What age can you stop sterilizing your baby

Letitia - posted on 07/06/2010 ( 77 moms have responded )

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What age can you stop sterilizing your baby's bottles?

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Sarah - posted on 07/10/2010

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It's so funny reading all the different opinions on here. Some say sterilize until they are 1 year, some say 6 months...well who the heck is right? I have read from several different sources that say it's only necessary to sterilize the bottles before first use & then use hot soapy water or put them in the dishwasher each time after that.

I sterilize my almost 10 month old son's bottles before I first use them. I rinse them out after he drinks from them & then at night I let all of them soak in hot soapy water to get any dried up gunk off of them. I clean all the parts with a brush (that I replace every so often) & then I stick them in the dishwasher. I'm assuming the process is all that needs to be done considering my son is almost 10 months and has NEVER been sick.

Greet - posted on 07/09/2010

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It's very important to sterilize bottles since the bacteria that grow on milk are the very nasty ones that can make a baby really sick. That's the main reason why in developing countries women with HIV are still advized to breastfeed in stead of using bottles, in spite of the risk of transmitting HIV by doing so. So sterilising bottles is really very important. No matter of how often or how rarely you use bottles to feed the baby, one 'bad' bottle can cause so much problems for the baby, that there's really no reason not to do it, at least untill the baby's immune system is strong enough (+/- 1 year). And ever after that it is recommended to sterilize all bottles once a week.

Greet
PhD Sciences
Postgrad Tropical Medicine

Tiffany - posted on 07/08/2010

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I totally respect everyone else's opinions and there is absolutely no harm in continuing to sterilize bottles...but this is the way I look at it: Unless you are have some miracle way of sterilizing every single thing that your child touches then what't the point of making the effort to sterilize bottles? yes, definitely soak and wash them in hot soapy water because they need to be cleaned, but if you lay your baby on the floor and he/she touches the carpet with their hand then you can bet whatever germs were on the floor will be on their hands. Germs are a part of life and while it is good to wash your hands after you go to the bathroom and practice good hygiene...you also need to be able to build up immunities to the germs around you. Hope I didn't make anyone mad..that was most definitely not what I was trying to do....just stating my reason for not taking that extra step :) God Bless!

Jennifer - posted on 07/06/2010

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my son gets breastmilk in bottles and we've never sterilized. in the beginning we washed them with antibacterial dishsoap but other than that we never did anything special.

as long as you have a healthy baby, she'll be perfectly fine without you sterilizing them. babies need to be exposed to germs in order to build a good immune system and even when you do sterilize bottles they are re exposed to germs and bacteria just from being handled

[deleted account]

Honestly ladies, there is no need to go on the offensive here. Each country is different with their guidelines because the quality of water is different. I've taken the liberty of researching a few countries' guidelines which you'll find below. Letitia lives in Australia (original poster) which is the first link listed. But if you're still not satisfied ask your Pediatrician/Doctor what they recommend. I hope this helps.

Australian Guidelines (Letitia's place of residence)

"Sterilising all equipment is essential
You will need to sterilise all bottle-feeding equipment until your baby is 12 months old. First, wash all the equipment in warm, soapy water. Use a clean bottlebrush to thoroughly remove all traces of milk, rinse and then sterilise. There are a number of different sterilising methods you can use including boiling, chemicals, steam and microwave."

Please check link below for further info:

http://bit.ly/9Vms7Q

In Canada:

"Cleaning and Sterilizing Bottles and Feeding Equipment:
If a baby is less than four months of age, all bottles and feeding equipment should be both cleaned and sterilized in accordance with universal guidelines (Health Canada, 2005)."

For more info see link below:

http://bit.ly/a2EWRf

In the US: (I was unable to locate the ministry guidelines but found this)

Bottle Preparation

"Sterilize bottles, nipples, and rings in boiling water upon first use. Thereafter, use the dishwasher or hot, soapy water and air dry before each use.* To prevent fungal growth, regularly rinse nipples in a vinegar and water solution (1-to-1 ratio) and air-dry. Store unused bottles in a clean, dry place with nipples covered. * If your baby is premature or ill, the hospital or pediatrician may ask you to sterilize these items before each use."

