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You should sterilize bottles, nipples, and breast-pump parts -- as well as pacifiers -- in your newborn's first four weeks or the first time you use them. Boil the items in water for about 10 minutes, or wash them in a very hot dishwasher cycle. After that, most experts agree that it's fine to wash these items in the dishwasher (keep pacifiers contained in the silverware baskets), although you may want to sterilize bottles and pacifiers again after your baby's been sick. Toss out any pacifiers or bottle nipples that appear cracked or stained after cleaning. Use a sterile cotton swab to get into hard-to-clean nooks and crannies of bottles or breast-pump parts. Moisture encourages germs to thrive, so make sure you dry the items thoroughly with a clean dish towel before putting them away. --Michele Bender
Copyright©: 2005. Reprinted with permission from the June 2005 issue of Parents magazine. Updated 2009
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.