Glass or plastic baby bottles can hold expressed breast milk, formula, fruit juice or water to refresh and nourish your child. Bottles make it convenient to feed your baby on the go and allow your child’s siblings, grandparents and caregivers to share the feeding duties. Before you offer a new bottle or one that you feel needs a deep cleaning to your baby, boil the nipple and bottle to ensure you don’t introduce germs or chemicals into your child’s system.
Wash used baby bottle nipples with dishwashing soap and warm water before boiling old and new nipples in the same pot. If you notice a buildup of milk or formula caked inside a nipple, the California Pacific Medical Center suggests using a special bottle brush sold at grocery or baby supply stores to scrub the residue away.
Place the bottle nipples in a pot and add enough tap water to completely cover them. Use enough water to ensure the nipples remain submerged throughout the boiling process so you can sterilize them inside and out.
Sit the pot on the stove on high heat to boil the water. Let the baby bottle nipples sit in the boiling water for at least five minutes to ensure you’ve sterilized them, recommends the California Pacific Medical Center.
Remove the sterilized bottle nipples from the hot water with tongs so you don’t burn yourself.
Put the baby bottle nipples on a clean towel and allow them to air dry completely before using them. This will also ensure that the nipples don’t have residual heat or still contain drops of hot water that can burn your baby.
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Clean bottle nipples -- along with the bottles, rings and tools that you use to make baby formula -- with dishwashing soap and hot water rather than sterilizing them in boiling water after each use. You can also run the bottles and nipples through a cycle in the dishwasher, notes the HealthyChildren.org website. Place the nipples on the top rack or inside a basket that will keep them from falling to the bottom of the dishwasher.
Instead of sterilizing the nipples on the stovetop, you can buy an appliance sold at baby supply stores designed to sterilize bottles and nipples. Versions include electric countertop models or units that you can heat inside a microwave oven.
Avoid accidents and burns by keeping your baby and other children out of the kitchen when you’re boiling baby bottle nipples. If children must be in the area, place the pot on a burner at the back of the stove and point the handle toward the back of the stove so a child can’t grab it and pull the pot off the stove.