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Infants are delicate. Children are at their most vulnerable during their first two years. As new parents, you should be extra cautious when it comes to sterilizing baby feeders or bottles.
You should dry baby bottles before you feed your baby, having disinfected them beforehand, unless you are using them immediately after the sterilization process.
Some parents can be nonchalant about drying baby bottles. Not many people bother with post-wash rituals. Sure, you boiled the feeder to sterilize it completely; but what about when it comes out of the hot water? How should you dry them, so that the germs do not find their way back in?
Why Do Baby Bottles Need to Be Dry Before Use?
You could be a massive clean freak, but you can never have a hundred percent assurance of your baby bottles being germ-free. Bacteria can and will find its way into the cleanest of places. Germs and bacteria can live on cozily in the residue droplets of water inside the bottles and multiply over time.
Hence, it is essential to dry out baby bottles before using them. While there are many ways to dry the bottles, not all are recommended for proper sterilization. This is why I have included some techniques on how to properly sterilize and dry your baby bottles.
Sterilizing is an important part of pregnancy (in terms of what mom eats — consider cheese!) and looking after your newborn, particularly. That is why, all things baby: toys, bottles and feeders, clothes, bibs, pacifiers, blankets and everything else need to be perfectly sterilized.
There are various ways of sterilizing, improved over time and technology. Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks and not every parent is the same. Through my pregnancies and looking after both of my boys I’ve learned a lot about the different ways to get all your baby items ‘up to code’ for your little one. Here are the top ways to get the job done: –
Going the traditional route? Boiling is the most popular form of sterilizing — it’s probably how your parents got your baby things prepared for you! The intensely high heat of the boiling water effectively destroys all the germs that survived washing with detergent. It is also the simplest way. This is highly recommended (since ancient times)!
All you have to do is take apart the baby bottle or any object you intend to sterilize, put it in a large pot. You should make sure your pot is deep enough so the water covers the baby bottles and toys. Then place it on the stove and let it boil for about thirty to forty minutes. Ta-da! Disinfected.
- Chemical Disinfectant
Chemical Disinfectants come in liquid form or as tablets. Each brand varies in its method of preparation, so it is best to follow the instructions on the box. After you prepare the solution as per the instructions, dunk your baby’s feeding utensils into the liquid. Keep them drenched for about half an hour or according to the directions.
After you are done with that, drain the silicone nipples and bottles individually and properly. Let it sit on a rack or dryer. Do not rinse off the chemical solution. Rinsing will defeat the purpose of chemically sterilizing the bottles.
Now while this is a tried and proven method of sterilization, it is not one of the most popular ones. Baby dropped their pacifier on the ground while you were out for a walk in the stroller? You’ll find a lot of the portable pacifier containers can also double as sterilizers (check with the manufacturer first!) when used with cleaning tablets or solutions on the go.
- Steam Sterilization
Steaming is another easy technique of sterilizing baby bottles. It’s the future! We have electric sterilizers which essentially use high-temperature steam to disinfect objects. Pick up a bench to plug it in, put in your items, press a button, and wait. Hey presto! Things are clean!
Steaming is quite a traditional method as well, much like boiling. Before electric steamers for microwaves, mothers would boil up half a pot of water and place a net over it. This net would hold the spoons, bottles, bowls and even napkins used by the baby and covered with a lid.
The concentrated steam would wipe out any traces of germs or bacteria.
Of course, now we have the microwave which is just as effective in disinfecting all our toddler tools. It is important to clean the microwave beforehand to ensure proper sterilization, though.
But my personal favorite is probably still the electric sterilizer. It is super convenient to skip the stove and just place the teats, bottles and pumps face down inside the sterilizer after a wash. Thus, I can just leave it there until I have to use it, with no extra hassle of drying or dripping. You can often use them your baby goods straight out of the steamer too — check the instructions for your steamer!
What Is The Best Way To Dry Baby Bottles?
Okay, so you washed the bottles with soap and you steamed or boiled or sanitized them properly. As I have already mentioned, it is a bad idea to leave your baby utensils dripping after a sterilization session. Now how do you properly dry baby bottles?
- Towel Drying
A lot of people use dish rags or kitchen towels to dry out utensils. While it is okay for your dinner plates, it is a big no-no for baby feeders or pacifiers. Towel Drying is not recommended for baby bottles. Towel drying basically defeats the entire process of sterilizing.
It is highly likely for germs and bacteria to live on any sort of cloth or fabric, which can easily be transferred when used to dry baby bottles. This increases the possibility of contamination and should be avoided — though if baby is a little older you’d get away with drying the outside of the bottle itself. (Not the nipple or any part baby is likely to put in their mouth)
- Dish Rack
Another way of drying baby bottles is by leaving them to rest on a dish rack. However, the downside to this is that it can take up a lot of time, which means that the bacteria also has time to find a way in. Keep in mind that you’ll also have to regularly sanitize the entire dish rack.
- Baby Bottle Dryer
A baby bottle dryer is essentially a smaller dish rack but made specifically for baby bottles. Besides, these dryers are compact, so they take up minimal space in your kitchen. The bottle, nipple and pacifiers can be easily hung on the sticks protruding from the dryer tray; which effectively drains the bottle and leaves them dry.
These dryers come with a water filtering tray underneath, which means no dampness near the baby bottles and elimination of any potential fungal growth. Some of these racks also come with a transparent lid or cover, which ensures that no dust or bacteria will land on your baby’s things.
Steaming is highly recommended because it essentially means you do not need to dry your baby bottles at all! If you use the steaming technique on glass bottles, they will most likely be misty for 10 seconds and then dry automatically; sanitized and ready for use! Most steamer manufacturers will instruct you to leave the unit closed until you want to use the bottles, though. Do read the instructions.
I never have to worry about drying baby bottles and pacifiers; even some of my kid’s favorite smaller toys go in the steam sterilizer. And the best part is that I can rest assured, knowing that all my children’s stuff can stay in the sterilizer for a whole day and still remain disinfected and safe for use — I put things in overnight, and they’re ready in the morning.
- Disinfect efficiently and effectively. Make sure you are not drying sterilized bottles on a regular dish rack.
- Handle hot water with care around children.
- Steam can scald. Best to use tongs.
- Antiseptic chemicals are still chemicals and should be handled with gloves on.
So should you dry baby bottles before use? Yep! Hopefully this guide helped those second-guessing themselves. Remember to properly sanitize both hands before handling baby bottles, and store your baby essentials in a properly sterilized container; you do not want to undo all the steps you took to get those items clean in the first place! If you’re having trouble getting your bottles clean, check out our article on what to do if your baby bottles smell like soap for tips.