A baby will come into contact with germs on a daily basis, however, there are a number which can cause a baby to vomit or have diarrhoea. These germs can thrive living on surfaces that contain milk meaning that the residual milk at the bottom of the bottle or in the nooks and crannies of the teat are the ideal breeding ground.

Bacteria thrive on milk residue remaining on babies bottles and teats.

There are a number of different ways to sterilise bottles and teats including steaming (microwave), boiling and through using chemicals. The one which is often most accessible for new mums is steaming.

  1. Steaming:
  • This method is done by increasing the temperature high enough to kill bacteria.
  • Rinse the bottles, teats, caps and other utensils with water before you begin to ensure they are clean.
  • Ensure that the bottles are open during the process, if you are using Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags, place the items in the bag with 60ml water. If you are using a large steriliser system, you will need to ensure you have cleaned the bottle holders thoroughly and place all bottles facing down.
  • Follow the manufacturers instructions with regards the length of time to sterilise with your microwave. Eg. Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags is 3 minutes for a 800w~1100w microwave.
  • Once the sterilisation process is finished, place the accessories you are not using straight away in a zip lock bag or a sealed container.
  • It is important to note how long the bottles and teats remain sterile as many products remain sterile for a short period of time, some as little as 3 hours. The Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags for example keep products sterile for 24 hours.
Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags are ideal for every day use, perfect for Mums on-the-go and can be reused 20 times.

2. Boiling:

  • This method is also done by increasing the temperature high enough to kill bacteria.
  • Rinse the bottles, teats, caps and other utensils with water before you begin to ensure they are clean.
  • Fill a large saucepan with water and place accessories in the pot. Ensure there is enough water to cover all accessories in the pot. If any item is not submerged it will not be sterilised.
  • Bring the water to the boil and boil rapidly for at least 5 minutes.
  • Once the product has been boiled, turn off the stove and let the water cool down without removing the accessories.
  • When the water has cooled, you can remove the accessories and shake any excess water off. If you are not using the immediately, place the lid and teat onto the bottle and store in a sealed container in the fridge.
  • Products sterilised through the boiling technique need to be re-boiled after 24 hours if not used.
Accessories sterilised by boiling can last 24 hours.

3. Chemicals:

  • Chemical sterilisers come in liquid or tablet form which is diluted with water to create a disinfectant solution.
  • The manufacturing guidelines should be followed closely to make up the sterilising solution.
  • Place the accessories in the solution making sure it is completely submerged and there are no bubbles coming from the solution.
  • The manufacturer will state the amount of time that the products should be left in the solution (typically about 30 minutes).
  • The accessories can be left in the solution until you are ready to use it. Allow bottles, teats and lids to drain before you use them. Do not rinse any accessories after removing from the solution as you are re-exposing the germs you’ve just killed!
  • Throw away the solution after 24 hours. Wash the container thoroughly with warm soapy water before using again.
Sterilising solution typically requires 30 mins to sterilise products.

Baby products cannot be sterilised through the dishwasher. Although this will clean the product, the product will not be sterile which is recommended for children up to at least 1 year of age.

Useful Links:

EU Safe Food (Bottle Feeding, Expressed Milk & Formula) – https://www.safefood.eu/SafeFood/media/SafeFoodLibrary/Documents/Publications/Consumer/Baby-Bottle-Feed-2012.pdf

Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags – https://www.medicare.ie/product/medela-quick-clean-micro-steam-bags-5-pack/

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