How to Bottle Feed
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Shel Banks
Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant based in the northwest of England, working within the NHS in research, training and project management, in private practice assisting mothers and babies with feeding issues, and the tertiary sector with various national organisations.
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Formula feeding

Sterilising bottles and equipment

Your baby has an immature immune system so it’s important to make sure that your baby’s formula is prepared safely and that your baby’s bottles are clean and sterilised.
Video Tutorial
In Short

There are several ways in which you can sterilize your baby’s feeding equipment, such as:

using a cold-water sterilising solution

steam sterilising

sterilising by boiling

Our video is presented by Melissa Little, Paediatric Dietitian

The following instructions apply to all feeding equipment you use for your baby – whether you are feeding your baby expressed breast milk or infant formula.

Remember to first wash your hands well with soap and water and clean the work surfaces with hot soapy water.

Before sterilising, always:

  • Clean the feeding bottle and teat in hot, soapy water as soon as possible after a feed, using a clean bottle brush.
  • Rinse all your equipment in clean, cold running water before sterilising.
All feeding items must be thoroughly washed and rinsed before they are sterilised. Dishwashers will clean bottle feeding equipment but will not sterilise it. This is because temperatures reached in a dishwasher are not high enough for sterilisation, so you need to both clean and sterilise the bottles.


Cold-water sterilizing solution

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Change the sterilising solution every 24 hours.
  • Leave feeding equipment in the sterilizing solution for at least half an hour (30 mins).
  • Make sure that there are no air bubbles trapped in the bottles or teats.
  • Keep all the equipment under the sterilizing water with a floating cover.

Steam sterilising (electric steriliser or microwave)

  • It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your particular steriliser.
  • Make sure the openings of the bottles and teats are facing down in the steriliser.
  • Manufacturers will give a guide as to how long you can leave equipment that you are not using straight after sterilising before it needs to be re-sterillised.

Sterilising by boiling

  • Never leave hot pans and liquids unattended, especially if children are present.
  • Make sure that whatever you sterilise in this way is safe to boil.
  • Boil the feeding equipment in water for at least 10 minutes, making sure that all items stay under the surface of the water.
  • Remember that teats tend to get damaged faster with this method.
  • This method can be used if you find yourself away from your home and only have access to a pan, water and hob.
Be careful to prevent anyone, especially children, from being burned or hurt if you are using the boiling method.
Regularly check that teats and bottles are not torn, cracked or damaged.

  • Wash hands thoroughly. Clean and disinfect the surfaces where you will assemble the bottle and teat.
  • Remove the bottles just before they are used.
  • If you are not using the bottles immediately, put them together fully with the teat and lid in place to prevent the inside of the sterilised bottle and the inside and outside of the teat from being contaminated.
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This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.