Mothers who breastfeed needn’t worry too much about contaminated milk. Provided the mother is healthy and bathes each day, the breast milk she gives her baby will always be fresh and, most importantly, contain her own anti-bodies that ward off germs. Mothers who choose to bottle-feed their baby aren’t automatically providing this protection against infection. Therefore, cleanliness is paramount when you bottle-feed your baby.
Does this mean a mother who bottle-feeds must be somewhat paranoid; always on the look out for any germs that might be lingering about, waiting to do her baby harm? Of course not. A mother just needs to follow a few basic steps to ensure that bottle-feeding her baby is a happy and safe experience. The most important of these steps is to sterilize your baby’s bottles.
Before your child is born you should purchase a good set of bottles and nipples. You should buy the best that you can afford. Remember that the nipple is what your baby will latch on to, so the nipple will experience a lot of wear-and-tear. Also, buy the larger sized bottles; your baby will soon out-grow the smaller ones. The most important item you should buy, however, is a bottle sterilizer.
There are several types on the market. You can buy a cheap and simple model that you just put in your microwave. The advantage with this type of sterilizer is that it is cheap. It also works perfectly adequately. The disadvantages are that you must ensure that you clean your microwave, especially after cooking spicy food; you don’t want to upset your baby’s stomach. Also portability is limited; it’s not always very convenient to travel with bottle, diapers, wet-wipes, formula and a microwave! You can also buy an electric sterilizer.
Another type of sterilizer you can purchase is the electric model. You wash your baby’ bottles and then pop them into a plastic tray which is then inserted into the sterilizer. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before use. You’ll need to use the sterilizer once, without any bottles when you first use it. Also, only put the amount of water inside the sterilizer that the manufacturer instructs. It’s tempting to put in more, but don’t. It’s important that all the water is turned into steam and evaporates. Any water that’s left behind to form a pool at the bottom of the sterilizer can provide a reservoir in which germs can breed. The advantages with an electric model are that is more or less self-cleaning, unlike a microwave which is also used for cooking. It is somewhat easier to take on a trip. It’s not too heavy and you can always find somewhere to plug it in. The main disadvantage is cost.
The third type of sterilizer is an electric/microwave combination. It’s basically an electric model but you can take out the inner container and put it into a microwave. The main advantages for this type are those of both the microwave and electric ones mentioned above. The main disadvantage is price. This model tends to be the most expensive.
There are other measures you need to undertake to ensure a germ free feed for your baby, but without doubt, for every day use, a sterilizer will be your most important purchase for safe and healthy bottle-feeding your baby.