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a guide to sterlising

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A guide to sterilising

If you choose to bottle-feed your baby, you're giving your baby expressed milk, or you're starting to introduce your baby to solid food, it's worth reading up on the latest safety advice when it comes to sterilising equipment for your baby. The Department of Health and Foods Standards Agency have issued revised guidance on the preparation and storage of infant formula milk. It is now best to feed your baby freshly made formula milk. If you require a feed for later, keep boiling water in a sealed flask and make up fresh formula milk when needed or use liquid ready-to-feed formula. For more details visit www.food.gov.uk or speak to your midwife, health visitor or GP.

When you start to introduce your baby to solids, you will need to wash and sterilise all of his or her feeding equipment, every time. You'll also need to sterilise all soothers and weaning equipment for babies up to about 12 months old for extra protection.

What you'll need

  • Bottle brush
  • Sterilising unit. There are 3 types available:
  • Cold water: use chemical tablets made from bleach. Sterilising will take around 30 minutes
  • Electric or Microwave: use steam to sterilise bottles. Sterilising in either of these ways will take between 4 and 9 minutes, depending on the model and type.

How to sterilise

All sterilising equipment is different, so read your steriliser instruction leaflet carefully, and take the time to find out how to use it before you need it.

Always wash your hands thoroughly before sterilising equipment or making up a feed.

Wash all bottles, teats, soothers, bottle tops and washable breast pump parts in hot water with washing up liquid. Scrub bottles inside with a bottle brush. Wash teats inside out and remove all traces of milk. Sterilising will not be fully effective if you place even slightly unclean bottles or teats into your unit.

In an emergency, equipment can be sterilised by boiling. Items must be placed in a saucepan and boiled for ten minutes. This method makes teats spongy and swollen so they will need frequent checking and replacing.

How long do I need to sterilise feeding equipment for?

  • Bottles, teats and soothers - sterilise for as long as used
  • Plastic spoons and beaker tops - sterilise until around 8 months (thereafter need to be very clean but not sterile)
  • Bowls and beaker bases - wash thoroughly in hot water and store in a clean cupboard

A few general points

Placing a dirty teat or soother in your mouth doesn't clean it, it just adds your own germs to the mix. It is better to take spare teats and soothers out with you and secure in a clean container.