Bottle feeding equipment
The components of a bottle include a teat, a ring/cap, and the bottle itself. There are no rigid guidelines about choosing a bottle other than to ensure that it’s size-appropriate for your baby and they can feed without difficulty from the teat.
One of the most important elements of bottle feeding safety is the cleaning and sterilising of bottle feeding equipment. This is particularly important for babies under 12 months old as their immune systems are still developing.
Make a habit of cleaning and sterilising your bottles after feeds – this reduces the risk of bacteria multiplying and ensures you always have clean and sterilised equipment on hand.
- After each feed, wash and dry your hands.
- Inspect the equipment for any cracks or degradation and dispose of any damaged parts.
- Use hot, soapy water to wash the equipment (in a dishwasher or container), and a bottle brush to clean the inside of the bottles.
- Squirt water through the teat to flush out any milk or formula residue.
- Rinse the equipment thoroughly and allow to air dry if you aren’t sterilising immediately.
Sterilising bottles kills any germs that remain on the equipment’s surfaces. You can sterilise your bottle-feeding equipment in one of several ways:
- Boiling – Submerge the bottle parts in a pot of water. Bring the water to the boil for at least five minutes. Let the water cool to room temperature and wash your hands before handling the bottle parts. Shake any excess water off the parts before reassembling them and placing them inside a sterilised container in the fridge.
- Over time, this method can warp parts of your bottle. Continue regular checks of your feeding equipment.
- Purpose-built sterilisers – These sterilisers are either plugged in to a power supply or placed in the microwave. They use hot water and steam to kill any bacteria.
- When using these, follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely to ensure your safety and your baby’s safety.
- Chemical sterilisers – Chemical sterilisers disinfect the equipment without harming your baby. The bottle parts are soaked in a chemical solution for a specified period of time and rinsed before use.
For further guidance about safely using and cleaning bottles and bottle feeding equipment, speak to a child and family health nurse or a lactation consultant.