It’s amazing how much stuff is accumulated when there’s a baby in the house! If you’re bottle-feeding your little one, I’m sure you’re wondering what to do with old baby bottles, nipples stacking up in the kitchen cupboard! It seems a pity to throw them away when they still have some life.
Old baby bottles can be sold or donated if still in good condition. They can be used as storage containers, converted into works of art, or given to animal shelters for nursing young kittens or puppies. Some baby bottles can be recycled, used for role play during early childhood or given to the next baby for regular use.
- Old baby bottles can be reused in a number of ways depending on the type of material they’re constructed with and the condition of the item.
- While baby bottles don’t have expiration dates they shouldn’t be used for more than six months before replacing them.
- Old baby milk bottles can be used as storage containers for office supplies, as measuring cups, for nursing young animals, in role-play, and in arts and crafts.
- Some used baby bottles and parts can be recycled.
Can you reuse old baby bottles?
Old baby bottles can be reused for a number of purposes depending on the quality and type of materials used to construct them. Plastic baby bottles do begin to deteriorate over time from general wear and tear with the material chipping, cracking, or peeling. Glass baby bottles have a better lifespan as long as they’re handled with care.
Can you reuse old baby nipples?
If old baby bottles are in good condition they can be reused for bottle feeding although it’s recommended to get new nipples. Always ensure the old baby bottles have been cleaned and sterilized before reusing them as infant feeding equipment.
Do baby bottles expire?
A common question asked by safety-conscious parents is whether baby bottles have an expiration date? The answer isn’t straightforward because generally expiration dates aren’t included on baby bottles. However, manufacturers do advise not using bottles that show signs of damage.
Different baby bottle brands have their own set of guidelines for when to replace old bottles such as Comotomo which recommends replacing them every six months. Plastic baby bottles generally have a three-year shelf life which indicates the possibility of deterioration in quality after this period.
What about baby nipples – do they expire?
The story is slightly different when wondering what to do with old baby bottle nipples. Manufacturers normally recommend replacing old teats every three months for hygiene and safety reasons. Looking out for signs of wear and tear will indicate if you should be replacing nipples before the three months deadline.
What to do with old baby milk bottles and nipples
Some parents consider selling used baby bottles while others look for creative ways of reusing these items either at home or elsewhere. While families on a tight budget would appreciate being able to buy gently used baby bottles, not all old feeding equipment is suitable for use again when bottle feeding.
Here are some creative ways you can reuse old baby milk bottles without them landing on the landfill site!
1. Donate (to animal shelters)
Animal shelters are always looking for donations and one item that wouldn’t go amiss is old baby bottles! These are used to feed sick or young animals being hand-reared by their carers. Whether for kittens or puppies, gently used nursing bottles are in great demand by animal shelters.
Animal hospitals and zoos will also take old baby bottles and nipples in good condition.
Besides animal shelters, you might look for other places too for donating bottles in my article I wrote about that topic.
2. Turn them into office supply containers
Old baby bottles make nifty containers for office stationery such as pencils, pens, scissors, and rulers. This helps to keep your office desk tidy and organized without having to scrabble around for a pen or pencil when you need them most! Get creative and use paint, stickers, or glitter pens to add some panache to an old bottle!
Used baby bottles make great storage containers for arts and crafts items too such as paintbrushes, crayons, glue, and scrapbook materials.
3. Check whether old baby bottles can be recycled
Some baby bottle brands such as Dr. Brown are proud partners of Plastic Bank and label different components of their bottles with numbers, grading them for recycling purposes. MAM baby bottles and packaging are also technically recyclable. Checking whether plastic, glass, and silicone bottles and parts can be recycled is important before placing them in a recycling bin.
Looking out for recycling symbols on the bottles and parts will confirm whether you can recycle the item or not.
This video clearly explains the different categories of plastic. Note that many baby bottles are made from polypropylene which carries the number 5 symbol.
4. Give them to children for their dolls
The importance of role-playing in early childhood lies in supporting your kid’s social and emotional development. Children love to role play and many of them will pretend to be mothers or fathers when playing with their dolls. Giving them old baby bottles to use when bottle-feeding their dolls will enhance the play experience for your child.
When reusing old baby bottles as toys, be sure to remove loose parts that could become a swallowing hazard such as venting systems and lids.
5. Use them as measuring cups
If the gently used baby bottle measurements are clear, you can use them as measuring cups when baking or cooking. They can be used to measure bleach and washing detergent in the laundry or even in your child’s school science lab!
Well-marked baby bottles make good measuring equipment for the following liquids:
- Hair dye
- Engine oils
- Garden fertilizer
Transparent old plastic and glass bottles are best for use as measuring cups and shouldn’t leak!
6. Turn them into works of art
Thinking out of the box and letting loose your creative flair allows you to turn old baby bottles into works of art! Let your child’s imagination run free by giving them old bottles during arts and crafts and be amazed by the results! Here are some fun ideas:
- Festive snow globes
- Fun piggy banks
- Colorful hanging mobiles
- Hanging bird feeders
- Table decorations
Using old baby bottles as props for artwork saves you from having to buy expensive materials normally used for this purpose.
7. Reuse them for next baby
If you or someone you know is getting a baby, you might want to consider reusing those bottles. Baby bottles can be safe for reuse. Note that some bottles are better for reuse than other types. This is a great way to participate in implementing the concept of circular economy.
Unless you’re a wealthy person or a celebrity who uses baby bottles then throws them away, you might want to reuse those old bottles. This can be done in so many different ways from selling them, to using them as storage containers or as works of art!
If you receive more than you need as baby shower gifts or use too many for baby shower games with bottles, and leave it too late to return or exchange baby bottles at the store, donate them to needy families. They’ll be put to good use no matter how long they’ve been sitting in your cupboard!