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Thread: Night weaning 21 month old because of tooth decay

  1. #1

    Default Night weaning 21 month old because of tooth decay

    Hi
    My toddler has always breastfed on demand. She has pretty bad tooth decay even if we have always brushed her teeth 3 times a day, she doesn't have juice or a bottle but she does nurse through the night. One of her teeth has almost completly disintegrated now and the three dentists we have consulted have all said that she has an enamel defect and I have to wean her ASAP, i really dont want to so i am cleaning her teeth during the day but during the night it's impossible without waking her I am currently trying to night wean her and to be honest it is breaking my heart. She is crying and miserable. I don't know how to help her with this. Can anyone give me some suggestions?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Night weaning 21 month old because of tooth decay

    Hi, I'm sorry your going through this. I night weaned my daughter a while ago because I was afraid of decay. It was only rough for a night or two. We just explained to her that we can only nurse when the sun is up and we gave her lots of cuddles. She cried for almost the whole first night, but the next night she was basically fine and has been fine every since. Children are very adaptable, and a few rough nights will not cause any long-term harm.

    To ward off any nighttime hunger, we always give my daughter a big snack before she goes to bed and this seems to help.

    Please just remember that you are doing the right thing. A 21 month old is perfectly capable of going all night without nursing. I assume you're going to continue nursing during the day? Even if not, remember that nursing at this age has only marginal benefits, but tooth decay is very painful and may cause problems in the adult teeth. You are absolutely doing the right thing.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Night weaning 21 month old because of tooth decay

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*orangecat88 View Post
    Hi, I'm sorry your going through this. I night weaned my daughter a while ago because I was afraid of decay. It was only rough for a night or two. We just explained to her that we can only nurse when the sun is up and we gave her lots of cuddles. She cried for almost the whole first night, but the next night she was basically fine and has been fine every since. Children are very adaptable, and a few rough nights will not cause any long-term harm.

    To ward off any nighttime hunger, we always give my daughter a big snack before she goes to bed and this seems to help.

    Please just remember that you are doing the right thing. A 21 month old is perfectly capable of going all night without nursing. I assume you're going to continue nursing during the day? Even if not, remember that nursing at this age has only marginal benefits, but tooth decay is very painful and may cause problems in the adult teeth. You are absolutely doing the right thing.
    Hi and thanks so much for your reply. Put of interest how old is your daughter? How did you go about it? Did you just explain? I ended up giving up last night stereo a few hours we were both in tears.

    I'm pretty sure it is for comfort than being hungry and she loves breastfeeding. I feel terribly guilty stopping her and terribly guilty continuing.

    I think at this I will try again at the weekend as we all have to get up for work etc during the week.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Night weaning 21 month old because of tooth decay

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*tasha View Post
    Hi and thanks so much for your reply. Put of interest how old is your daughter? How did you go about it? Did you just explain? I ended up giving up last night stereo a few hours we were both in tears.

    I'm pretty sure it is for comfort than being hungry and she loves breastfeeding. I feel terribly guilty stopping her and terribly guilty continuing.

    I think at this I will try again at the weekend as we all have to get up for work etc during the week.
    My daughter is 19 months old. We actually night weaned her for the first time when she was about 8 months old. That experience would be very different than with a toddler, however over the holidays she had a long illness and basically became completely un night-weaned for about a month (during which we were brushing her teeth like 3 times per night after she nursed) and we had to do it all over again when she was 17 months. I'll just tell you about the second time....

    I nurse her before she goes to sleep, but then we have a snack and brush teeth after nursing. She does use a pacifier to go to sleep. Without the pacifier I honestly have no idea how she would sleep at all so if your daughter doesn't use one this will probably be more challenging.

    My daughter would then wake up around midnight, but instead of nursing we lay down with her on a mattress we have on the floor and cuddle her. She has a special stuffed animal that she holds and sometimes she likes to reach down my shirt and touch my breasts briefly just to make sure their still there. From there she usually sleeps for a for few more hours with minimal drama.

