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Pregnancy and baby

Sterilising baby bottles

There are several ways you can sterilise your baby’s feeding equipment. These include using a cold water sterilising solution, by steam sterilising, or boiling.

The following instructions apply to all feeding equipment you use for your baby, whether you are using expressed breast milk or infant formula.

Remember, before sterilising, always:

  • Clean the feeding bottle and teat in hot, soapy water as soon as possible after a feed, using a clean bottle brush (only use this brush for cleaning bottles).
  • Rinse all your equipment in clean, cold running water before sterilising.

Cold water sterilising solution

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Change the sterilising solution every 24 hours.
  • Leave feeding equipment in the sterilising solution for at least 30 minutes.
  • Make sure there is no air trapped in the bottles or teats when putting them in the sterilising solution.
  • Keep all the equipment under the solution with a floating cover.

Steam sterilising (electric steriliser or microwave)

  • It's important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, as there are several different types of sterilisers.
  • Make sure the openings of the bottles and teats are facing downwards in the steriliser.
  • Manufacturers will give guidelines on how long you can leave equipment that you are not using immediately (straight after sterilising) before it needs to be resterilised.

Sterilising by boiling

  • When using this method, care must be taken to ensure safety and prevent scalds or burns. Hot pans and liquids should not be left unattended, especially if children are present.
  • Make sure that whatever you sterilise in this way is safe to boil.
  • Boil the feeding equipment in water for at least 10 minutes, making sure that all items stay under the water's surface.
  • Remember that teats tend to get damaged faster with this method. Regularly check that teats and bottles are not torn, cracked or damaged.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly. Clean and disinfect the surface where you will put together the bottle and teat.
  • It's best to remove the bottles just before they are used.
  • If the bottles are not being used immediately, they should be put together fully with the teat and lid in place. This is to prevent the inside of the sterilised bottle from being contaminated, along with the inside and outside of the teat.

Read more about expressing breast milk and making up formula feeds.

Page last reviewed: 02/10/2014

Next review due: 02/10/2016


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