What age can you stop sterilising bottles?
Are you tired of the endless sterilising routine that comes with feeding your little one? Do you dream of the day when you can finally retire your sterilising equipment and reclaim your kitchen counter? Well, you’re in luck, because today we’ll be answering the question on every parent’s mind: what age can you stop sterilising bottles? Get ready to say goodbye to the sterilising machine and hello to a new era of feeding freedom!
Why do we need to sterilise our baby’s bottles?
Ah, the age-old question of why we need to constantly sterilise our little one’s bottles! Well, my parent friends, let me ask you this question: would you eat off a plate that hasn’t been washed? Of course not!
Your baby’s immune system is still developing, and they are more susceptible to germs and bacteria than adults which is why sterilising bottles is so important – it ensures that your little one is drinking from a clean bottle, free of any bacteria, that won’t make them sick.
Plus, let’s be real here – the last thing any of us wants is a fussy baby with an upset stomach!
What age can you stop sterilising bottles?
The NHS suggests that you can stop Sterilising Bottles from 12 Months. While you might think you can get rid of any bacteria lingering in milk by giving your bottles a good wash in hot soapy water or by popping them in the dishwasher, let me tell you that it won’t cut it!
As great as our dishwashers are, did you know that it won’t be able to cut it when it comes to sterilising your baby’s bottles? That’s right, research has shown that we need some serious heat – at least 90 degrees Celsius (195 degrees Fahrenheit) – to zap away those pesky bacteria that like to plague our little ones. And that’s where baby bottle sterilisers come into play.
These (not so) little machines are like mini heatwaves, making sure that all parts of the bottle get to the right temperature for maximum germ-busting power.
What exactly do I need to sterilise?
Whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding, there’s always something that needs to be sterilised! But don’t worry, keeping your little one’s feeding gear germ-free shouldn’t be too overwhelming!
If you’re formula feeding, you’ll want to make sure that all parts of your baby’s bottle are squeaky clean before each feed. This means sterilising the bottle itself, the teat, lid, and any other bits and bobs like anti-colic valves.
And if you’re breastfeeding, the same goes for any bottles or containers you use to store your expressed milk. When it comes to sterilising breast pump equipment, there’s not always a clear-cut answer. But as we say – it’s better to be safe than sorry! And that’s why sterilising is great as it can help to add that extra layer of protection got your little one, especially if they’re under three months old, were born prematurely, or have a weakened immune system.
Do I need to wash baby bottles before sterilising?
Yes. 100 per cent! Dried-on milk isn’t just gross, it’s a breeding ground for bacteria, so it’s incredibly important to wash your baby’s bottles thoroughly prior to sterilising. As soon as possible (we know it’s hard when you’re sleep deprived) after your little one has finished feeding, make sure bottles, teats, breast pumps, and any other milk-related gear gets a good scrub in some hot, soapy water. This is also the perfect opportunity to assess your bottles for any damage too.
If you’re using a dishwasher, make sure those bottles and teats are face down, so they don’t end up swimming in dirty water. But, if you’re going old-school with a hand wash, invest in some clean bottle and teat brushes to make sure you get in every nook and cranny!
Once everything is squeaky clean, give it a good rinse in clean, cold running water before sterilising using one of the methods below.
Keeping your baby’s bottles clean and germ-free is a top priority. And let’s face it, there’s something oddly satisfying about the process of sterilising those little bottles! If you’re a new parent, you’re probably wondering how to sterilise your baby bottles – and great news for you, there are a few options! You could invest in a fancy bottle steriliser or use things you already have at home! To help you navigate the minefield of sterilising, we’ve outlined the most common methods below.
Microwave Steam Sterilising
If you want to sterilise those bottles in the blink of an eye, then microwave steam sterilising is the way to go! It’s a quick and easy method that’s perfect for busy (and sleep deprived) parents. All you need is a microwave and bottle steriliser and it’s as easy as that!
