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      How to sterilise baby bottles and when to stop

      Sterilising Baby Bottles

      How to sterilise baby bottles and when to stop

      Read time: 3 minutes

      How to sterilise a baby bottle

      Whether you are using bottles to store expressed breast milk, or for feeding formula milk, sterilising your baby’s bottles and teats is an essential part of your feeding routine1. As your baby’s immune system is still developing2, it’s vital that all feeding equipment is kept clean and sterile to help reduce the chance of infection.

      When can I stop sterilising baby bottles?

      You should sterilise your baby’s bottles and teats until they are at least 12 months old, as it will help to protect your baby against infections, including diarrhoea and vomiting1.

      Can I sterilise my baby bottles in the microwave?

      You can use the microwave to steam sterilise your baby’s bottles, using a steam steriliser3, but you’ll need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on your steriliser, as not all are microwave friendly. You’ll still need to clean the bottles and teats in hot soapy water and, when you put them into the steriliser, you’ll need to make sure they are all facing downwards1.


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      Does the dishwasher sterilise baby bottles?

      You can put your baby’s bottles in the dishwasher to clean them, but it won’t sterilise them. You’ll need to rinse the bottles and teats in clean, cold water before you sterilise them1.

      What happens if you don’t sterilise baby bottles?

      Not sterilising your baby’s bottles will allow bacteria to develop on the feeding equipment. This may lead to infections including diarrhoea and vomiting1.

      1. NHS. Sterilising baby bottles [Online] 2019. Available at:'s%20important%20to%20sterilise%20all,in%20particular%20diarrhoea%20and%20vomiting. [Accessed June 2020]
      2. Yu JC, Khodadadi H, Malik A, et al. Innate Immunity of Neonates and Infants. Front Immunol. 2018;9:1759. Published 2018 Jul 30.
      3. WHO. Safe preparation, storage and handling of powered infant formula guidelines. [Online] 2007. Available at: [Accessed July 2020]

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