Whether you are expecting or a new mom, planning to breastfeed or formula feed, one maternal concern always is to keep your baby healthy. A baby's immune system is underdeveloped compared to adults, and he or she is more vulnerable to diseases. One way to keep your baby healthy is to clean and wash the baby's bottle after every use. But is washing with soap and water enough?
The older generation's mother's advice to young moms is to sterilize the baby's bottles. Although sterilizing is not considered an absolute necessity nowadays, it is still a better practice, especially for babies under 12 months.
Why is Sterilization Important?
- Sterilizing baby bottles gives an added boost and cleanses the bottles to disinfect and kill germs, bacteria, or other pathogens that may lurk even after washing them thoroughly.
- Sterilization is also essential for babies with compromised immune systems or at higher risk of catching diseases even if they are older than 12 months old.
- Sterilization protects the baby from diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, daily sterilization of a baby's bottle is recommended for babies younger than 3 months old, who have a weak immune system, or when the baby was premature at the time of birth. For babies older than 3 months, daily sterilization can be skipped.
Boiling in hot water is the most common method and has been used through generations. But it can be time taking, and most people are now using microwaves for sterilizing smart baby bottles.
However, if you are new to parenthood and unaware of how to sterilize baby bottles in the microwave, in that case, we are breaking it into simpler steps for you with proper instructions and preventive measures.
Step by Step Method of Sterilizing Baby Bottles in Microwave
Microwaving baby bottles for sterilization is one of the easiest and fastest methods for busy moms with crying babies.
Sterilization in the microwave can be done by two methods.
- Without Microwave Sterilizer
- With Microwave Sterilizer
Whichever method you use, the first step would be washing the baby bottles normally, using soapy water and a brush.
- For that, take a plastic tub and fill it with water. Add some dishwashing liquid to it.
- Immerse your baby bottle in the liquid for 5-10 minutes. Immersing in water will dissolve any milk residue.
- Use a baby bottle brush to rub the bottle thoroughly from inside.
- For cleaning the bottle's nipple, use a non-metal soft bristle brush.
- Rinse the bottle with water.
If you are washing the baby bottle immediately after use, you don't need to soak it in water. Washing under the sink tap with soap and brush is enough to get it clean.
Always wash your hands and clean the kitchen counter and microwave before sterilizing and handling baby feeding bottles, as they can catch germs from your hands or even the working area or kitchen counter.
Sterilizing Baby Bottle in Microwave Without Sterilizer
Follow the steps to sterilize it if you don't have a microwave sterilizer for baby bottles.
- Fill more than half of the bottle with water.
- Keep it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes on a high setting.
- If your microwave has a high wattage, the bottle will sterilize faster.
- Use a kitchen mitten to take the bottle out of the microwave, throw the water and let it dry.
- For sterilizing accessories, fill a microwave-safe bowl with water.
- Put all components of baby bottles, including the baby bottle's nipple, in the bowl.
- Microwave it for 1-2 minutes. Take it out, throw the water and let the parts dry.
- Assemble the bottle parts, and it's now ready to use.
It is important for you to learn How Much Milk Should You Feed to a Newborn?
Sterilizing Baby Bottle in Microwave With Microwave Sterilizer
A microwave sterilizer is an enclosed plastic container designed especially to sanitize and disinfect baby bottles with steam power. Depending on the microwave sterilizer brand and design, it can sterilize many bottles along with all the parts and components at the same time.
- The first step is to pour distilled water in a microwave baby bottle sterilizer according to the manufacturer's instructions. Note: If you don't add enough water, the sterilizer may melt, burn or catch fire in the microwave.
- Then, place the basket where you will keep bottles and their parts. Load baby bottles upside down and bottle's nipple/teats in an upright position.
- Place all parts of the baby bottle, including items you will use to handle clean and sterilized bottles such as tongs.
- Once you have loaded the sterilizer, place the lid on top and lock it.
- Before placing the sterilizer in the microwave, make sure that the microwave plate is clean with no food residue on it.
- Don't use the microwave in grill mode for sterilization.
- Check manufacturer's guidelines for time setting according to microwave wattage. Place the sterilizer in the microwave and set the time 4-5 minutes according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Take the microwave sterilizer out of the microwave with the help of kitchen mittens after the sterilization cycle is complete.
- Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before opening the lid. Carefully open the lid as the hot steam can scald the hands.
- Take out bottles one by one with clean hands. Pick the bottle's nipple with a plastic tong that you had sterilized. Put the bottle's lid over the nipple/teat. Don't let your baby bottle's nipple remain exposed.
- Assemble the baby bottle, and it's now ready to make baby milk quickly. Note: The baby bottles and all parts will remain sterile for 24 hours within an unopened unit. If safe sterile time (24 hours) has passed, you will have to repeat the process and sterilize again.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Sterilization in Microwave
- Before sterilizing baby feeding bottles, make sure that the bottle is free of BPA. Intense heat during sterilization can cause the baby bottle to leach chemicals if the baby bottle's material is not BPA-free.
- The plastic bottle is microwave-safe and doesn't have a “Recycling Symbol # 7” label on it.
- If you are using a glass bottle, check the bottle for cracks. Don't sterilize a glass bottle that has cracks in it. It can shatter in high boiling water and heat.
- Check the baby bottle's nipple for signs of wear and tear. If the nipple has any crack or is swollen, ill-shaped or flabby, throw it instead of sterilizing it.
ALSO CHECK - Is Bottle-Feeding Safe for Newborn Babies?
Your baby needs an extra clean, disinfected, and germs-free instant baby bottle until his/her immune system is not fragile. The inexpensive baby bottles microwave sterilizer is a convenient and fast way to sterilize the bottles. You just need to follow the proper instructions to avoid damaging sterilizers or bottles. Remember, the rule of thumb for sterilization is that everything that comes in contact with the bottle. Whether it is a microwave plate, hands, working area, or tongs, everything should be cleaned for the process to be beneficial and effective.