Bottle Feeding: Bottle Safety Tips to Protect Your Baby from Harmful Germs

If you're bottle-feeding your baby, follow this checklist to keep her germ-free.
If your baby uses a bottle, it is important to remember that bottle-feeding equipment can habor disease-causing bacteria and other germs if not properly handled, cleaned and sterilized. Follow this checklist to keep your little one germ-free.

  • Sterilize feeding paraphernalia. All brand-new bottles, teats and breast-pumps need to be boiled for two to five minutes. After every use, they should be washed in hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds or put in the dishwasher.

  • Mix the formula just before it is needed. If you're going out for the day, carry the water and formula separately then prepare the milk just before it is needed.

  • Always refrigerate if you don't plan on using freshly prepared formula within the hour. Store the bottles in the back of the fridge, where it is coolest, not in the fridge door.

  • Store for freshness. Discard any mixed formula that's been in the fridge for more than 24 hours. Ready-to-feed formula can stay refrigerated for 48 hours; pumped breast milk can be kept refrigerated for up to eight days or frozen for up to three months.

  • Toss the leftover milk after each feeding. Never save unfinished bottles of breast milk or formula for later bacteria from your baby's mouth can contaminate the leftovers and make her ill.

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