Safe Feeding Equipment

Young babies are at higher risk of getting sick from germs and bacteria because their immune systems are still developing.

When feeding at the breast, you don’t need any other equipment. If feeding expressed breastmilk (EBM) or infant formula to babies, use the following instructions to keep your baby safe.

Sterilize equipment, bottles and nipples for babies under 4 months old.

  • Sterilize all equipment used to prepare and store milk for babies. Use glass bottles or Bisphenol A-free (BPA-free) plastic containers. BPA is a chemical used in some plastics that may be harmful to young children. More information about BPA-free plastic.

To sterilize:

  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds before cleaning, sterilizing and handling feeding equipment
  • clean the preparation area. Use hot, soapy water to wash counters and any other areas that clean feeding equipment will come into contact with.
  • wash all feeding equipment (e.g., cups, bottles, nipples, caps, tongs and spoons) in hot, soapy water. Make sure all remaining food residue is removed.
  • rinse all feeding equipment in clean water
  • sterilize feeding and preparation equipment using either of the 2 following methods.

1.  Feeding and preparation equipment can be sterilized by boiling:

    • Fill a large pot with water and put all feeding equipment into the pot.
    • Bring water to a rolling boil and boil for 2 minutes.
    • Use sterile tongs to take out the feeding equipment. Set on a clean paper towel or clean cloth to air dry.

2.  If you want to use your home dishwasher, make sure that your dishwasher can sterilize. Look for the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) symbol on the label. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. You can also check online to see if your dishwasher is NSF 184 certified.

Note: Choose bottles and nipples that can be boiled each time you use them. Not all bottles and nipples can be boiled every time. Check the package or call the manufacturer if you are not sure.

To sterilize by boiling:


When preparing equipment, bottles and nipples for babies over 4 months old:

  • wash the equipment in hot soapy water and rinse in clean water. Use glass bottles or BPA-free plastic containers
  • use the longest, hottest wash and dry cycle if you choose to use a dishwasher
  • check artificial nipples before each use to make sure that there are no signs of damage (such as tears, cracks, swelling, stickiness). These could cause a choking hazard for babies. If the nipple becomes cracked, torn, is discoloured, shows signs of wear or is damaged, replace it right away.
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