For more info click on the link below:

http://bit.ly/2xbAJI

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77 Comments

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Karla - posted on 09/30/2012

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For everyone who lets their baby use a pacifier. Unless you sterilize it every single day or everytime your baby takes it out of their mouth it's getting exposed to the same germs. Just thought i'd share this. I sterilize right now and giggle when I think about his pacifier. I'm probably going to stop. He is 3 months

CODY-RENEE - posted on 07/28/2010

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defiantly sterilize your bottles, teets, toys and dummies.. as a baby we have to prevent them getting sick, and especially with new plastics and normal water has chemicals babies can not react to like us.. but here in aus they say about 1 yrs old thats when they start picking up everything such as things on the floor and colds and flus then need a bigger and better immune system.. but its always up to mother. :)

Gemma - posted on 07/28/2010

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I always sterilise bottles and dummies. Baby is not yet on solids so no bowls etc. I soak all new plastic toys in boiling water too. I have a microwave steriliser. It holds 4 bottles and takes 8 minutes. I don't think that is too long for my baby's health.

I agree babies need exposure to germs to help them build immunity and I know she will pick up germs from the floor and other places, especially as I have a dog. I think this is good for her and refuse to keep her in a bubble but bottles harbour germs and they can be really nasty ones.

Take sensible precautions. You where a helmet to ride a bike but not a full body suit, even though you could break an arm. You don't let raw chicken touch other food but eat raw veg. It's about being sensible but at the end of the day it's your descision. Speak to your health visitor or doctor and take their advice but don't say it takes too long. Ik spend more time putting suncream on her than I do sterilising!

[deleted account]

I only sterilise when there are bugs about (ie someone in the house is ill) I sterilise all new stuff and each wash up until about 3 months. Even my hospital didn't sterilise.

Josephine - posted on 07/20/2010

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in response to those asking if people sterilize bowls/spoons/etc along with bottles... the bottles nipple stays in a childs mouth for much longer than a bowl, spoon, etc...babies dont suck on spoons or bowls, or keep them resting on their gums or teeth...besides bacteria in the tummy, you need to consider bacteria on the teeth...my daughter is 14 months old now, and uses both a sippy cup and a bottle...i have an extremely busy day, but still find time to sterilize her bottles at the end of the day...whats the harm in that?? i personally would rather sterilize if i didnt have to than NOT sterilize...i wash everything in very hot, soapy water...i will say this, she has sparkling white teeth...wonder if thats because we sterilize :)

Julene - posted on 07/19/2010

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Its so much part of our routine to sterilize that it doesn't bother me. I think it is best to keep the real bad bugs away. I don't want my bubba to get nasty tummy bugs!!!
We have a eletric steam sterilizer and it is o so easy. I guess I will keep sterilizing till she is off bottles as its the bottles germs grow in!

Sarh - posted on 07/18/2010

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As long as the baby is healthy there is really no reason to sterilize. I live in the city and have NEVER sterilized ANYTHING for either of my 2 children and they both are fine.

Roxanne - posted on 07/18/2010

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my daughter is 2 months, and when I first bought her bottles, I placed them i boiling for a few minutes. Then after she uses them, I just wash with hot soapy water

J - posted on 07/17/2010

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When my son was a newborn I would sterilize everything b/c they have no immunity. I would boil nipples, bottoms, rubbers, and tops from ventaire bottles, etc. I occasionally do this to his sippy cup tops. Very hot water and good dish washing detergent and a good bottle brush should do the trick if you don't want to boil anything. Some people think that they don't have to sterilize or replace bottle brushes, nipples, you do those things hold bacteria. I don't go by what they say on the bottle I felt better sterilizing. When I would bring his bottles back from the sitter they smelled horrible and she claimed she washed them, they smelled like old formula etc. another reason why I'd wash and sterilize.



If you have a dish washer the hot water and heat from the dryer should work too.

Magaly - posted on 07/17/2010

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We use Ventaire bottles and only sterilize the nipples and vents.
At first I did it every week. I slowly reduced how often I sterilized them. My son just turned 1 and we haven't sterilized anything for a few months now. On occasion I will still sterilize his paci. I'd say that as long as you sterilize before the first use and the first few months, and thereafter thoroughly wash the bottles, you should be fine. My son has not been sick yet!!!! An infant's immune system is considered fully developed at about 6 months of age.

