Healthcare of infant feeding equipment

infant drinking porridge

Hygiene is very vital with infants in order to prevent any infection. A baby’s immune system is not yet fully developed, and babies are more susceptible to infection and illness than an older child or adult. Cleanliness is therefore very important when preparing your baby’s bottles.

Cleaning and sterilizing feeding equipment


The person handling feeding equipment for an infant should clean the hands thoroughly using clean water and soap. If possible, a medicated soap can be used to ensure that germs are minimized. One should avoid touching the surface that might go into the mouth of the infant. People with colds or other infections should avoid handling the baby’s feed and feeding equipment.


The feeding equipment should be washed thoroughly after every use. The feeding bottle should be washed as follows
➤Rub teat with salt.
➤Wash the bottle using hot soapy water and a bottle brush. Wash all the parts of the bottle and all babies feeding equipment.
➤Rinse first in hot then in cold water. Rinse well ensuring all the soap and dirt is removed.
➤Sterilize the feeding equipment.

How to sterilize feeding equipment

Sterilizing your feeding equipment for the first six months protects your baby from harmful germs until your little one’s immune system has matured and grown stronger. There are a few different ways to sterilize your baby’s bottles, teats, lids and other feeding equipment.


  • Boiling works by raising the temperature high enough to kill any bacteria left over after washing.
  • Place clean bottles, teats, caps and utensils in a large saucepan on the back burner of the stove.
  • Add enough water to cover all the equipment, making sure there are no air bubbles.
  • Bring water to the boil, and boil rapidly for 5 minutes.
  • Turn off the stove and allow the water to cool down.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before you handle the equipment, and disinfect the surface where you plan to make up the bottle.
  • Take the equipment from the saucepan and shake off any excess water.
  • If you are not using them straight away, put the lid and teat onto the bottle, and store in a clean container in the fridge.
  • Re-boil the bottle and other equipment if it is not used within 24 hours.


Chemical sterilizers are disinfectant solutions that come as liquids or tablets that you dilute with water.
  • Make sure bottles, teats, caps and utensils are thoroughly clean before you begin.
  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for making up the sterilizing solution.
  • Place the feeding equipment in the sterilizing solution, making sure it is completely under water and there are no air bubbles.
  • Leave the equipment in the sterilizing solution for the recommended amount of time (usually about 30 minutes – check the manufacturer’s instructions).
  • You can then leave the equipment in the solution until you need to use it.
  • Allow bottles, teats and lids to drain before you use them – don’t rinse off the sterilizing solution, as this exposes equipment to germs again.
  • Throw away the solution after 24 hours. Clean the sterilizing container thoroughly in warm, soapy water, before making up a fresh lot of solution.

Steam (microwave or electric sterilizers)

Much like boiling, steaming works by raising the temperature high enough to kill bacteria.
  • There are several different types of sterilizers available – follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  • Make sure bottles, teats, caps and utensils are thoroughly clean before you begin.
  • Make sure that bottles and teats are placed with openings facing down in the sterilizer.
  • Follow instructions for adding water to the unit and turning it on.
  • Leave bottles in the sterilizer until they are needed.
  • If you are not using the bottles straight away, check instructions for how long you can leave them in the sterilizer before you have to re-sterilize them.

Safety tips

  • Never leave hot or boiling liquids unattended or within reach of children.
  • Be aware that steam can burn or scald you just as badly as boiling water.
  • Keep chemicals and chemical solutions out of reach of children.
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before handling equipment that has been sterilized.
➤The equipment should be allowed to drip dry instead of being dried with towels. The towels may introduce germs into the feeding equipment.

➤Store in a clean covered container at a cool place free from dust. The cover helps to keep away dust and insects that carry germs. The container can be placed in the refrigerator and equipment as they are used. 
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