How to sterilise bottles using a microwave
First thing’s first, make sure your trusty microwave steriliser is ready to go. Pop in some water, and make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the perfect amount.
Next, gather up all those baby bottles, teats, and accessories and give them a good wash in hot, soapy water. You want to make sure they’re nice and clean before popping them into the steriliser.
Now comes the fun part – it’s time to get steamy! Pop the lid on the steriliser and let it work its magic in the microwave for the recommended amount of time (usually 6 minutes).
Once time is up, carefully remove the steriliser from the microwave and let it cool down. Et voila! Your baby’s bottles are now squeaky clean and germ-free and can be used again!
Cold Water Sterilising
Picture this – you and your baby are off on an adventure, but you need to sterilise those bottles! What do you do!? Well, with cold water tablets you can sterilise on the go. The great thing about cold water sterilising tablets is that they use special chemicals mixed with cold water to zap away those pesky germs lurking on your little one’s bottles and feeding accessories.
So, how do you do it?
How to sterilise bottles using cold water tablets
Grab a clean, watertight container with a lid that fits snugly. Mix up your sterilising solution according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and get ready to dive in!
Make sure your items are fully submerged in the solution, with no air bubbles sneaking in. If needed, you can use a floating cover or plate to keep things in place – it’s just like a fun little game of tetris!
Now comes the waiting game – give those germs a run for their money by leaving your feeding equipment in the solution for the recommended amount of time. Why not take some time for yourself (if you can) – maybe read a book, have a nap or just have a brew and watch the telly!
Once time is up, remove the items from the solution and give them a quick rinse with cool boiled water from the kettle. Then, as if by magic, your baby’s feeding gear is ready for action!
UV sterilising is like having a miniature sun in your own home! These nifty little units use powerful UV light to get rid of harmful bacteria and viruses, including the pesky coronavirus! It’s like a disco party for microorganisms, but they won’t be staying very long!
How to sterilise bottles using a UV steriliser
To use a UV sterilising unit, all you have to do is wash your baby equipment thoroughly and then pop in the machine. The UV light bounces around the reflective surfaces, killing any germs that it touches. It’s like a fun game of laser tag, except the stakes are a bit higher!
One of the great things about UV sterilising is that you can use your bottles straight out of the machine without having to rinse or cool them. Plus, these units are incredibly safe to use because they don’t involve hot water, steam, or chemicals.
But, as with any superhero power, there are a few limitations. Because UV light can’t pass through objects, everything needs to be completely dissembled and not touching. This might make UV sterilisers unsuitable for certain items such as the narrow tubing of some breast pumps. The sterilisation cycle can also take a bit longer than other sterilisers, so you might need patience!
While it’s a pretty old-school method, you can sterilise your baby’s bottles by using equipment you have at home – water and a pan! That’s right. Most bacteria can be killed off by boiling water at 100 degrees Celsius for just 10 minutes! It’s the perfect method for those times when you need to sterilise something quickly but don’t have any specialist equipment to hand.
Boiling can be especially useful in the early days, like when you need to hand-express some colostrum for your baby to have with a sterilised teaspoon or cup. However, be careful not to use this method of sterilising too often as it can damage bottles and teats over time.
How to sterilise bottles using the boiling method
To sterilise your baby feeding gear by boiling, first you want to check your item can be boiled safely. Once you’ve done that, bring a pot of water to the boil and then completely submerge the items in the boiling water for at least 10 minutes.
Don’t forget to set a timer, and always keep an eye on those hot pans and liquids!
Once sterilised, you can keep the bottles covered until you’re ready to use them. This is a great option for those on a tight budget!
Not only is steam sterilising a quick and easy way to ensure that your baby’s bottles are completely free of harmful germs and bacteria, it’s also an effortless process!
How to use a steam steriliser
To get started, simply fill up your steam steriliser with the appropriate amount of water, usually indicated by a line on the reservoir. Next, place your bottles and other feeding accessories into the designated compartments, ensuring they are not touching each other.
