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Night nunrsing- tooth decay? Night weaning- improved sleep?

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  • Night nunrsing- tooth decay? Night weaning- improved sleep?

    I have read articles in mothering how breastfeeding does not contribute to tooth decay and am familiar with S. Mutans and the placement of the nipple being back in the the mouth and the anti-bacterial qualities of breastmilk. However, I have noticed some discoloring on my 19 mo. old teeth and don't know if it is flourosis, tooth decay, or staining from the dark colored liquid vitamins- 3 hypothesis from the ped. This whole conversation was one more reason I am considering night weaning. There are sugars in bm that are just sitting on his teeth during the night when he nurses. I see the bm pooling in his mouth after he nurses during the day.
    In addition, his sleep is just worsening and it has remained poor for awhile. I have ridden out the bad spells before but this is getting difficult. I know these sleep patterns are probably normal for his age.

    He either nurses a lot at night, wakes up 2 hours earlier than usual or is up for 1-3 hours in the middle of the night- wide awake and playful. I have read in previous posts that for some night weaning did not improve sleep- so my question is then what do you do to help your child fall back asleep if you don't have nursing as a crutch? If he still wakes up in the middle of the night than I might as well be nursing him to try to get him back to sleep. I have considered Dr. Jay's plan but KNOW he will scream and most likely completely perk himself up for a couple hours. I have sometimes tried refusing him the breast and I can see that he is getting so worked up- hubby is very involved at night. FOr the most part he can rock him to sleep- but to do this everytime he wakes up in lieu of me nursing would kill his back. I guess I'm trying to figure out if it is worth to night wean- what is the lesser of 2 evils?

    SO btw, the sleeplessness and my worries over his teeth this is why I'm considering night weaning and how to go about it. Unfortunately I just can't sleep through the feedings- I'm wide awake.
    THank you ladies!

  • #2
    I also noticed dark areas on my 20mnth old's teeth. She is also feeding several times a night. I did not know what the marks were, so took her to the dentist the very next day. Dentist treated the areas with flouride and told me they were "baby bottle caries". I googled it and apparently it is caused by the milk pooling in the mouth and being pushed through the teeth by the tongue. The dentist told me to rub some milk teeth toothpaste onto the area twice a week and also to wipe her mouth and tongue with a piece of gauze and a bit of toothpaste after the night feeds. This wakes her up, so I mix a little toothpaste and water in a syringe and squirt a tiny bit into her mouth after the feeds. I may be showing my paranoia by doing this! The dentist also said a little sip of water after the feed can also help remove some of the sugars. Brushing with a flouride toothpaste is essential. It is very important to arrest the development of the caries, as if the decay gets past the enamel and into the soft tissue, the tooth will need to be filled or removed and to do this, the child would need to be sedated or under general anaesthetic.
    Hope this helps!


    • #3
      Here is a Kellymom links for Ya'all (non-API)

      Is Breastfeeding Linked to Tooth Decay?
      It's often said that breastfeeding (particularly while lying down at night) will cause tooth decay, just like letting a baby sleep with a bottle of milk can cause "baby bottle mouth." Essentially, a valid link has not been made between nursing (nighttime or otherwise) and cavities.
      Please use link to read whole text.

      *Ahem* The American Dental Association!
      Study Finds No Association Between Breastfeeding and Early Childhood Caries
      If you are still worried there are things you can do...wipe teeth after nursing, give drinks of water after nursing, lesson nightime feedings etc that are not as drastic as total nightime weaning.