Carol - posted on 07/16/2010

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I sterilize my 8 months botles, spoons, toys. I stopped boiling water for her about a month ago, cause I know the water from tap is ok. Bacteria grows quickly...why risk your baby's health? I agree she puts stuff on her mouth, but I try to keep everything as clean as I can. I also wash her hands after she has been crawling and she is going to eat. For me all this is common sense. Yes she needs to build her inmune system, but no she does not need to suffer awful diseases just because of that, if they can be prevented.

Michelle - posted on 07/16/2010

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my son is 14 months and i still sterilize all his bottles. prob looking at stopping soon though as trying to get him to use a beaker xx

Harriet - posted on 07/16/2010

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One other comment - you can't sterilize your nipples and breastfed babies do GREAT!

Kendra - posted on 07/16/2010

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I don't have an answer - just a comment. I first saw "What age can you stop sterilizing your baby" in my email. I'm glad I clicked on the link to see that it meant your baby's bottles. lol

Angie - posted on 07/16/2010

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I never did sterilize. With three kids, none have ever been sick from the bottles not being sterilized. I just make sure to rinse them out well as soon as I'm done with them. Now, if one gets lost, with milk in it, and I find it later one, I definitely sterilize it. But, just day to day use I don't.

Sharon - posted on 07/16/2010

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I used a steriliser until about 4months old. As soon as he was bringing things to his mouth. We use the dishwasher for all the babies things anyway. When my son spent 13 days in special care I learnt that the hospital sterlises all their equipment, like Breast pump pieces & bottles etc in the Dishwasher. So if you have a dishwasher there is no need to have a seperate sterliser.

Stacey - posted on 07/15/2010

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I through mine in the dishwasher. In hospital the nurse told me its not neccessary to sterilise anymore

Kim - posted on 07/15/2010

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I started to sterilize bottles after my daughter was born but I asked my pediatrican if it was necessary and he said warm soap and water is fine. If there is a water quality issue then it might be necessary.

Lise - posted on 07/14/2010

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I sterilized the first use, and have not since then. My lo is 9 months old. I also don't wash my pump parts between uses in the day (just refrigerate) and only sterilized them before the first use. Came off reqs I got and my lo is fine so far.

Rebecca - posted on 07/14/2010

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im sterilizing my daughters bottels have done since birth and still am now 18months of age, i know she picks dirt up ect but i spoken to the health care ppl n they also say upto the age of 2 and im happy with that arrangment like i say i know she picks things up of the floor ect n dirt but while im sterilizing her bottles beakers and plates i know all her eating and drinking stuff are completly grem free, peice of mind really to know she isnt going to get any nasty bugs of her cutlery. hope this helps but its each to their own and in my eyes theres no right and wrong on this matter is just a learnin curve for us all and whatever you feel is right in the long run. only yourselves know your babies.

Vonnia - posted on 07/14/2010

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The dr. told me that the bottles need to be sterilized every time, since the material of the nipple and the fact that it is in a wet, enclosed space, makes it is very easy for germs to grow on them. He told me not to sterilize the plates, forks, etc, but the bottles need to be sterilized every time.

[deleted account]

When I took my son to his 9 month appointment last month the Dr looked at me like I was crazy for still boiling my sons bottles and giving him bottled water. She told me I didn't need to do it anymore. I was hesitant to stop but I am glad I did it has freed up a lot of time in my day :)

Karlie - posted on 07/14/2010

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my sister couldn't sterilize my nieces just once and she ended up with salmonella poisoning and ended up very sick at 3 months, throwing up and none stop screaming, it took another 3 months to diagnose this and they had to check her for kidney and liver damage!!!

Varda - posted on 07/14/2010

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I sterilized only at the first month that's all with my first child, on my second I did not sterilized at all and so on the 3rd.
The reason is very simple -
There are more allergies in the western world than in 3rd world countries, the reason is that we keep babies and children in such clean environments that they hardly are exposed to the dirt that comes from outside - they become more and more sensitive and there fore are more likely to catch everything later on.
I simply cleaned them very good with sop and never left the milk inside to sit for ours - wash right away, I hope this help u and by the way my kids rarely ill and have no allergies.

