What is it with babies and space? Many parents swear their home shrunk once baby made her way out. From space-engulfing travel systems, cots, nappy changers, the many cute outfits and all the feeding paraphernalia that go on the kitchen counter, the home-and-heart baby take-over is very complete.
Growing accustomed to life with baby also involves coming to terms with all the things that now call your space “home”. If you’re finding yourself without a patch of free kitchen for the actual cooking, then sitting down and reading this article is a must.
Here’s how to store and organize baby bottles to ensure safety, hygiene, and ample counter space for your kitchen’s other daily uses.
Why is it Important To Properly Store Baby Bottles?
Appropriately storing baby bottles and all related gear not only saves you space and keeps you organized, but also ensures that all items are hygienic and safe for baby.
This article will look into the hygiene side as well as the storing-in-style (and comfort) angle, offering some organization tips from real moms.
How To Safely Store And Organize Baby Bottles
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide a step by step guide for cleaning, storing and organizing baby bottles:
Using A Dishwasher For Dishwasher-Safe Infant Gear
Separate all bottle parts and rinse under running water. Place items in the dishwasher with smaller parts into a closed top basket or mesh laundry bag to avoid any items ending up in the dishwasher filter.
Run a dishwasher program with hot water and a heated drying cycle (or sanitizing setting) so as to kill even more germs.
Before removing items, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. If some parts are still not completely dry, place them on a clean dish towel or paper towel to air dry.
Cleaning Bottles By Hand
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and take apart all bottle parts.
Rinse items under running water; place in a dedicated basin or container. Washing directly in the sink may contaminate the items.
Fill the basin with hot water and soap, scrub items using a clean brush specific for your baby’s bottles, and squeeze water through the nipple holes to ensure they’re completely clean.
Rinse and allow to air dry in an area free from dust and dirt.
The CDC emphasizes the importance of not using a dish towel to rub or pat items dry as this can transfer germs onto the feeding gear.
The wash basin and bottle brush have to be washed every few days, and after every use, if: (i) baby is under three months of age, (ii) was born prematurely, or (iii) has a weakened immune system.
Sanitizing Baby Bottles
Sanitizing provides extra protection.
As the CDC notes, if you are already using a dishwasher with hot water and a heating drying cycle, then this step is not necessary.
Otherwise, feeding items should be sanitized once daily, especially if your baby is less than 3 months old, was born prematurely or has a weakened immune system.
Thorough washing according to the steps above is imperative before sanitizing.
Sanitization is possible by boiling, steaming – or, when the previous two are not possible, by bleaching. Follow the bottle manufacturer’s instructions on which method to use.
Once sanitized, place all items on a clean, unused dish towel or paper towel to air dry, away from dirt and dust.
How To Store Clean Bottles
Allowing the clean feeding gear and bottle-cleaning items to air dry thoroughly before storing prevents germs and mold from growing.
Once completely dry, reassemble and store in a clean protected area. The CDC suggests a closed kitchen cabinet used only to store clean dishes. This prevents contamination.
Don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling the sanitized items.
Organizing Bottle Storage Space… in Style
Fed up from juggling a million and one things from falling once you open the dedicated baby kitchen cabinet? Is your counter-top overflowing with feeding gear? Here’s what you need to do to achieve feeding gear Zen.
First Things First, How Many Bottles Will I Need?
As noted by Baby Center, generally, you’ll need between 4 to 12 bottles. This depends on whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.
Four-ounce bottles are perfect for newborns when the amount they’re drinking is small. Switching to eight or nine-ounce bottles is recommended once the baby is around 4 months old.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends weaning baby off the bottle before 18 months of age. Prolonged bottle use may lead to tooth decay as well as encourage baby to drink more than she needs.
Too Many Bottles? Then, De-Clutter!
With time, it will become clear how many bottles you’ll need on a day-to-day basis.
If a number of bottles are simply sitting there unused, it’s time to declutter and leave only the items you’re frequently using.
As thekitchn rightly suggests, before identifying storage solutions, see if reducing quantity is an option.
Organizing Storage Space
Think it out before going on a bottle organization spree. Again, some brilliant tips from MomLovesBest.com.
Set aside zones: Apart from cupboard or pantry space, bottles and all things related also need space on the kitchen counter. Determine which counter and cupboard areas will be dedicated to feeding.
Sort before storing: Sort out all items for storage – you might end up surprised with the number of items being less than initially thought out to be.
Assess needs: Determine how often your baby will use the items, and how often you’ll be washing and sterilizing. If for the most part, the items will be on a drying rack, then there’s no need for substantial cupboard space.
Purge: We understand, some items are simply too cute or hold too many memories to part with. But clutter is not always hygienic, and nothing beats an organized kitchen. So, close an eye, and bid adieu.
Bottle Storage Ideas From Real Moms
Mom Brooke McDaniel found an ingenious way of storing the many baby bottles taking over her kitchen: a shower caddy hung on the inside of the pantry.
