Is bottle sterilization really necessary?

La stérilisation des biberons est-elle vraiment nécessaire ?

For several years, sterilization of baby bottles is no longer recommended. However, it can be useful when your baby is sick. When to sterilize baby bottles and how to do it? We guide you, step by step.

Our grandparents and sometimes our parents always plunged the bottle and pacifier in boiling water for the sterilize before feeding their baby. The goal was to eliminate microbes and thus eliminate a possible risk of contamination. Today, pediatricians no longer necessarily recommend sterilize baby bottles. As the websiteHealth Insurance, “There is no need to sterilize the bottle, as has long been advocated.” However, baby bottles must be sterilized in some cases, and some parents decide to do it anyway. We will explain to you why sterilization is not compulsory and, if we decide to do it, how to do it.

Before, we recommended sterilize baby bottles until he reaches at least the age of 4 months. Today, this is no longer the case. Contrary to popular belief, sterilization is not compulsory for premature babies, because they are considered to be in good health from the moment they leave maternity. However, it is still made to prepare baby bottles when they are in a hospital environment, which is conducive to the proliferation of microbes. In some cases, it may nevertheless be recommended to sterilize the bottles. This is the case for babies with an infectious disease, so as not to risk transmitting its own microbes at each meal if the bottle and the teat have not been washed well. For the same reasons, they may be sterilized when the child is sick and that he is kept in a collective structure, such as the crèche or with a childminder, to reduce the risk of contaminating his little play buddies.

There are several reasons why the sterilization of baby bottles is no longer recommended by doctors. The first is simply because it must be done in a sterile environment, without what would be counterproductive. So, to sterilize them, you would have to do it in a sterile room, wash them with sterile utensils, catch them with sterile forceps and wear gloves so as not to put microbes in them, and finally, dry them on something that has also been sterilized… To have to start all over again if, by chance, the bottle touches something that has not been sterilized. Which, in the end, would be useless since the infant milk and its box, the water used, or the warmed breast milk, are not sterilized. The other reason is that although there are many devices that are sold for sterilize baby bottles, none would be really effective. They do not benefit from French or European standards (AFNOR and ASNOR), since they do not meet their criteria.

Thus, we realize that it is very difficult to really sterilize a bottle. Besides, doing so could give a false sense of security. Parents could miss some essential hygiene measures, such as washing their hands before preparing the bottle. If some doctors no longer recommend sterilization of bottles and teats, it’s because we now live in an environment where there are far fewer health risks. On the other hand, some scientists tend to think that an excessively sanitized environment would prevent the baby’s immune system from strengthening, and it would then be more prone to developing infections or allergies.

Pan sterilization

If, despite everything, young parents decide to sterilize their child’s bottle, many solutions exist. Starting with the classic method which consists of immersing the bottle and the teat, in a pot of boiling water during about 20 minutes, before using or keeping them in the refrigerator for a maximum of 24 hours.

Sterilization in the microwave

Still on the side of simple methods, there is the bottle sterilization in the microwave. It is done using a plastic bell specially designed for this, in which we put a bottom of water and the accessories to sterilize, before turning the oven for ten minutes. The objects inside remain sterile, as long as the bell is closed, for two or three hours.

Cold sterilization

It is also possible to cold sterilize a bottle, with tablets provided for this purpose. The material should soak in water, to which a tablet has been added, for the time indicated on the package. The problem with this method is that some parents then rinse the bottle so that it does not taste like the product, and so that it is no longer sterile … If this is the method you want to use, rinse it off with boiling water instead.

Finally, there are baby bottle sterilizers. They work with a tank which must be filled with water. Then simply place the equipment inside and start it up. We can then go do something else, while the process is going on. The practical side is that it requires little time and effort, and you can grab a bottle at a time so as not to touch others. However, as soon as the tank is opened, the air goes inside. Result: what is left is no longer sterile.

For cleaning a bottle, ideally the rinse with cold water immediately after feeding. When doing the dishes, it is advisable to immerse the bottle, but also the teat and the screw in hot water with product for a few minutes. Rub with a clean sponge or a brush, then rinse thoroughly so that there is no more detergent on it. To dry all this equipment, it is possible to place it on a clean place or on a bottle dryer, always with your head upside down. Add to that some basic hygiene rules. For example, change the sponge regularly and clean the bottle brush often enough, as these tend to stay wet, which can allow bacteria to grow. Finally, dry the bottles upside down so that the water drains properly. Finally, always remember to wash your hands before preparing your baby’s bottle.

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