How to Clean Baby Bottles

Some of the most common questions we get from clients is how to clean baby bottles. There are so many parts to deal with, do they really need sterilized every day? Is there a system that can be used so they don’t take over the kitchen?
Check out our tips below on how to clean baby bottles and keep them organized.

Clean before first use.

The new bottles you get should be washed in hot, soapy water before the first use. Be sure to take the bottle and nipple apart completely when washing. Use a brush in the inside for hard to reach places. This removes manufacturing dust and makes them ready to sterilize.

There are different methods for sterilizing baby bottles. The CDC recommends sterilizing before first use and once a day if your baby is less than 3 months.
Stove top – Place a large pot of water on stove top and bring to a boil. Add the bottle parts and boil for 5 minutes. Carefully remove with tongs and place on clean surface to dry.
Dishwasher – Place bottles and parts on top rack of dishwasher. Nipples and smaller parts can be placed in a closed top basket so they don’t get lost or damaged. Run on sterilizing setting and place on clean surface to dry.
Commercial bottle sanitizer – These come in many shapes and sizes and can get the job done quickly. Consider counter space and how often you would use this when looking at this method.
Medela Quick Clean Bags – These bags are an easy and fast method for sterilizing bottles and parts. A few ounces of water, and a few minutes in the microwave, and you have sterilized bottles and parts. The bags are multi-use and don’t take up much space on your counter.

Organizing bottles and parts.

When it comes to keeping track of all these bottles and parts, a system is important. Making room on your kitchen counter is vital to this system. As postpartum doulas, we help our clients figure out a good system. Besides a designated area, the following items are helpful to have:

  • bottle and nipple brushes
  • a clean bin
  • a dirty bin
  • drying rack

It is important to rinse the bottles and parts after each use. It prevents the formula or breastmilk from building up in the crevices. Place the rinsed bottles in the dirty bin. Once a day, wash the items in hot, soapy water and rinse well. The items can then be sterilized or placed on the drying rack. Once dry, the pieces can be placed in the clean bin until needed. Breast pump parts can be cleaned and sterilized in the same way.

Periodic Checks

Be sure to inspect the bottles, nipples and parts periodically for breakages or wear and tear. Replace those parts as needed. If someone gives you secondhand bottles, you will want to inspect and sterilize them before first use as well. Plastic bottles can get tiny scratches in them that can hang on to bacteria. If you see visible scratches in the plastic, replace them with new. Nipples should always be replaced with new.

We have found these methods help streamline the bottle cleaning process.

If you need a hand getting things set up, we’d be happy to help you out!

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