Danielle - posted on 07/14/2010

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I have sterilized my daughters since she has been born, whether it was breast milk or formula in them. I use the playtex drop in systems bottles, so I just sterilize the nipple, cap and ring. My daughter is 10 months old, and I tried stopping for about a month, and my daughter got thrush, so needless to say, I will continue to sterilize, until she is at least 1!!

Hristina - posted on 07/14/2010

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And yes! I sterilize pacifiers, spoons, plates, cups etc. I sterilise everything that is suitable for sterilizing. Every product has instructions written, so you can easily check if smthng needs to be sterilized. There are sterilizers for adults also, but we don't use it...

Hristina - posted on 07/14/2010

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What is the point of sterilizing bottles once a week or once a month?!! You should do it after every wash, it is very important until baby is one year old, regardless on where you live. I sterilize the bottles every day once or two times depends on how many i've washed that day.

Gina - posted on 07/14/2010

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you MUST STERILISE its not hard to sterilise your bottles, eliminate the nasty germs from this...and they can build up there immune systems by touching everything else. you will hate yourself if your baby caught something by not doing this simple thing. ever get told to boil your water from time to time because its polluted...its not good.

Desre - posted on 07/14/2010

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I only sterilized my baba's bottles the first 3months. And she is now 9mnths. Very healthy.

Amanda - posted on 07/13/2010

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OMG, seriously? I am 28 years old and have a 2 month old baby girl, I have "sterilized" her bottles only once when I first got them before she was born (because the bottles I have and use for her are hand me downs from my sister's little girl). Other than that I wash her bottles in hot soapy water. As I was reading the responses the thought struck me... Did all of our parents sterilize all of our bottles and other things? I know mine sure didn't and I turned out just fine!! I wasn't overly sick (aside from normal childhood colds, etc) and my immune system wasn't compromised because my mother didn't sterilize my things... and really? Do those of you that sterilize the bottles also sterilize your baby's paci's, bowls, spoons, plates, cups, etc? And if you do, do you also sterilize your own plates, cups, silverware, etc? Because even though we as adults have better immune systems than our young children and babies, we cannot be immune to everything!! I am just curious about this...

Shalena - posted on 07/13/2010

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and can i just say something to INGRID PETERS.. it is not horrible NOT to sterilize baby bottles, it is not proving that you are a bad mother.. your child (unless your realy anal about it ) is going to play in the sandpit and eat sand, eat things off the floor, there is always gonna be things around with germs on it and the only way to prevent them from getting sick from that stuff is to expose them to small germs and build their immune system up, my daughter has been having unsterilized, washed bottles since she is 6 weeks old and she is as healthy as every other baby in the long run your child will pick up many sicknesses from kindy/school etc because his immune system has never been given germs to fight off before so it wont know how to do that!

Shalena - posted on 07/13/2010

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they say that it is better not to sterilize baby bottles anymore and just wash with bottle brush in warm soapy water. It benefits them in the long run because it builds their immune system, when i first had my daughter 9 months ago, i didnt know this when she was 4-6 weeks i found out and stopped sterilizing and just washed.

Minnie - posted on 07/13/2010

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I would think if you have attempted sterilization a few times that any possibility of your baby creating unwanted offspring will be moot. ;)

Sarah - posted on 07/13/2010

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Valerie Sutcliffe
I did actually sterilise my sons bowls etc because I had a milton (chemical cold water) steriliser so i just used to bung everything in.
although they were sterilised less often .. e.g once a week .. but bottles after every use .. as formula powder is not sterile so it does pay to sterilise the bottles properly.
i also had a microwaveable dummy steriliser (a soother tree)
and to Sara Rothery pouring boiling water or actually using a dishwasher IS a form of sterilisation ..
so all the other ladies who have said they only use the dishwasher .. well you are in fact sterilising.

its crazy how we all have different recommendations all over the world =]

Sara - posted on 07/13/2010

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I've never steralized anything of my daughters. Its either the dishwasher or boiling water over it.

Kathy - posted on 07/13/2010

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We only sterilized bottles before the first use. After that it was all dishwasher! But, we live in Oregon, have good water, and a healthy baby. We were never given recommendations by anyone to sterilize bottles.