A caddy with high sides ensures that the bottles do not topple in a domino-effect when you take one out.
This method is also great if you have different-sized bottles or more than one child who still uses a bottle. Different levels of the caddy can be used for each child.
What’s more, the hooks at the bottom of some caddies are perfect for hanging pacifiers and teething rings when not in use!
Mom Loves Best dedicates a contained area of her kitchen counter for the bottle-feeding items that she’s constantly using.
The bottle sterilizer, a kettle, formula, as well as a beautiful baby bottle drying rack occupy a clean area of the kitchen counter, away from the daily cooking.
Check out this video to see how this works.
Angela from blue i style found herself overwhelmed with all the feeding gear that comes with a newborn and a toddler.
Rather than reorganizing her cupboard to make ample space for baby feeding items, she opted for a simple plastic basket on the counter-top.
Not only are all items neatly organized, they’re also easily accessible for this busy mom.
A problem highlighted by many moms is bottles’ ability to fall in disorder due to their lightweight structure and heavier top.
To counter this, Angela opted for a high-edged basket with all bottles closely stored. A smaller basket holds the formula and some frequently used medicines.
In Angela’s own words, whenever she wants a clear counter-top, the baskets can be easily stored away.
Jennifer’s bottle-organization hack is a feast for the eyes. Never have bottles and feeding bits and pieces looked so pretty.
The first step in her organization feat involved getting rid of the items that were no longer needed, followed by grouping like items together. Her groupings looked something like this:
- Breast pump gear
- Newborn milk bottles
- Breastmilk storage parts
- Milk storage
- Formula feeding supplies
- Larger formula bottles
As she notes at Productive and Pretty, grouping allows you to assess storage needs as well as determine the most functional place where to store the items.
In some cases, she had to move other kitchen items to make the space more functional for meeting the new baby’s feeding needs.
In her article for I am an Organizing Junkie, Rachel provides tips on setting up a bottle station:
- Clear and set a dedicated space
- Set up space for the sterilizer, bottle warmer, and a bottle drying rack
- Identify a cabinet to store the next-stage bottle feeding items
- Set up a dirty bin for used bottles in between sterilization rounds.
- Organize feeding items according to your formula mixing style. This leaves everything handy when preparing a bottle for a hungry baby!
In her vlog, Karen Swan demonstrates how she found the perfect solution to her baby’s feeding needs.
Attaching baskets to the inside of her pantry door left her with an organized space for all baby-related items as well as freed up space from both her kitchen counter and kitchen cupboards.
Creative Green Living also has some creative and – more importantly – easy tips to offer:
- This might be surprising, but going for the same brand and style of feeding gear adds so many pluses to an organized-looking space. In her own words, different types and styles of bottles only add to the clutter problem.
- Only keep what you need. This is self-explanatory and so many moms emphasize this.
- Drawers are a godsend. Overwhelmed with all the little bits and pieces that are integral to feeding? Little storage drawers help keep everything organized and easier to access.
- Group like with like and organize by zones. Pumping bottles to one side, feeding bottles on the other. Phew – we can actually find things!
- Label away. Labeling ensures that anyone who opens the cabinet knows what is where. Perfect for those days when help is available, and you can focus on something else without being called upon every second.
Storing Bottles For The Baby Yet To Come
Most experts recommend purchasing new bottle nipples for a new baby.
Whilst the bottle itself can be used if still in great condition, used nipples can pose serious choking hazards as the components used to make them may break down with time.
As noted by Ms. Pitcher-Cooper, a lactation consultant, nipple flow rates open up with time making them unfit for newborns. If you opt to reuse bottles, ensure that the new nipples fit the bottle correctly.
If you wish to store bottles for a future baby, first ensure that they do not have any deep scratches or cracks and that they have not become discolored with use. Throw away bottles that turn cloudy.
As Baby Center warns, worn bottles may release chemicals more easily.
You should also check that the bottles are BPA free as regulations may have changed since the bottles were made.
As noted by Baby Center, Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used to harden plastic, keep bacteria out of food, and prevent rust.
Whilst the exact effect of the chemical on humans is not known, results from animal studies suggest that it’s not completely safe. In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups.
When storing used bottles long-term, clean and dry the bottles thoroughly and ideally store in a dark storage space, away from the kitchen.
Apart from being more hygienic, saving kitchen storage for more daily-use things comes in handy.
Baby Bottles: All Safely Organized!
There is no one right way of organizing and storing baby bottles.
As long as you follow all safety and hygiene procedures, the best organization method is based on your and your baby’s specific needs.
Finding what’s functional, what works, and what doesn’t is a process that involves trial and error.
Nonetheless, nothing beats an organized kitchen and reclaimed cooking and eating space, as well as peace of mind that all feeding paraphernalia are safely stored for your little one’s use.