Once everything is securely in place, just press the button and sit back while the steam does all the work for you! In just a few short minutes, your bottles will be crystal clear! And the best part? You can rest assured that your baby’s feeding equipment is totally safe and sanitised!
What to do after sterilising bottles UK
So, you’ve done the hard work of sterilising your baby’s bottles – but now what? Well don’t just leave them hanging out to dry on the kitchen worktop! After you’ve sterilised your bottles you can leave them in your steriliser or pan until you need them, but bear in mind that most manufacturers suggest using or re-sterilising them within 24 hours.
If you do want to take the bottles out, you want to make sure that your hands are clean before handling the sterilised bottles. You also need to make sure that you put the teats and lids on the bottles straight away – the last thing you want is for pesky bacteria to make their way into them!
Once you’ve done this, you can place your bottles into a clean container with a lid – this will protect them from any lurking germs in the air. It’s best to use a container that’s specifically designed for storing sterilised bottles, such as a plastic box with a lid or sterilisation bag, but these also must be sterile too.
Don’t forget to label the container with the date and time you sterilised the bottles as this will help you to keep track of how long they’ve been stored.
Before you start prepping your baby’s feed, make sure to first clean and disinfect your worktop. And don’t forget to wash and dry those hands before handling sterilised bottles! You could even go the extra mile and use some sterile tongs if you fancy!
If you’re making bottles using expressed breast milk, be sure to handle it with care to prevent any unwanted bacteria from contaminating the milk. And after feeding, thoroughly wash and sterilise the cup, bottle, or spoon before using them again.
Remember, powdered infant milk isn’t sterile, so it’s important to make bottles according to the instructions on the back. This will ensure any bacteria is killed. Ready made bottles of milk are sterile however it’s incredibly important that bottle feeding equipment is sterilised.
How can I sterilise bottles while travelling?
If you’re hitting the road with your little one, you might be wondering how to keep those bottles sterilised while you’re on the go. But fear not – with a little creativity, you can keep your baby’s feeding equipment squeaky clean no matter where your travels take you!
One option is to use a travel-sized sterilising kit – these nifty gadgets can be filled with water and popped in the microwave to steam sterilise your bottles in just a few minutes. Or, if you’re really in a pinch, you can always boil your bottles in a pot of water on the stove (just make sure to check that the items are safe to boil first).
Another option is to use sterilising tablets or drops – these handy little fellas can be added to disposable sterilising bags along with your bottles to kill off any nasty germs. Just make sure to follow the instructions carefully and let the items soak for the recommended amount of time.
Do I need to sterilise weaning equipment?
So, you’ve mastered the art of sterilising those baby bottles and now it’s time for the next big step – weaning! But hold on a second, do you really need to sterilise weaning essentials like bowls, spoons and cups?
The good news is that if your little one is around 6 months old, you don’t need to stress about sterilising their weaning gear. Just make sure to give them a good wash in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher and you’re good to go!
If you’re weaning earlier than 6 months, the NHS recommends that you continue sterilising your baby’s feeding equipment until they reach the magic 6-month mark!
How long do bottles stay sterile for?
If you’ve left them in an unopened steriliser, they should last for around 24 hours so that means you’ve got a whole day to use them without worrying about bacteria.
When is it OK to stop sterilising bottles UK?
As much as you might want to ditch the sterilising routine as soon as possible, it’s important to sterilise your baby’s bottles and other feeding equipment until they’re at least 12 months old. Trust us, it’s worth it to protect your little one from potentially harmful bacteria that can linger in milk residues.
We know that once your baby starts crawling (and putting everything in their mouth) that you might be tempted to stop sterilising your bottles, but it’s incredibly important that you don’t. Remember, your baby’s immune system is still developing, and sterilising can help keep them healthy.
Sterilising bottles can be a nuisance, but it’s the one part of parenthood that’s incredibly important! With the right method you will be sure to master it in no time!
If you’re looking for more tips and advice on about parenting, be sure to check out some of our other blog posts for more helpful information about the wonderful world of parenting!