The right way to sterilise your baby’s bottles
Ms Barbara Kansiime introduced her son to bottle feeding three weeks before the end of her maternity leave. “I wanted to see how he would react to bottle feeding and formula. But he easily adapted to it though at the start he got severe diarrhoea. At first I thought it was the formula but when I took him to the paediatrician, he said that it was the feeding bottle,” she says.
Diarrhoea and vomiting are the commonest symptoms of a viral infection amongst children under the age of one. While they are triggered by various infections, the feeding bottles that these babies use are also a contributor to the infections.
Dr Joseph Sseremba, a consultant paediatrician at Sseremba Medical Centre, says baby bottles are cleaned by sterilising; this is the killing of infectious germs on and inside the bottle by either boiling it or cleaning it with an antiseptic.
“Unlike the breast, the bottle habours a lot of germs which can easily be ingested by the baby thus calling for thorough cleaning if you are to keep vomiting and diarrhoea at bay,” the paediatrician explains.
How to clean and sterilise
He says after emptying the bottle, you should wash it with clean warm water, a bottle brush and soap. For those that prefer boiling, there are two ways of doing it.
“Boil water, pour it in a bowl and put the bottle in that water. Cover the bowl and leave the bottle there for 10 minutes.”
The other option is that, “you put the bottle in a kettle with cold water and let the water boil with the bottle inside.”
Besides boiling, you can also use antiseptics. Ms Zabina Nabirye an infant feeding specialist at the Diet Clinic in Kamwokya says you can use diluted Jik (emphasis is on diluted) or various tablets meant for sterilizing baby’s bottles.
“After washing the milk out of the bottle with clean warm water, a bottle brush and soap, you can dip the bottle in water mixed with the antiseptic. After 15 minutes, remove it and rinse the bottle again with boiled warm water to rid it of the antiseptic.”
However, the infant feeding specialist says that antiseptics are tricky.
“If you use antiseptics you have to pay a lot of attention to the rinsing because if you don’t, you risk feeding the baby with some of that sanitiser.”
Dr Sseremba adds, “That is why we always advise mothers to just use boiling water.”
He further discourages the practice of leaving the bottles to house-helps for cleaning. “House-helps will not pay enough attention to the cleaning especially the teat. That’s why you have to do it by yourself.”
He says it is good for one to have at least six bottles. “Fill them according to how much the baby takes in a day. Leave them in a clean place and tell the maid to only warm the contents of the bottle by placing it in a bowl filled with warm water whenever the baby is going to feed. After, they should put it aside for you to clean.”
Ms Nabirye says that after the baby has used the bottle, “whatever remains should be poured out because it might have been contaminated and if reused it can easily cause infections in the baby.”
By Sarah Tumwebaze, Daily Monitor
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