Ideally Breast feed is the best and most suitable for a baby. A child does not need a bottle at any age and even one bottle may mean the end of successfulbreast feeding. Bottle feeding can be potentially hazardous for the baby as it can lead to infections such as acute gastro enteritis or repeated diarrhea.

However real life is rarely as ideal. For the mother who chooses to bottle feed, or has to bottle feed because of certain compulsions, here are a few tips to healthy and hygienic bottle-feeding

Do’s & Donts.

  • The bottle, nipple and cover must be sterilized for each feed.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before preparing a feed.
  • Ensure that the person who prepares the baby’s feed has her fingernails cut and clean at all times.
  • The utensils used for preparing a feed must first be washed with boiling water.
  • Use bottles that can be cleaned easily.
  • Do not use Bottles made from steel / silver
  • Do not touch the inside of the sterilized bottle. Handle the sterilized nipple only from its sides.
  • Any milk left over in the bottle should be discarded and not reused lest it cause bacterial contamination and diarrhoea.
  • Feeds must be freshly prepared. If a feed needs to be carried in a car or on a short journey, carry the water and formula separately. Mix when the baby needs the milk. If you carry cow’s milk make sure it is in a thermos
  • Check the size of the hole of the nipple. Milk should flow easily but drop by drop. The hole should neither be so large that it chokes the baby nor so small that the baby gets exhausted while sucking.
  • Check the temperature of the milk to be fed – it should be neither scalding hot nor too cold. The temperature of the milk can be checked on the inside of the elbow/ wrist.
  • Do not leave the bottle unattended in the baby’s mouth.
  • The bottle must be covered with the sterile cap even for the short duration when the baby is being burped in between a feed.
  • The baby should be burped during, as well as after, a feed. Bottle fed babies need to be burped more as compared to breast fed a great deal of air is swallowed while feeding.

Sterilization Methods
The bottle must first be washed thoroughly and the inside of the nipple cleaned with salt to remove any grease. The bottle, if washed with soapy water, must be rinsed really well with lots of fresh water.


  • Heat the pan containing the bottles till the water starts boiling. Boil for at least 10 minutes after this. The nipple and the bottle cap should be added in the last 2 -3 minutes.
  • It is advisable not to boil all the bottles at one time because multiple handling may promote infection.
  • Washing bottles with hot or boiling water is not enough to sterize the bottles

Sterilizing solutions like Steriliq

This is both convenient and effective. The solution is harmful neither for the baby nor the bottle and the procedure is simple.

  • Take a plastic container with a lid like a breadbox or a covered tub.
  • Make as much solution as will completely immerse all the bottles, nipples and covers You need to add in the proportion of one cap full of the steriliq to one litre of ordinary tap water.
  • Immerse the bottles, nipples and caps, into this solution for half an hour to one hour for effective sterilization. They can lie immersed for 24 hours and still stay effectively sterilised.
  • When a bottle is needed , remove from the solution with clean hands. Do not rewash or rinse after taking out from sterile solution.
  • After use, wash and keep the bottles aside Keep taking out bottles from the solution till only one is left, then put the cleaned bottles back in the same solution to be again sterilised.
  • Make a fresh solution once every 24 hours at a convenient time of the day.
  • Steriliq reacts with metal. Don’t make steriliq in a steel container. Also don’t put steel spoons etc in the solution for sterilisation.

This is also a cost effective method as one liter of Sterliq is available for Rs 60.

Steam Electric Sterilisers / Microwave
There are two types of Steam sterizers available. One that works on electricity and another that is used inside the microwave oven. In India the former is only available. Imported brands are available for Rs 3000 to Rs 4000. One Indian brand has come out which is for roughly Rs 1800.

This is one of the best forms of sterilisation. Investing in a steam sterilizer makes sense especially if you are a working mother. It minimizes the danger of unhygienic sterilization by the maid.

  • Washed and clean bottles, nipples and caps are put inside the steriliser, for 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Sterile bottles are ready and can be picked up one at a time while the others are left in the steriliser to be used for subsequent feeds.

Related Links

Dental Hygiene
Choosing a Paediatrician.

Product reviews
Breast feeding
Starting solids

Expressing milk
Semi solid recipes

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