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Sterilizing Bottles for Pumping
By Jane Squires, RN, IBCLC
Q. I have been using an electric pump for about a month now. My baby is 2 months old. The instructions that came with the pump indicated that the bottles should be sterilized every day that they are used (i.e. boil for 20 minutes). I have been doing this religiously (luckily I don't have to pump every day at this point). However, when I go back to work at 3 months old, I will be pumping every day. How often do you recommend sterilizing bottles for an infant over 3 months? I am storing the milk in plastic liners, double bagged.
A. The reason the instructions tell you to sterilize everything is to so the company can cover themselves. If your baby is a healthy term baby and gaining well you probably do not need to sterilize.
Generally speaking we live in a dirty environment, and the baby is subjected to all kinds of stuff all the time. It is virtually impossible to sterilize everything that gets in contact with the baby. If your baby takes a pacifier are you sterilizing it?
It is not good for the bottles and tubes to be sterilized too much because the plastic starts to stretch, and you may not have as a good a suction from your pump.
I tell mothers: Wash the pump parts in warm soapy water, and rinse, and let air dry on clean kitchen counter, on a clean towel. If you have a dishwasher you can put the pump parts in the dishwasher, and that is clean enough.
Also keep in mind one of the many reasons you are nursing is because it is healthier for the baby, and the baby is exposed to antibodies from you. If you should happen to get sick, then the baby will already have been exposed to your antibodies, and if he/she gets ill he will be less sick than if you were not giving him breastmilk.
Additionally our breasts are not sterile, and they don't tell us to sterilize them
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