How to warm use and clean baby bottles

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In my article discussing Nanny Expectations, I talk about the Should do, Would do, Could do lists. Starting this week, we will dive into more specific skills and tasks that will elevate your status as a nanny! We won’t necessarily be going in order down that list, but I will give you some of the hot topics as I keep an ear open to what is going on in the nanny world. If there is a specific topic you’d like me to write on, feel free to comment below or shoot me an email. 

Today we will start with a basic.

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The one thing you must know what to do when becoming an infant nanny is how to warm, clean, and feed using a bottle. This may seem simple, but if done incorrectly, it can cause the baby serious illness. 

How to Warm a Bottle

First of all, at the start of your day, pull out the number of frozen bags you will be using during the day and put them in the fridge. I suggest having a designated place in the fridge and freezer for all things baby. If you are formula feeding, you can make all of the bottles you will use in 24 hours first thing in the morning. Put them in the fridge straight away for quick and easy warming.  

You can warm a refrigerated, fresh bottle, frozen bag, or refrigerated bag in a bottle warmer. If there isn’t a bottle warmer available, It’s recommended that you run the bottle or bag under a warm stream of faucet water until you’ve reached the desired temperature. Do not shake the milk. Shaking the milk produces air bubbles, which can upset a newborn’s tummy. Instead, swirl the milk. Swirling the milk will ensure that air bubbles are kept to a minimum, keeping the baby gas-free. 

Do not burn baby. While you do want to warm the milk, you don’t want to heat it so much that it hurts the newborn. An infant nanny can check the temperature by simply putting the milk on their inner wrist. You should make sure that the milk is body temperature. If you can feel the milk on your wrist, hot or cold, the temperature isn’t right. If you can feel it cold, heat the bottle a bit more. If you can feel that the milk touching your skin is hot, simply wait a few moments and check again. You may also use a thermometer if one is available and look for 98 °F (37 °C). If the mother isn’t simultaneously continuing to breastfeed, the milk can be slightly cooler than body temperature, but never hotter

How to feed the baby

Effectively feeding newborns and infants sounds challenging, but can be done oh so simply. Positioning is the most important part. The baby should be comfortable. I find that swaddling an infant and holding them close works best.

Make sure that the baby’s head is above their body when feeding. Putting a pillow under your elbow can take the strain off your shoulder and bicep. Or you can count this as your workout! 😉 The goal is to have the baby’s head and body curve smoothly. You don’t want them laying flat, or tilting their head so far forward that their throat starts to restrict fluid. This is a choking hazard. 

To understand what I mean, you can think of a squeezable sports drink bottle. Imagine lying flat on your back, trying to drink from it. It’s possible but difficult. You have to think about what you’re doing and really focus on your throat muscles to make sure you don’t let the liquid flow down the wrong pipe. It’s the same thing that would happen if you held a baby flat while giving it a bottle. The only difference is, they have far less control over their throat muscles and are mainly eating on instinct in the beginning. 

When bottle-feeding for the first few times, especially if the baby is currently transitioning to bottles from breastfeeding, things can become frustrating. If the baby gets fussy, you can pause and soothe them. Cuddle them, talk to them, bounce them a little. Sometimes, just sitting them up and switching sides can help calm them and get them back in the mindset to eat. 

Pro Tip: Skin-to-skin contact will reduce newborn baby anxiety while trying to bottle feed.

If you are looking for more advice about the transition from boob to bottle, check out this article

How to clean the bottle

Follow the pictures below

Disassemble and rinse the bottle right after use. Put a drop of dish soap into the bottle with some warm water. Swish, squish, and clean.
If your bottle has a straw component, make sure to use a straw cleaner to get into those small places.
Using the hard end of the brush, make sure to clean the nipple. When rinsing the nipple, squeeze it to make sure water gets through the hole.
Using the hard end of the brush, make sure to clean the nipple. When rinsing the nipple, squeeze it to make sure water gets through the hole.
Let the bottle air dry completely before use. Set your brush upright to make sure it remains clean.
Let the bottle air dry completely before use. Set your brush upright to make sure it remains clean.

Pro Tip: Make sure the water is warm, and the soap is thoroughly washed off. Let the bottle completely air dry before use.

Be Professional – Keep Your Opinions to Yourself  

As a nanny, it’s important to remember your boundaries. This is especially true when it comes to the personal decision made by the mom of breast or formula feeding. If she asks your opinion, here are some points from both sides you can keep in mind. 

For a rundown on what boundaries and expectations you should have and be aware of as a nanny, check out this article.


  • There are a lot of benefits to breastfeeding, which includes the fact that it’s free!
  • Antibiotics from the mom’s well built immune system are passed on to the baby before they are old enough to get vaccinated themselves.
  • The enzymes in breast milk make it easier to digest.
  • The skin-to-skin contact makes breastfeeding an opportunity to develop a deep bond.
  • Breastfeeding helps the mother to lose the baby weight and ease postpartum depression.
  • This will make baby and mom inseparable until the baby is eating solids. 
  • It will be challenging to find places/ways to feed the baby in public. 
  • Sometimes, illnesses or medications the mother has or is taking will not allow her to breastfeed safely. She should talk to a doctor about any medical conflicts. 


  • It is a great way to supplement milk production.
  • If the baby starts on formula, there won’t be any change or inconvenience for the mother when she returns to work or wants to leave for more than 2 hours. 
  • Some mothers experience significant pain when breastfeeding and frustration with latching. 
  • The mother won’t be restricted in her diet if she chooses to formula feed. 
  • There is more work involved when it comes to maintaining a bottle and formula supply. Making sure you never run out of formula or pre-made bottles is crucial to this method. 
  • The expense of formula feeding kits can become quite costly over time.
  • There is a higher risk of bacteria forming, if mishandled, that could be passed on to the baby.

It’s important to respect and support whatever decision the mother chooses. I personally keep in mind that every woman is different. Everyone’s plans change when the situations that we imagine finally happen. Having no children of my own, I can’t say what I’d do. There are so many factors to consider.

As a nanny, you must be supportive and encouraging!

If you have any questions, leave a comment below or shoot me an email. Otherwise, subscribe to my newsletter and come back on Friday for the next article! 🙂 

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3 thoughts on “How to: Warm, Use, & Clean Bottles”

  1. Boiling is one of the most traditional ways to get rid of germs. This is probably the most foolproof way to destroy harmful bacteria which latch themselves onto the baby’s bottle and utensils used for preparing and feeding the baby. Not only is it a quick method to get rid of bacteria but it is also pretty convenient.

    1. You’re right! 🙂 The bottle washing I’m referring to here is for immediately after the bottle has been used. I do boil all bottles once a week for sanitation. Thanks for pointing that out!

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