Is it really necessary to sterilise my baby’s bottles? Can’t I just wash them?

Sterilising baby bottles may seem like a tedious job, and let’s be honest, it can be! But although it’s not the most exciting chore, it’s one of the most important ones.

It’s really important to sterilise baby’s feeding equipment as it helps to protect your baby’s developing immune system from potentially harmful bugs and bacteria. A baby’s immune system is not yet fully developed, and they’re more susceptible to infection and illness than older children and adults.

ALSO SEE: 7 baby hygiene rules every mom should follow

At what age is it okay to stop sterilising bottles?

Ideally you should sterilise your baby’s feeding equipment for the first 12 months to protect her developing immune system from potentially harmful bacteria. This includes bottles, teats, and breastfeeding equipment.

What if our tap water is safe to drink?

A lot of mothers ask if it’s really necessary to sterilise feeding equipment in areas where tap water is safe to drink. The answer is yes. Although your baby will be at a lower risk, the risk isn’t eliminated. Because of your baby’s immature immune system, water that’s safe for an adult, will not necessarily be safe for them. It’s also important to remember that harmful bacteria don’t just come from water – it can be transferred by your hands or even from milk left over in the bottle. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

How to sterilise your baby’s bottles

To sterilise effectively, you should make sure that all bottles, teats and accessories are disassembled and washed thoroughly with warm soapy water and rinsed clean before sterilising. You can leave the sterilised contents inside your steriliser for 24 hours, but make sure the lid is kept closed for the duration. Ensure you re-assemble items with clean hands or sterilised tongs if you can and always on a clean surface too. The inside of the steriliser lid is perfect for this.

ALSO SEE: How to get your baby to take a bottle after breastfeeding

Don’t know which steriliser to buy? Here’s our top 3 you can try:

vital baby NURTURE 2-in-1 Combination Steriliser, R390.25

Available from Clicks, Babies R Us, Baby City and online at Babies Africa, Loot and Takealot.

This microwave and cold-water steriliser combination offers total flexibility depending on your needs. It keeps contents sterile for 24 hours when the lid is kept closed. You can choose to sterilise in either the microwave with only water using steam for a chemical-free clean, or you can use the cold-water method with a sterilising solution added.

vital baby NURTURE 2 in 1 combination steriliser, R390.25

Nuvita Compact Steam Steriliser, R1 050

Available online from

This steriliser is super easy to use. Just pour some water into the reservoir, pack in your bottles, and switch it on. The inbuilt safety switch will turn it off automatically at the end of the cycle!

Nuvita Compact Steam Steriliser, R1 050

Snookums Microwave Steam Steriliser, R299

Available online from

If you’re on a budget, this is the best value for money you’ll get. Either wide neck or narrow neck bottles can fit into this steriliser.

Snookums Microwave Steam Steriliser, R299

*Article by vital baby

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