Babies are very delicate and so must be adequately cared for. The use of infant formula feeding often times exposes infant to infections and food poisoning. This is because bacteria and viruses can easily be transferred from infants feeding items if they are not properly sterilized before use. This is one of the reasons why most babies have diarrhea very early in life which is often taken as a sign that the child is about to grow his/her first tooth. Many babies are being lost to gastroenteritis every year, this can be avoided if the necessary feeding practices are embraced.
Infant feeding equipment: Bottles and the nipples, teats of various sizes, rings, and caps that go with them. Certain bottles also may include valves or membranes. Some infants may be fed with a syringe, medicine cup, spoon, or supplemental nursing system.
To ensure adequate safety of your baby’s feeding bottles, you must ensure that you clean the bottles after every meal then you sterilize them.
- Wash your hands with soapy water and dry with a clean towel.
- Check teats for any cracks. Throw away any damaged teats as bacteria can grow in the cracks.
- Wash all bottle-feeding equipment in hot, soapy water.
- Use a bottle brush to scrub inside bottles and teats.
- Squirt water through teats to clear the little hole.
- Rinse everything thoroughly.
This can be done methods like boiling, chemical use, steam sterilization, microwave sterilization. Sterilization kills bacteria that cleaning didn’t even in form of spores.
Boiling: This is the simplest and most reliable way of sterilizing feeding bottles. This method has been adopted for years and is still been used till date.
- Put the bottles, teats, rings and caps in a large pot.
- Fill the pot with water until all equipment are totally submerged in water
- Boil water for five minutes.
- Leave the feeding equipments to cool until you can take it out with your hand
- For active effect, use all equipment within 24 hours of boiling.
Chemicals: This involves submerging all feeding items into a dissolved antibacterial solution for sterilization. the required strength i.e. chemical to water ratio used must be safe for the baby and strong enough kill the bacteria
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when you make up the solution to make sure it’s the right strength.
- Wash all equipment with warm soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
- Completely submerge everything and leave it all in the solution for the recommended time before you use it again.
- You can leave equipment in the solution when it’s not in use.
- Remove the equipment and shake off excess solution before using, but don’t rinse it.
- You can keep the solution for 24 hours once it’s made up. After this time throw it away, thoroughly scrub the container and equipment in warm soapy water and make up some new solution.
- Keep chemical solution away from children
- Ensure chemical bottle is well labelled to prevent poisoning
Steam sterilisers: Steam sterilisers are automatic units that ‘cook’ your equipment at a temperature high enough to kill bacteria.
- Put your clean equipment into the unit, add water according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and switch on. The unit switches itself off when the job is done.
Microwave steam sterilisers : These are like steam sterilisers, but you put them in the microwave oven:
- Follow the instructions carefully.
- Check the microwave power needed not all microwave ovens are the same.
- Don’t put any metal inside these sterilizer