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The Importance of Keeping Tableware & Baby Feeding Bottles Clean

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Not many people know that Indonesia is one of the countries where 75% of the population bottle-feed their toddlers (Journal of Medical Periodicals, 2017). For this reason, it is important to keep milk bottles sterile because non-sterile bottles have the potential to become a breeding medium for pathogenic micro-organisms, such as bacteria, viruses and parasites that can cause diarrhea.

Based on the Journal of Epidermiology (2018), the incidence of diarrhea in early childhood in developing countries has a high mortality rate, which is one million every year. The results of the Basic Health Research (Riskesdas) report also noted that diarrhea is still the most common cause of infant mortality in Indonesia, which is 46% while the cause of death for children aged 1-4 years by diarrhea is as much as 25% (Kemenkes RI, 2013).

For this reason, maintaining the cleanliness of baby feeding utensils & bottles is important and needs to be considered so that your little ones can avoid the possibility of falling ill. Unlike adults, babies have a high level of sensitivity to what is close to their environment, especially in terms of hygiene. This is because the baby's immune system is still not perfect, so when the cutlery or milk bottles are not clean, an infection due to germs can occur.

So, what should you do to avoid diarrhea caused by unsterile milk bottles? Check out these simple ways:

  1. Wash hands before preparing food/bottles of baby milk. Did you know that, according to the International Journal of Environment Health Research (2008) in a study of child feeding preparation practices, only 27% of mothers in The United States washed their hands with soap before preparing feeding utensils/bottles? This low number is very worrying about the impact on babies.
  2. Specialized food utensils/bottle sanitizers. Liquid sanitizers can help prevent germs. Of course, they should be formula specially designed for food utensils/bottles, which is a liquid without coloring, has passed the dermatological testing process and is suitable for all types of materials from bowls, plates, and spoons to baby bottles.
  3. Rinse wash with running water. While you may have washed your tableware/bottles with water stored in a container, we recommend that you do so under running water. Running water is able to carry away germs that are left behind.
  4. Prevent damp bottles by drying them appropriately. After washing, it is better to dry the baby's feeding utensils/bottles by arranging them on a rack. Allow them to dry completely and you can also use a clean cloth or a modern washing machine.
  5. The last and most important method: Sterilization. The most common and easy sterilization method is to soak in boiled water. Boil water in a pot, then put the tableware/baby feeding bottles into it for a few minutes, then turn off the stove and let it sit for 10 minutes or until it cools down. After that, dry and store the bottles immediately if not used.

As hygiene controllers starting from their own homes, parents must be more careful and attentive to the cleanliness of the tableware used by babies and familiarize those who also interact with babies, such as families who look after the little one, babysitters, or daycare/ childcare.

Hopefully these methods can be applied by the entire community for the sake of children's health and prevent the incidence of diarrhea today and in the future!

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