    4 am is where the really struggle started. She would wake up then and decide she HAD to nurse, and she can say "mommy! nurse!" too, which is heartbreaking. We just had a conversation with her and explained that nursing at night would give her teeth boo-boos and they would hurt so we have to wait until the sun is up. Honestly she threw a full on temper tantrum and screamed for over an hour for 2 nights. It was so hard for me to watch, but I just kept telling myself that it was the right thing to do. After about an hour she got exhausted and passed out.

    She did this for 2 nights and then she was totally fine. Now she sleeps until 6 or 7 and then we nurse and brush her teeth and we're up for the day. On a very rare occasion she'll fall back to sleep even after that teeth brushing.

    Every once in a while she won't eat enough at dinner and wakes up hungry and asks to nurse and has trouble falling back to sleep. I don't want to restart the nursing habit so I usually give her a cheese stick or granola bar and then brush her teeth.

    So that is our story. For me it was a no brainer. I did a ton of research on this topic and a lot of people will claim that nursing doesn't cause cavities because prehistoric children didn't seem to have cavities and were probably nursing all night. However they had a much different diet from modern people and it is probably something else in our modern diet that contributes to decay when milk is allowed to remain on the teeth all night. Most modern studies reveal that children who nurse past 1 have more tooth decay than their peers. I am all for night nursing unrestricted before kids have teeth, but once they have teeth it can be a problem.

    It's going to be hard for a couple days, but you'll get through it!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Night weaning 21 month old because of tooth decay

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*orangecat88 View Post
    My daughter is 19 months old. We actually night weaned her for the first time when she was about 8 months old. That experience would be very different than with a toddler, however over the holidays she had a long illness and basically became completely un night-weaned for about a month (during which we were brushing her teeth like 3 times per night after she nursed) and we had to do it all over again when she was 17 months. I'll just tell you about the second time....

    I nurse her before she goes to sleep, but then we have a snack and brush teeth after nursing. She does use a pacifier to go to sleep. Without the pacifier I honestly have no idea how she would sleep at all so if your daughter doesn't use one this will probably be more challenging.

    My daughter would then wake up around midnight, but instead of nursing we lay down with her on a mattress we have on the floor and cuddle her. She has a special stuffed animal that she holds and sometimes she likes to reach down my shirt and touch my breasts briefly just to make sure their still there. From there she usually sleeps for a for few more hours with minimal drama.

    4 am is where the really struggle started. She would wake up then and decide she HAD to nurse, and she can say "mommy! nurse!" too, which is heartbreaking. We just had a conversation with her and explained that nursing at night would give her teeth boo-boos and they would hurt so we have to wait until the sun is up. Honestly she threw a full on temper tantrum and screamed for over an hour for 2 nights. It was so hard for me to watch, but I just kept telling myself that it was the right thing to do. After about an hour she got exhausted and passed out.

    She did this for 2 nights and then she was totally fine. Now she sleeps until 6 or 7 and then we nurse and brush her teeth and we're up for the day. On a very rare occasion she'll fall back to sleep even after that teeth brushing.

    Every once in a while she won't eat enough at dinner and wakes up hungry and asks to nurse and has trouble falling back to sleep. I don't want to restart the nursing habit so I usually give her a cheese stick or granola bar and then brush her teeth.

    So that is our story. For me it was a no brainer. I did a ton of research on this topic and a lot of people will claim that nursing doesn't cause cavities because prehistoric children didn't seem to have cavities and were probably nursing all night. However they had a much different diet from modern people and it is probably something else in our modern diet that contributes to decay when milk is allowed to remain on the teeth all night. Most modern studies reveal that children who nurse past 1 have more tooth decay than their peers. I am all for night nursing unrestricted before kids have teeth, but once they have teeth it can be a problem.

