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Thread: nursing to sleep - teeth concerns

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    41

    Default nursing to sleep - teeth concerns

    Hi toddler moms,

    *Apologies in advance for the wierd e with an accent thing happening when I try to type appostrophes!!*

    Ièm the proud mom of a little monkey who will be 14 months on the 22nd of Oct 07. Heès still breastfeeding, but usually only 3 times per day - upon wake-up (which may lead to a doze off and longer sleep-in at my breast), at nap time, and then again at bed time. Nursing has always seemed to work to put Brian to sleep. Itès been a mixed blessing at times, but now I find it a real gift - guaranteed all natural sleep-inducer!

    My concern is that when heès falling asleep on me, and sleep nursing, heès snoozing with milk in his mouth. With with 12 teeth showing, and his canines looking to push though soon, should I be as panicked about tooth decay as some of the medical literature wants to make meÉ (eeek, sorry, my question mark is going funky too!) Ièm torn. He just falls asleep so naturally, automatically, and gently at the breast that I hate the thought of causing such a rude awakening (and doubtless a very unhappy wailling one) by yanking my sweet sleeping cherubès mouth open to jam in a toothbrush....thereby negating the effect of sleepy boob-juice.

    Sigh. What to you think, fellow nursersÉ (again, read that as a question mark) I brush his teeth 2-3 times during the day, but not after nighty nurse, or naps. Is that enoughÉ

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts,

    Jen

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    436

    Default Re: nursing to sleep - teeth concerns

    If you're brushing his teeth 2-3 times a day, and especially before the last nursing of the day, he should be okay -- recent studies seem to be showing that breastmilk in itself doesn't cause decay, although it can cause decay if there are particles of other kinds of food still on the teeth. One thing to keep in mind is that susceptibliity to tooth decay seems to be genetic, so if you or DH have have problems with decay, you might want to be extra careful. We took Jeremy to a pediatric dentist when he was 13 months just to check him out (and because we thought we saw white spots on his teeth). The dentist seemed surprised to see us that early, but told us the spots weren't anything to worry about. However if you do see white spots, I'd definitely take him to a dentist, as it can be the first sign of decay.

    We're still nursing to sleep at 22 months. We brush his teeth after his bath, before his last nursing. We'll probably take him back to the dentist in a couple of months just for a check. I admit, it does make me a bit nervous, but I'm not willing to stop nursing to sleep at this point, especially since it's really his best nursing session, and we don't usually nurse at all during the day. He's really attached to it, although he doesn't always fall asleep and sometimes needs to roll around some more on the bed before sleeping.
    Annie
    Mama to Jeremy Daniel (12/10/2005)


    I'm a late cloth convert...and you? :tumbsup

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: nursing to sleep - teeth concerns

    Quote Originally Posted by annie View Post
    If you're brushing his teeth 2-3 times a day, and especially before the last nursing of the day, he should be okay -- recent studies seem to be showing that breastmilk in itself doesn't cause decay, although it can cause decay if there are particles of other kinds of food still on the teeth.
    Annie, thank you SO much for your great reply! That's really reassuring to hear about breast milk and tooth decay. And yes, I do brush after his last solids of the day, so your response makes me feel a lot better about not doing so after the bedtime nurse. Whew!

    Neither my sweetie or I have a notable major history of tooth decay, so hopefully, fingers crossed, that bodes well for our boy. I wonder though, if growing up in areas with hard water helped me and DH, whereas we now live in a place with lovely soft water and no flourination in the water. Hmmm. Guess we'll see. Sadly, though, Brian seems to have inherited the tooth grinding habit from both of us. Sigh. If he keeps it up, this may be a mooth point with those top central incisors!

    Thanks for the tip on white spots on teeth too, Annie. Glad to hear that Jeremy got a clean bill of dental health.

    Thanks again!

    Jen

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,551

    Default Re: nursing to sleep - teeth concerns

    Hi Jen&Brian,
    This recent article might be helpful, too.

    Early Childhood Caries: New Knowledge Has Implications for Breastfeeding Families

    Mary

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: nursing to sleep - teeth concerns

    Wow, great article, Mary! Thanks so much for sharing that. I've got it bookmarked now and will let my breastfeeding friends know about it too. Exellent and thorough info. That really helps to calm my previous - apparently largely unfounded - angst re otherwise comforting sleepy time nursings.

    Cheers,

    Jen

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