The best way for a new mother to establish a nurturing bond with her baby is through breastfeeding. But sooner or later, you will have to switch to other alternatives for feeding your baby. Nursing becomes quite inconvenient when you are running low on breast milk, are in the throes of illness, or are nearing the end of your maternity leave and have to shuffle between work and home.
Your baby’s need to breastfeed can be gradually phased out by switching to a bottle, which is the natural progression that most new parents adopt. Perhaps the greatest comfort associated with bottle feeding is that it can be done by anybody at home, not just the mother. The most prominent con, however, is the effort that goes into cleaning and sterilizing the bottle.
Here are some ways to sterilize bottles
Sterilization by Boiling.
Fill an adequately sized pot or pan with sufficient water to cover the feeding equipment that you intend to sterilize. Immerse the freshly washed feeding equipment in it such that there are no air traps. Cover the pan with a heavy plate or lid that almost touches the surface of the water. Place the pan on a stove burner set on high, and bring the water to a boil. Let the water boil for at least 10 minutes, and set a timer so you don’t forget to turn the heat off. If you plan to prepare the bottle right away, clean your hands and the kitchen surface beforehand. In fact, disinfecting your hands before handling any sterilized equipment is mandatory regardless. Use sterilized tongs to pull out the equipment from the pan. To that end, you may want to plunge the tongs into the water while it was boiling and leave them be for some time. Once the heat is turned off, allow the tongs to cool off a bit so that you don’t burn yourself in trying to hold them. As soon as you take the equipment out, assemble the lids and teats on the bottles straightaway. Give the bottle a shake to get rid of the dripping water, if you need to use them right after sterilization. If there is no urgency, place the bottle on a dry, clean dishcloth in an upside-down position or on the upturned lid of the pan to get rid of the excess water and allow them to air-dry. Once dry, refrigerate the bottles with the teat on in a clean container to prevent contamination.
Mix 1 teaspoon of unscented bleach in 16 cups of hot water. Immerse the feeding equipment in the solution in such a way that there isn’t any air bubble formation at the bottom of the bottle. Soak the bottle for 2–5 minutes, and then pull them out of the solution using sterilized tongs. Place the damp bottles on a clean dish towel and allow them to air dry. As any remaining traces of bleach will naturally breakdown during the drying process, there’s no need for a follow-up rinse once the bottle is taken out of the solution.
Add a sterilizing solution or tablet (available from supermarkets) to a clean plastic bucket or tub of water, and then plunge the baby items in it. Keep the items submerged underwater for at least 30 minutes or preferably longer. The same water and solution can be safely reused as needed but should be changed after 24 hours.
Simply place the cleaned baby bottles and teats into the sterilizing unit. Make sure the mouth of the bottle and teats are facing downward to allow efficient sterilization. Pour clean filtered water as instructed in the user manual. Switch on the device. Switch it off once the sterilization is complete. Go through the user manual to check for instructions regarding how long the bottles can be kept inside.
UV light can kill most microorganisms ranging from bacteria and viruses to mold populations. Working on this principle, UV light sterilizers can help you sterilize the teat of your baby’s feeding bottle.
Whether you are using a microwave steam sterilizer or a standard kitchen microwave, make sure that all the feeding equipment is thoroughly cleaned before beginning the sterilization process. You will also want to make sure that the insides of your microwave are devoid of any food residue. When using a regular microwave, fill a bowl with water such that the feeding bottle, teats, rings, caps, and other accessories get submerged in it. Place the bowl in the microwave set on high for about 3-4 minutes. Use clean, dry oven mitts to remove the equipment from the microwave. Dump the remaining water, and let the equipment air-dry on a sanitary surface. Alternatively, you can also wait for the feeding items to return to normal temperature so that you can handle them with your bare but clean hands.