Liv - posted on 07/13/2010

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There is no need to sterilize your baby's bottles at any age if your baby is healthy and have water from a safe source.

Katherine - posted on 07/13/2010

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Generally it is recommended that you sterilize until the child is one in the UK. My partner and I did so until he was 10 months and we'd gone to France and there they believe it should only be until they have started being weaned and are crawling around, since then they are picking all kinds of things up anyway so a super clean bottle doesn't make that much of a difference. We thoroughly cleaned his bottles though, seeing as you are dealing with milk. Our son is now 21 months and he's never had an upset tummy or diarrhea at any point in his life. I'm of the opinion like Nikki Michaelov who posted here too - you can't protect them all the time and a little exposition to general germs isn't a bad thing.

Harriet - posted on 07/12/2010

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I boiled the bottles before I used them and after that just washed them in hot soapy water. Our pediatrician told us sterilizing each time wasn't necessary since our son was healthy. He didn't get a stomach upset until 14 months when he caught a bug from his cousins - nothing to do with his bottle. I'd follow the advice of your dr.

Valerie - posted on 07/12/2010

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SO for the parents who sterilize, do you also do the bowls, forks, spoons, the knives you use to cut? Probably not.... I dont see the point once they start eating solids.... but thats just me!

Carmina - posted on 07/12/2010

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i have steralized from the moment he was born up until 8months old. now i just wash them with VERY hot water and dish washing liquid. i let them dry by themselves i dont use tea towels on them :) i think its very important for atleast the first 6 months!

Ingrid - posted on 07/12/2010

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I am totally horrified to read that some mothers are not steralizing their babies bottles! Babies are born with no immune system and parents should do everything posible to prevent illness! I will continue to steralize my son's bottles until he no longer uses them! Their little tummies are so sensative to bacteria and germs I would do everything possible to prevent any form of germ or bacteria affecting my child! It is the easiest thing to do for your child. I'm a working mom so I have limited time with my son during the weekd but have the time to steralize his bottles - wash with HOT soapy water, rinse well under hot water, put bottles in microwave steralizer and steralize for 4mins! Its no big deal! PLEASE STERALIZE YOUR BABY'S BOTTLES THEY DESERVE IT!

[deleted account]

Tiffany soap and hot water don't kill ALL the bacteria on your hands, that's why baby's bottles should be sterilised. Soap and water kills around only 85% of bacteria that's why new hand sanitising gels have been created which kill 99.9% of bacteria.

Jelica - posted on 07/12/2010

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I think anything a baby eats or drinks from should be washed with hot water and detergent and also sterilized afterwards.

Amanda - posted on 07/11/2010

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Ask your pediatrician what they recommend. Part of whether you decide to stop should depend on where in the world you live. I live in the U.S. and sterilized until 3 months (until we had the water fully tested) because we have well-water.

For the ladies that say "you can't sterilize everything your baby puts in there mouth" ...there are germs that are water specific. When water isn't present they lie dormant and then you add the formula or milk or juice...and they are live and viable again. Ghiarrdea is a very serious parasite that children, adults, and animals can get just from drinking contaminated water. It can be passed from person to person or animal to person if you aren't careful about hygiene as well (another reason I would never let an animal lick my face). Its a parasite that is more common in places that don't have the same clean water availability that a lot of places in the U.S. have. Severe diarrhea and vomiting and intestinal pain are symptoms and it can lead to diverticulitus. That's just one possibility!!!

Your pediatrician is going to have a better idea of when you should stop sterilizing than anyone on C.O.M. could have. I would talk to your local human service department of doctor before discontinuing bottle sterilization.

Annie - posted on 07/11/2010

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We stopped at about 4 months. Unless he is ill. I still soak his bottles in HOT soapy water before I wash them. If you have a dishwasher it should get hot enough to sterilize them.

Laura - posted on 07/11/2010

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6 months seems to me an ideal time to stop as u cant sterilize every other thing ur baby puts in his/her mouth. My baby is barely 5 months now and already anything he can lay his hands on goes straight to his mouth, so u can imagine!

Linda - posted on 07/11/2010

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I've been told after your baby gets to 1 year old you can stop sterlising the bottles which is what I did.

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