How to sterilise your feeding equipment

As your little baby does not yet have a very strong immune system, it is really important that you sterilise all of the equipment that you use to feed them. Washing feeding equipment by hand or in the dishwasher is not enough – they must be washed first and then sterilised. This will help to protect your baby from any harmful bugs or bacteria that might make them unwell. It is recommended that until your baby is 1 year old, all equipment such as bottles, teats, collars, discs, caps, tongs and soothers (if used) must be sterilised before each use.

There are 3 ways to sterilise equipment for baby:

  • Steam sterilisation
  • Boiling
  • Sterilising liquid or tablets

Steam Sterilisation

This method is recommended as the best way to sterilise equipment. Steam contains more energy than boiling water and so it kills bacteria quicker. An electric steam steriliser or a microwave steam steriliser can be used as follows:

  1. Make sure hands and the work surface are clean
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  3. Put the washed equipment with the correct amount of water in the steriliser unit. Leave equipment in the steriliser for as long as the manufacturer’s instructions indicate
  4. Wash and dry your hands, then use a sterile tongs to take the equipment out of the steriliser and place on a clean work surface. Take care as the equipment may be hot
  5. If the bottles are not used straight away, put them together immediately using the tongs to keep the teat and the inside of the bottle sterile
  6. Store sterilised bottles in a clean space and if not used within 24 hours you must wash and sterilise them again.

Boiling

  1. Make sure hands and the work space are clean
  2. Use a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Keep this saucepan for sterilising only
  3. Put the washed equipment into the saucepan and cover completely with tap water. Make sure that there is no air trapped in the bottles or teats: air prevents the liquid from making contact with equipment surfaces, meaning these areas will not be sterilised
  4. Cover the saucepan with a lid and bring the water to the boil. Boil for at least 3 minutes. Make sure the equipment remains fully submerged in the boiling water at all times
  5. Wash and dry hands. Use a sterile tongs to take the equipment from the saucepan and place on a clean work surface. Take care with any hot equipment
  6. If the bottles are not used straight away, put them together immediately using the tongs to keep the teat and the inside of the bottle sterile.
  7. Store sterilised bottles in a clean space and if not used within 24 hours you must wash and sterilise them again.

Sterilising liquid or tablets

  1. Make sure hands and the work surface are clean
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  3. Make up the solution in a sterilising tank using sterilising liquid or tablets. Make a fresh sterilising solution every 24 hours
  4. Put the washed equipment in the solution and make sure that all equipment is completely covered. Make sure there is no air trapped in the bottles or teats: air prevents the liquid from making contact with equipment surfaces, meaning these areas will not be sterilised.
  5. Leave the equipment in the solution for as long as the manufacturer recommends
  6. Wash and dry hands, then use a sterile tongs to take the equipment from the solution and place on a clean work surface. You do not need to rinse the equipment before use. However, if you wish to rinse it, use water which was boiled for at least one minute and allowed to cool. Take care to avoid scalds.
  7. If the bottles are not used straight away, put them together immediately using the tongs to keep the teat and the inside of the bottle sterile.
  8. Store sterilised bottles in a clean space and if not used within 24 hours you must wash and sterilise them again.