid in place to prevent the inside of the sterilised bottle becoming contaminated.
How often do you have to sterilise the steriliser?
You don't need to sterilise a steriliser. However, it is recommended to give them a good clean once a week and to dry them well after the clean. When using a microwave or an electric steam steriliser it is advisable to dry them after each use.