As we start to contemplate having another baby, top of mind for me lately has been figuring out which baby gear we can reuse and which gear we should buy new.
And as we spent a lot of money on baby bottles the first time around, I’ve been wondering whether we can reuse our bottle collection in particular.
Turns out, I’m not the only parent wondering this. “Is it ok to reuse baby bottles?” “Did you reuse bottles for the next baby or get new ones?” “Can I reuse our old bottles and nipples?” Those are just some of the related questions that many parents are asking online.
So to settle this query once and for all, I turned to an expert: Charity Pitcher-Cooper, the lactation consultant at my pediatrician’s office. Her answer is today’s hint.
According to Ms. Pitcher-Cooper, baby bottles are absolutely okay to use again for a second child. “They are just dishes,” she says. In other words, we reuse and share plates, cups and other dishes in our home after washing them, and bottles should fall into that reusable category as well.
In addition, here’s some more good news: You don’t have to sterilize the bottles before reusing them, assuming your new baby is healthy and full-term. For such little ones, old-fashioned hot water and soap, or the dishwasher, is fine for preparing, and cleaning, the bottles for reuse.
However, there are a couple caveats to this hint. If your old bottles are cracked or discolored, you’ll want to buy new ones. In addition, you’ll also want to make sure any bottles you have are free of bisphenol A (BPA) (most bottles sold in recent years are free of that chemical). (And if you’re really concerned about the chemicals in plastics, you’ll probably want to go for glass or metal bottles from the get go, as Kate Harrison suggests in a Forbes.com opinion piece).
You’ll also want to buy new nipples for the bottles. Bottle “nipples tend to degrade, and the flow rates on them open up over time, so I usually replace them,” Ms. Pitcher-Cooper says. “I want the flow to be fairly slow for a newborn.”
Finally, after your babies outgrow bottles, there are other ways you can reuse them. The blog Smalltown Dreamz, for instance, suggests turning them into storage containers (think for buttons and other small items), while Alex T suggests turning old bottles into toys over at the site mama say what?!.
For more information on what baby gear is okay to go for used vs. new and what you should really buy new, check out this hint. Which baby gear do you suggest reusing for second (third, fourth, etc.) babies and which do you suggest buying new? What are your second-baby baby gear questions? Share your thoughts and questions below.