When you have a new baby you may or may not be prepared for the extra cleaning that comes with this new territory, it can be hard to remember all the guidelines for cleaning and sterilising infant feeding equipment. Below you will find a quick go-to reference point to answer all of your cleaning questions (as it relates to infant feeding practices).
I will give you an overview of the process first before it is broken down into the detailed steps below. All infant feeding equipment (bottles, nipples, rings, caps, valves, membranes, syringes, medicine cups, spoons, supplemental nursing system) needs to be cleaned with soapy water after every feeding. All of this equipment should also be sanitised once every 24 hours (especially if the baby is premature, less than 3 months old, or immunocompromised). There are multiple different methods of sanitising, you can pick one that works best for you and your family, it may also look different depending on whether you will be at home, at work or out on vacation. If you feel like you need help figuring out a system of cleaning that works best for you don’t hesitate to chat with one of our Lactation Consultants to come up with a plan.
Different Cleaning Methods
1. Wash by hand
- Wash hands. Wash your hands well with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Take apart. Separate all bottle parts (for example, bottles, nipples, caps, rings, valves).
- Rinse. Rinse bottle parts and any other feeding items by holding them under running water. Do not set them in the sink. The water can be warm or cold.
- Wash feeding items.
- Place all items in a clean basin or container used only to clean infant feeding items. Do not wash directly in the sink because it may contain germs that could contaminate these items.
- Fill wash basin with hot water and add soap.
- Scrub items using a clean brush that is used only to clean infant feeding items.
- Squeeze water through nipple holes to be sure they get clean.
- Rinse again. Rinse by holding items under running water, or by holding completely under fresh water in a separate basin that is used only for cleaning infant feeding items.
- Allow to air-dry. Place bottle parts, wash basin, and bottle brush on a clean, unused dish towel or paper towel in an area protected from dirt and dust. Allow to air dry thoroughly.
- Do not use a dish towel to rub or pat items dry because doing so may transfer germs to the items.
- Clean wash basin and bottle brush. Rinse the wash basin and brush well and allow them to air-dry after each use. Wash them every few days, either in a dishwasher with hot water and a heated drying cycle (if they are dishwasher-safe) or by hand with soap and warm water. If your baby is less than 2 months old, was born prematurely, or has a weakened immune system due to illness (such as HIV) or medical treatment (such chemotherapy for cancer), wash basin and bottle brush after every use.
2. Use dishwasher
- Take apart – Separate all bottle parts
- Rinse – Rinse bottle parts and any other feeding items by holding them under running water. The water can be warm or cold
- Wash – Place bottle parts and other feeding items in the dishwasher (place small parts in a basket or mesh laundry bag so they don’t end up in dishwasher filter). If possible, run the dishwasher using hot water and a heated drying cycle (or sanitizing setting)
- Remove from dishwasher – wash hands with soap and water before removing and storing cleaned itesm. If items are not completely dry, place them on a clean, unused dish towel or paper towel to air-dry thoroughly before storing in an area free of dust or dirt. Do not use a dish towel to rub or pat items dry because doing so may transfer germs to the items.
Different Sanitising Methods
Daily sanitizing of pump parts may not be necessary for older, healthy babies, if the parts are cleaned carefully after each use. Sanitize all items (even the bottle brush and wash basin) by using one of the following options.
Note: If you use a dishwasher with hot water and a heating drying cycle (or sanitizing setting) to clean infant feeding items, a separate sanitizing step is not necessary.
Clean first. Pump parts, bottle brushes, and wash basins should be sanitized only after they have been cleaned.
Sanitize. Sanitize the pump kit, bottle brushes, and wash basins using one of the following options. Check manufacturer’s instructions about whether items may be steamed or boiled.
- Steam: Use a microwave bag or plug-in steam system according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Place disassembled items that are safe to boil into a pot and cover with water.
Put the pot over heat and bring to a boil.
Boil for 5 minutes.
Remove items with clean tongs.
Prepare bleach solution of 2 teaspoons of unscented bleach in 16 cups of water in a clean wash basin
Put all items completely underwater. Make sure the solution touches all parts and there are no air bubbles in the bottles
Squeeze solution through the nipple holes
Soak items in solution for at least 2 minutes
Remove with clean hands of tongs. Do not rinse because germs could get back on the sanitized items. Any remaining bleach will break down quickly as it dries and will not hurt your baby. This process is similar to what is done to sanitize dishes in restaurants.
Allow to air-dry thoroughly. Place sanitized pump parts, wash basin, and bottle brush on a clean, unused dish towel or paper towel in an area protected from dirt and dust. Do not use a dish towel to rub or pat items dry because doing so may transfer germs to the items.
If you have any further questions about cleaning/sanitising please feel free to book into one of our Breastfeeding Groups that run Monday and Tuesday mornings from 10am – 11am. They are run by one of our experienced Lactation Consultants who can answer all your questions! And it is free!