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I was told 5 minutes is enough - that is how long I boil my Dr Browns and they have not melted (yet?!)
It is not a dumb question - my mom helped me the first time. For some reason boiling bottles the 1st time really stumped me too!
p.s. we heat our bottles in a crockpot but one time we heated them in a saucepan on the stove. I put them in and then changed diapers (which took much longer than usual) and when I went to get the bottles the tops were melted and I threw them away. I am not sure how long it was but it obviously can happen.
Yikes, see, now I'm more scared! Dr. Brown's are expensive, lol.
These are 4oz bottles that were given to me by a friend and they are only a couple of months old, BPA free... So I figured a good boil would be good before our babies use them... We will just use the dishwasher going forward..
Your nipples cannot be in longer then 3 minutes and I think bottles can be in for up to 5 minutes. Check the back of the packaging.
Here's a tip... I don't heat up the bottles for my two and they LOVE cold formula. When yours come home you may want to see if they don't mind the formula being cold because it saves so much time - especially when you are feeding them every 2 - 3 hours in the beginning.
I agree with pp about the seperate compartments for dr. brown's bottles. We have a few containers and seperate the parts and actually keep the containers on a dishtowel on the counter. As we use bottles throughout the day, we rinse and seperate them so when they are full we run the dishwasher.
For your initial sterilizing, you can also sort the parts into the containers and drop the whole thing in a pot of boiling water.