What are the different methods to sterilise equipment used for expressing breast milk?

There are a number of safe ways to sterilise infant’s feeding equipment. The bottles, teats and collars should always be cleaned first to ensure no traces of milk or milk residue remain.

Steam

Electric steamers sterilise bottles in 8–12 minutes. They leave no unpleasant smell or taste but are not suitable for all equipment (i.e. breast pumps). It is important to ensure the openings of the bottles and teats are facing downwards in the steriliser and that the manufacturer’s instructions are followed.

Microwave

Steam sterilising units create steam in the microwave which sterilises bottles and teats in 8–10 minutes. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, especially concerning the correct amount of water
to use.

This method is not suitable for glass bottles, as glass retains heat and can become extremely hot in the time it takes to sterilise. Teats should be placed upright not laid flat, as this allows the steam to circulate to all areas of the teat.

Boiling

To sterilise a bottle by boiling, completely submerge all the feeding equipment in boiling water for 5 minutes.

The water should cool before taking the equipment out and then shake off excess water. Cold water Using an approved sterilisation tablet takes about 30 minutes and is highly safe and effective.

It is important to prepare the sterilising solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

The solution should be made up in a large glass or plastic container.

It is important that the bottles and teats are fully submerged in the container (no air gaps).

The bottles can stay sterilised in the water for up to 24 hours.

 

Do not thaw or warm expressed breast milk in the microwave as this destroys the living cells in the milk.