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Breast-fed babies get sterilized milk as it is provided to them directly from their mother’s breast. On the other hand, feeding the baby with a baby bottle, especially through the first semester, requires time and special care to achieve proper sterilization. 

When does the sterilization stop?

Entering the second semester of life, the immune system of your baby (his defense system) has matured enough, so there is no need for sterilization. 

The beginning of ablactation, as it is recommended by most pediatricians, begins around the 5th month of life. Adding new food in your baby’s nutrition stops the need for sterilization. At this stage, both the immune and the digestive systems have matured. 

Together with the introduction of solid food, your baby now is able to grab with his hands many objects and usually the first reaction is to put them in his mouth, in order for him to explore. There is no need for sterilization after the age of five months. Ending the sterilization does not mean that you stop to follow the hygiene rules meticulously. On the contrary, we must strictly follow the hygiene rules. 

Basic rules for sterilization


Always wash your hands well before the milk or food preparation, as well as the counter you will use. You also have to wash your hands well before giving any medicine or before a diaper change.

If you are breastfeeding or collecting milk from your breast, except from washing your hands, you have to wash your breast and wipe it with a fresh ironed towel. If you collect the milk, use a sterilized breast pump, and keep the milk in special sterilized bottles.

To sterilize the baby bottle, remove the lid and place it under running water until it appears clean. Fill a bowl with hot water and by using a clean sponge dedicated only for cleaning the baby bottles, clean well the different utensils. Then, wash again with running water and put all the utensils, the bowl and the sponge on a clean towel and let them dry. When they get dry, especially during the summer when there is humidity, you can keep them in the fridge to avoid microbial development.

Use hot soapy water for the utensils you need to use for cooking or serving the food of the baby, so any food or fat residue is removed.

After the first semester, there is no need for the extra boil of the water when preparing the formula milk; warm water is fine.

Prefer to give tab water to your baby unless it is not suitable. If you travel, prefer bottled water, preferably from a glass bottle.

If your baby uses a pacifier, it’s good to continue to boil it for 2-3 minutes. Also, it is a good idea to have a few extra (1-2) clean pacifiers and keep them in their case when they get dry.

If the baby is eating the same meal for two days, then the meal should be kept in the fridge after being cooked and the next day when is going to be reheated let it steam hot all the way through.

Your baby’s toys need regular cleaning with soap. Extra attention is needed if they are dirty with food because they can be a source of bacteria.

Except from the everyday bath, your baby’s face needs regular local cleaning, especially after meals, and his hands when he plays in the soil or crawling on the floor.
Authored by Dr. Adamos Hadjipanayi, Paediatrician