What is Sterilisation?
“The procedure of making some object free of live bacteria or other microorganisms (usually by heat or chemicalmeans)”
“Sterilisation is the process of removing all traces of bacteria and other germs.”
Sterilisation an important process in our daily lives, one which helps to reduce the risk of infection and prevent the spread of infections and illnesses.
Reasons why Sterilisation is important for your baby:
Because babies are born with an immature immune system, they are very susceptible to picking up serious infections, including gastroenteritis (diarrhoea and vomiting), and mild forms of thrush
Therefore, it is very important that any equipment used to feed a baby who is under 12 months of age, is sterilised before being used. This applies to any feeding equipment that is used to give babies expressed breast milk (EBM) and infant formula milk, as well as handheld pumps used to express your breast milk, and baby feeding spoons.
There are a number of different ways that you can sterilise your baby’s feeding equipment:
- Steam sterilising
- Cold water sterilising solutions eg Milton sterilising system
- Sterilising in boiling water.
It’s not possible or practical to create a totally germ-free environment for your baby. But by sterilising your baby’s feeding equipment, you can help to keep him healthy.
Reasons why Sterilisation is important for your toddler:
As your baby starts to grow, they will begin to explore their world. They will begin to grasp objects, learn to roll, crawl and spend less time sleeping.
It is important to remember that their immune system during these developmental stages is still very immature and you must maintain the sterilisation practices you implemented during their first few weeks.
Whereas you may have previously only needed to sterilise breast feeding equipment, bottles, soothers and teething rings, now there will be a whole range of utensils that could be potential breeding grounds for bacteria! One of the most common mistakes made by parents is to stop sterilising baby’s feeding utensils at a time when they are at their highest risk of infection.
At six months, your baby’s natural immunity is at its lowest, so rather than relaxing your hygiene programme, it’s important to be even more careful about cleaning and sterilising everything they could potentially put in their mouths. As soon as weaning starts, all cups, bowls, plates and spoons should be sterilised in the same way as breast pumps or bottles.
As your baby’s teeth come through, they will also bite onto spoons and cups. Deep scratches in hard plastic bowls, spouts and spoons will harbour bacteria. Clean them thoroughly before sterilising to remove all food deposits and replace them when they become too old.
It’s still important to sterilise
The claim that ‘once they start crawling across the floor, there’s no longer any point in sterilising everything’ is untrue. The fact is, your child’s immunity remains weak for the first twelve months of life and it takes a much smaller number of bacteria to affect a baby than an adult. They may be on the move and into everything, but unfortunately that just means that you have to work harder to keep them safe and protected from harmful germs. Up until the age of one year, you should still be sterilising all feeding utensils, including bowls, spoons and beakers. But you will now have to think a little further to keep other hazards at bay. This is where Milton products can really help to tackle the hotspots in the kitchen, nursery and bathroom where bacteria are lurking.
Pay particular attention to the following kitchen hotspots;
- Rubbish bins – these should be regularly emptied and cleaned using a Milton solution.
- Dog bowls and litter trays – many bacteria such as Campylobacter are passed on from animal faeces so keep these out of baby’s reach. You should clean these items each day.
- The floor – especially where food remnants can be found; around the table, sink and fridge.
As your child progresses on to toddler foods, take extra care when handling and preparing food. It goes without saying that hands should be washed before handling food and use a solution of Milton Fluid or Milton Sterlising Surface Spray to clean surfaces before and after food preparation to prevent contamination by germs from raw foods, particularly milk and protein. Keep the fridge temperature between 1°C and 4°C and use a solution of Milton or Milton Sterlising Surface Spray to clean the shelves – it won’t taint or affect the food in any way.
Poor toilet hygiene is a major contributor to cases of food poisoning so it goes without saying that you should be more careful than ever with a young baby in the house. Good hand washing is an absolute MUST and you must also make sure that toilets are kept as clean as possible using disinfectants. When you begin potty training your baby, you will need to ensure that the potty is kept as clean as possible. You will find that your baby is quite fascinated with it and wants to handle it and carry it around! Clean it with a Milton solution regularly and pay attention to the handle! Wash your baby’s hands for them each time they touch the potty – their fingers will soon go straight into their mouth again.
Parts of this article ref: www.miltonbaby.com.au