    It's going to be hard for a couple days, but you'll get through it!
    That's really useful thank you.** My daughter does not use a pacifier and we did try to get her to at different stages but she has never been interested and only became irritated when we've insisted.** I think the biggest problem will be going to sleep and so far I have been nursing and then trying to brush her teeth as best as I can without waking her up which of course is not that successful.* I'm finding it really awful because like you mentioned it is horrible when they are asking you and you can't nurse them and I can see me daughter is more unsettled and insecure during the day as a result.** Thanks again

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Night weaning 21 month old because of tooth decay

    I am sorry you are having this difficulty with your child's dental health.

    There are many reasons a child might be particularly prone to tooth decay- it may be genetic, due to in utero factors, or be more or less bad luck when it comes to what type of bacteria colonizes baby's oral cavity. So, it may have nothing to do with your child's diet.

    According to the Journal of the American Dental Association article I am linking below, there is no conclusive evidence that either nursing or night nursing is a contributive factor to a child being prone to decay.

    From what I understand, once a child has severe decay, ANY food left on the teeth might pose a problem as it breaks down. Obviously young children need to eat and drink frequently, so it then becomes a matter of keeping the teeth as clean as possible between meals. I am unaware of any studies that indicate that breastmilk is any worse than any other carbohydrate source that might coat teeth and cause decay. I am also not aware of any studies that indicate that preventing a child from nursing at night helps stem already existent tooth decay.

    If brushing your child's teeth overnight is too difficult, have you tried wiping the teeth instead?

    Some dentists recommend xylitol supplements when there is tooth decay.

    This is a link to the article from the journal of the American Dental Association, published in 2013. Here is the link to the entire article: http://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-81...ltext#cesec200

    Here is an excerpt from the section on breastfeeding and early childhood caries (ECC): In light of these issues, Valaitis and colleagues concluded that the findings of their systematic review did not provide clear evidence of a strong association between breastfeeding and ECC. Researchers in the three comparative studies reviewed by White determined that no evidence existed to confirm an association between breastfeeding and ECC. Hence, White concluded that, because of the evidence demonstrating important maternal and child health benefits associated with breastfeeding, scientifically rigorous research is needed to elucidate whether associations exist between breastfeeding and ECC, and such evidence is lacking. She recommended that dental professionals encourage parents to begin practicing healthy oral hygiene with their children as soon as the first tooth erupts, and they should keep intake of sugar-sweetened beverages to a minimum.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Night weaning 21 month old because of tooth decay

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*maddieb View Post
    I am sorry you are having this difficulty with your child's dental health.

    There are many reasons a child might be particularly prone to tooth decay- it may be genetic, due to in utero factors, or be more or less bad luck when it comes to what type of bacteria colonizes baby's oral cavity. So, it may have nothing to do with your child's diet.

    According to the Journal of the American Dental Association article I am linking below, there is no conclusive evidence that either nursing or night nursing is a contributive factor to a child being prone to decay.

    From what I understand, once a child has severe decay, ANY food left on the teeth might pose a problem as it breaks down. Obviously young children need to eat and drink frequently, so it then becomes a matter of keeping the teeth as clean as possible between meals. I am unaware of any studies that indicate that breastmilk is any worse than any other carbohydrate source that might coat teeth and cause decay. I am also not aware of any studies that indicate that preventing a child from nursing at night helps stem already existent tooth decay.

    If brushing your child's teeth overnight is too difficult, have you tried wiping the teeth instead?

    Some dentists recommend xylitol supplements when there is tooth decay.

