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Dental caries! Help to wean off breastfeeding?

(9 Posts)
knan Mon 10-Mar-14 10:29:53

Hi there

My little girl is 18 months old and still breastfeeding. I never planned on extended breastfeeding but once we got into it, and it worked well for us (plus she refused formula when I attempted combination feeding) I decided I'd maybe let her wean herself off when she's ready.

She's not much of an eater, grazes on healthy snacks throughout the day and eats a bit of an evening meal with me but still goes on the breast throughout the day for a snack, but I think it's mostly for comfort, as she currently suffers with constipation from holding poo in (for which she takes lactulose) sorry if TMI!

She also has breast milk after her bath, before she goes to sleep, though I've managed mainly to stop her falling asleep on the breast and she generally just rolls over after and settles herself to sleep (we co-sleep) and she enjoys some breast milk at about 6am and goes back to sleep for an hour

Anyway, sorry for waffling, just giving background info I thought might be relevant!

So the main reason for writing is I've recently noticed some brown marks near her gum line on two of her front teeth and so I took her to dentist today and they said it's caries from breastfeeding at night and that I should stop, though she did say it wasn't anything to panic about, just carry on brushing as best I can and she's going to see her again in 6 months.

So I'm just wondering if any of you other mums have had experience with caries, will it get worse?! I know they're only baby teeth but I don't want her to end up with brown teeth which look like I neglect to take care of them!

Also, any tips for weaning her off the breast?! I'm a single mum as of recently so I can't pass her to anyone else at night, and given her dad's only been gone a few months (though still visits) I want to do it as gently as possible ideally

Thanks for reading smile

ilovepowerhoop Mon 10-Mar-14 10:41:05 - breastfeeding is not related to dental caries. Maybe it is the grazing on food during the day that is the issue rather than the breastmilk.

Your lo could also have enamel issues in the first place e.g. my ds has problems with his first adult molar teeth that is unrelated to the foods/ drinks he has as the problem relates to when the teeth were forming in the gums.

ilovepowerhoop Mon 10-Mar-14 10:42:39

what foods do you give as snacks as, for example, raisins are not that great for teeth as they stick to the teeth.

anothernumberone Mon 10-Mar-14 10:45:59

A common dental misconception. Whatever they tell the non bf mothers to give up is what they should be suggesting to you.

knan Mon 10-Mar-14 11:06:27

Thanks for the links. I'm pleased to read that it's not the breastfeeding to have caused the issue, as that did upset me thinking it was that. I've spoke to a health visitor today and she said it was breastfeeding, just like the dentist! Annoying that they are making mums feel guilty about breastfeeding rather than giving advice they'd give to non breastfeeding mums! I did wonder if it could be the grazing, she loves fruit, raisins and rice cakes all of which are sweet I know. It's hard as she's quite petite and just doesn't eat big meals and prefers to graze. I'm now not sure what to do for the best! If I stop her grazing I worry she'll just want breast milk more which I'd like to avoid if possible

anothernumberone Mon 10-Mar-14 11:14:27

Knan maybe try to limit snacking to get more in at meals and go for protein based snacks like cheese and hummus rather than the raisins. Water and absolutely no juice seems to be the big thing for teeth.

I know a few women who got the same advice for the same reason and it was equally upsetting but the fact is a lot if dentists are going against the who recommendations on bf based on some now discredited evidence which should not be still happening.

knan Mon 10-Mar-14 12:12:08

Thanks so much anothernumberone. I'd been giving her Heinz baby juice as well as water but I'm just going to give her water as she does like water, and the cheese and humous is a good tip, she loves cheese so I'll give that in place of raisins, and try to limit snacking if I can smile

TheScience Mon 10-Mar-14 12:34:03

My DS is 3 and not breastfed, and has no enamel on some teeth - the dentist told me to avoid sweets, dried fruit like raisins, juice and fizzy drinks. No mention at all of milk.

I think sometimes people hear "breastfeeding" (especially after 6 or 12 months) and it seems like the easy answer to just tell you to stop.

knan Mon 10-Mar-14 16:24:44

Thanks thescience! I think you're right, the dentist didn't even ask me anything else, as soon as I answered about breastfeeding she said yep that's it, you need to stop! I'll definitely cut out juice x

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