If you are feeding your baby with a bottle – whether it is with breast milk or formula, are giving them a soother or teething ring it is important you properly sterilise them.
If it is all a bit confusing as to why and for how long, hopefully the following will help you out:
Why you need to do it
Sterilisation is important in order to help prevent your baby getting sick. Feeding equipment that has been left lying around can be a breeding ground for germs so it is vital you get rid of these before they are ingested by your baby. The same for soothers that are constantly being dropped. A common concern for some mums is that their little one won’t be able to build up their immune system if their bottles are free from all types of bacteria. However, while sterilisation is important to prevent your baby ingesting a large number of germs at a given time, they will still be exposed to bacteria – both good and bad – throughout the day, so they will be able to build up some sort of resistance as they grow.
How to make sure it is done properly
There are a number of different types of sterilisation equipment that you can buy for your baby’s bottles. A lot are really easy to use - most simply require you to pour in some water and turn it on. However, you do need to keep in mind the following steps: wash bottles, soothers, teething rings in hot soapy water and rinse well before sterilising them. Remove using a sterilised tongs.
How long do you need to do it for?
You will need to sterilise equipment until your baby is 12 months old or at least until they are six months old. However, you don’t need to do this with their beakers, spoons or plates when they start on solids. Washing them in hot soapy water or putting them on the top shelf of your dishwasher, is enough. This is because solid food doesn’t encourage bacteria to grow as much as milk does.