    This is a link to the article from the journal of the American Dental Association, published in 2013. Here is the link to the entire article: http://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-81...ltext#cesec200

    Here is an excerpt from the section on breastfeeding and early childhood caries (ECC): In light of these issues, Valaitis and colleagues concluded that the findings of their systematic review did not provide clear evidence of a strong association between breastfeeding and ECC. Researchers in the three comparative studies reviewed by White determined that no evidence existed to confirm an association between breastfeeding and ECC. Hence, White concluded that, because of the evidence demonstrating important maternal and child health benefits associated with breastfeeding, scientifically rigorous research is needed to elucidate whether associations exist between breastfeeding and ECC, and such evidence is lacking. She recommended that dental professionals encourage parents to begin practicing healthy oral hygiene with their children as soon as the first tooth erupts, and they should keep intake of sugar-sweetened beverages to a minimum.
    Thank you.* It's very useful to have another point of view and I do agree that breast milk is not in itself damaging however my daughter has problems with her enamel, we do not know why and while I believe breast milk* is less damaging than other food at this point I think anything left on her teeth is creating decay.

    My daughter does not have anything except water to drink from her sippy cup and has a balanced diet.* I have always breastfed on demand and we brush her teeth at least 3 times a day a tooth paste that contains xylitol.*

    Again thank you so much for your input, I'm at my wits end watching her teeth get worse.* So far I've been told by 3 different dentists to stop breastfeeding completely as in their opinion breast milk is worse than food.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Night weaning 21 month old because of tooth decay

    .* So far I've been told by 3 different dentists to stop breastfeeding completely as in their opinion breast milk is worse than food.
    I get it. This has long been an opinion held by many dentists. But it is one that is not held up by the evidence, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association. Plenty of pediatricians also hold outdated, unproven, and disproven opinions about breastmilk and breastfeeding, and consequently do not follow infant feeding guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatricians when advising the parents of their patients. Breastfeeding erroneously being blamed for any number of health issues is nothing new.

    I am sorry I cannot offer more help as far as what to do about your child's teeth decay. Here is more info about xylitol and how to use it:

    Xylitol - Reducing Cavities

    The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recognizes the benefits of xylitol on the oral health of infants, children, adolescents, and persons with special health care needs.

    The use of XYLITOL GUM by mothers (2-3 times per day) starting 3 months after delivery and until the child was 2 years old, has proven to reduce cavities up to 70% by the time the child was 5 years old.

    Studies using xylitol as either a sugar substitute or a small dietary addition have demonstrated a dramatic reduction in new tooth decay, along with some reversal of existing dental caries. Xylitol provides additional protection that enhances all existing prevention methods. This xylitol effect is long-lasting and possibly permanent. Low decay rates persist even years after the trials have been completed.

    Xylitol is widely distributed throughout nature in small amounts. Some of the best sources are fruits, berries, mushrooms, lettuce, hardwoods, and corn cobs. One cup of raspberries contains less than one gram of xylitol.

    Studies suggest xylitol intake that consistently produces positive results ranged from 4-20 grams per day, divided into 3-7 consumption periods. Higher results did not result in greater reduction and may lead to diminishing results. Similarly, consumption frequency of less than 3 times per day showed no effect.

    To find gum or other products containing xylitol, try visiting your local health food store or search the Internet to find products containing 100% xylitol.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; February 21st, 2017 at 11:20 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    Default Re: Night weaning 21 month old because of tooth decay

    Hi tasha,
    You may find this an interesting read: http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/lisa_reagan.html and another story without cesation of breastfeeding: http://www.lalecheleague.org/nb/nbiss1-10p20.html
    Do you live in a sunny warm place and does your child spend enough time outdoors? Otherwise, do you supplement with vitamin D?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Night weaning 21 month old because of tooth decay

    Thanks.* I'll try anything and yes I give ejr vitamin d during the winter.* We just got back from the dentists and we're told that this "spoilt" nursing must stop immediately and that we should be giving her cows milk. Then according the dentist she'll need fluoride varnish and eventually one of her front teeth pulled under a general anastheic.* I'm devestated, it went much worse than I expected.* I thought she may need a cap and to stop night nursing.* On top of this my husband and his family who have never supported me nursing for so long finally have their opportunity to critisize.** I would do anything for my little girl and this is awful.

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