Are you overwhelmed with all of the baby bottles and other infant feeding gear you need to wash? Not sure what the best way is to clean and store everything? Here are 8 tips for washing baby bottles and pump parts.
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Here’s how to wash you breast pump parts and baby bottles in the easiest possible (and safe!) way.
1) Take everything apart before washing
This might be obvious to experienced pumping moms, but I did not actually know I was supposed to take breast pump parts apart when I came home from the hospital. I just sort of kept them assembled and washed them the best that I could for the first week.
This isn’t how you are supposed to do it. Before you wash infant feeding items, take everything apart.
(If you have a Medela Pump in Style, that includes the yellow valve. Sometimes this gets stuck, but still try to take it apart. Running it under hot water and then twisting usually works.)
2) Use a wash basin and a dedicated bottle brush
The CDC recommends washing pump parts and bottles in a wash basin rather than directly in the sink in order to avoid contamination with any bacteria that might be there. They also recommend using a bottle brush that is only used for infant feeding items.
3) Wash bottles and pump parts in hot soapy water
When you’re ready to wash everything, fill up your wash basin with hot, soapy water.
It’s important to use the bottle brush to get the soap on all of the parts (versus just soaking and rinsing). If you have breast pump parts that are a struggle to get to with your brush, try getting a set with smaller pieces like this one. They can be especially helpful for breast shield connectors.
4) Use vinegar to get stubborn fat off of bottle nipples
Do you find that the nipples of your bottles are cloudy? Sometimes, breastmilk fat residue can stick to them no matter how many times you wash them.
To get it off, you can submerge the nipples in a vinegar/water solution (10 parts water to 1 part white vinegar).
Soak them for 30 minutes, and then wash the nipples with soap and hot water.
5) Does your drying rack take up your whole counter? Make it vertical.
After you’re done washing your pump parts, you can set them out to air dry.
When I was exclusively pumping, bottles and pump parts took up my entire counter. If this is your current experience, you can make your drying rack vertical using a three tier cooling rack like this.
6) Sterilize pump parts bottles regularly
The CDC recommends sterilizing pump parts and bottles once a day for babies who are under three months old, who are sick, or who were premature. If your baby doesn’t fall into one of these categories, it’s fine to sterilize a bit less often.
There are a bunch of ways that you can sterilize your infant feeding gear – a tabletop sterilizer, a microwave bag, boiling them, etc. More information on each of these methods here.
7) Wash bottles and pump parts in batches
When you’re pumping 8-10 times per day, it can get exhausting to be constantly standing over the sink washing bottles and pump parts. If you can, I would recommend getting a few extra sets of everything you need, and then washing them all at once.
In the past, I put breast pump parts in a zip-top plastic bag in the refrigerator between uses. However, the CDC now recommends washing pump parts in between each use. More info on this here.
8) Consider using your dishwasher to cut down on washing time
Another option to make the washing process easier is using the dishwasher to wash all of your gear. Put infant feeding items on the top rack, and put smaller things like breast pump parts and nipples in a mesh bag (like the Pumpie) or other container.
An added benefit of using the dishwasher is that if yours has a heated drying cycle, that will also take care of the sterilizing step.
I hope these tips for washing baby bottles and pump parts are helpful! Let me know if you have any other tips or questions in the comments!