Unlike what was thought until recently, it is no longer necessary to sterilize your baby’s bottles, pacifiers or nipples after each use.
Until a while ago, many pediatricians advised sterilizing the baby’s bottle after each feeding. Or, clean it and, before its next use, sterilize it. For example, I still remember this tip just 4 years ago, when my first daughter was born. So, it is true that the concern to maintain proper hygiene was such – in the face of fear of any infection – which they came to give them a bottle sterilizer, which we use practically morning and night.
However, contrary to what is popularly believed (and what I actually thought until recently), the truth is that today many of those same pediatricians agree to advise against sterilizing bottles, nipples or pacifiers every time. That the baby is going to use them, even if he is still less than 3 months old.
Why this change in criteria? The reality is that, in itself, there has not been a change in criteria and a certain rationality has been reached. Why? Very easy. As stated by the pediatrician, “it is useless to sterilize the baby’s things if the person who handles them does not wash their hands first.” Or even if you collect your child’s utensils in areas where there is dirt or food debris.
Therefore, the key is not to sterilize the baby’s utensils such as pacifiers, nipples and bottles every time you use them, but to maintain proper hygiene. That is, carefully wash your hands with hot or warm water and soap, and keep the kitchen area – and where they are to be stored until next use – as hygienic and clean as possible.
How to sterilize your baby’s utensils if it is the first time you are going to use them:
From the first moment that the bottle, nipple or pacifier comes into contact with the baby for the first time, it is advisable to sterilize, boil or wash them (for example, in the dishwasher). It is true that the best method for this first case is sterilization, as it will kill all germs.
Thus, there are different options or methods that will give you the possibility of sterilizing these baby utensils the first time. But before continuing with the sterilization process, it is necessary to emphasize something fundamental: we must wash our hands well before proceeding to sterilize and clean pacifiers, nipples and bottles.
Then, once we have done it, we can follow some of the tips that we propose below:
- If you do not have an electric sterilizer: Simply place the baby’s utensils in a saucepan with boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. If you have a dishwasher or dishwasher, wash the nipples, bottles and pacifiers at a temperature of more than 80 or 90º.
- If you have an electric sterilizer: Just follow the recommendations indicated by the manufacturer in the instruction manual. In most cases, you have to fill the container with water up to a certain amount, cover it and place the utensils to be sterilized on top. They will be ready and perfectly clean after 5 or 6 minutes of sterilization.
However, the fact that it is not necessary to sterilize the baby’s utensils with each use does not mean that we cannot do it from time to time. Following the recommendations in addition to always sterilizing them before the first use, it is advisable to sterilize the pacifier at least once a day, always having a spare pacifier on hand in case the one you normally use falls to the I usually. In this way, we can use hot soapy water the rest of the time.
On the other hand, in the case of nipples and bottles, it is possible to sterilize them also once a day, although in most cases it is enough to give them a forceful scrub with soap and water, avoiding that milk remains anywhere in the bottle, and rinse them well so that there are no traces of soap inside.
And then what can we do? Maintaining proper hygiene is the key
Once the first sterilization has been carried out, and after each use, it is vitally important to maintain proper hygiene and cleanliness. For example, we can maintain the following hygiene tips in our day to day:
- After each feeding: First, wash your hands well with soap and water. Then, scrub the bottle and nipple well with hot, soapy water, removing any remaining milk with the help of a long brush. You must pay special attention to both the neck of the bottle and the thread, places where remains are usually left.
- Drying: Although you could use a cloth specifically used for this purpose (and not use it absolutely for anything else), it is best to let them air dry.
- Where to keep them: Finally, we must store and keep them in a perfectly clean and covered container. In this way, we will prevent them from getting dirty or filled with dust and grease (so common in the kitchen area).