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Why no bottle after 1?

(26 Posts)
LadyBee Thu 04-Jun-09 14:13:19

Can anyone point me to the research/reasons behind the recommendation not to use a bottle after one? I see it on guidelines but would like to understand what is behind it before make a decision on phasing out/retaining.

LadyBee Thu 04-Jun-09 14:13:58


BonsoirAnna Thu 04-Jun-09 14:15:09

By one, babies are quite able to drink from a glass or cup. That's the main reason.

AcademicMum Thu 04-Jun-09 14:18:32

I don't know any research but it is to do with both dental health (to stop milk "pooling" behind the teeth as it does with a bottle and causing tooth decay) and also because they drink less out of a cup so it stops them over-drinking milk at the expense of other food and becoming too fat/getting an unbalanced diet (as cows milk not nutritonally complete).

All this said though, I gave ds1 a bedtime bottle till he was around 2.5 (I think) and his teeth are fine and he's tall and skinny so no problems on either count there!

HensMum Thu 04-Jun-09 14:22:45

DS still has a bottle of milk at night and he's 19 months. It's down in 10 mins and his teeth are brushed straight afterwards.

He is perfectly able to drink out of cup and happily drinks milk from an open beaker at nursery but will not do it at home so he still gets the bottle.

LadyBee Thu 04-Jun-09 14:49:40

When does the milk 'pool'? Is it if they hold a bottle in their mouth without actively drinking?
DS has been drinking from a cup since weaning at 6 months, and has been getting milk in a cup during the day at morning & afternoon snacks, water in a cup with all meals, eats like a horse etc. I'm not worried about his manual dexterity and so far there's no hint of him being put off his meals.
It irks me to be given these guidelines without the background reasons. It seems so patronising.

LadyBee Thu 04-Jun-09 14:51:15

On the other hand, am completely open to making a change if there's good evidence smile

giantkatestacks Thu 04-Jun-09 14:55:49

LadyBee - I assumed it was the dental thing and also maybe because its much harder for them to give it up when they are older and some parents dont limit it to bedtime but end up putting older childrens drinks in them - ie fruitshoots wink its lowest common denominator stuff again isnt it?

Kayzr Thu 04-Jun-09 14:56:53

My DS1 is 2 and he still has a bottle in the morning and for bed.

dorisbonkers Thu 04-Jun-09 15:18:45

I think it's the length of time they have the teat in the mouth means sugary milk hanging about. And something to do with not having a teat for a long time in the mouth not delaying speech development.

I imagine that advice is for people who stick a bottle in a kid's mouth all day though, not those who give the odd bottle and take it away.

moondog Thu 04-Jun-09 15:22:05

The teat delaying speech devpt. is nonsense. (I'm a SALT.)
I don;'t see any reason why a baby shouldn't have a bottle as long as they damn well want to myself.
Many (including myself) breastfeed babies for several years, so why not a bottle for same length of time.
If it is comforting, why take it away?

SingingBear Thu 04-Jun-09 15:22:13

Message withdrawn

BonsoirAnna Thu 04-Jun-09 15:35:32

"Many (including myself) breastfeed babies for several years, so why not a bottle for same length of time?"

My understanding, from the pedo-dentist, is that the effect of prolonged bottle feeding on teeth may be negative whereas the effect of prolonged breast feeding on teeth is only neutral or positive.

Kayzr Thu 04-Jun-09 15:37:26

But that all depends on who you talk too because my cousin has just been told by her HV to stop BF because her DS now has a tooth and breastmilk rots teeth. Daft HV!!

moondog Thu 04-Jun-09 15:39:56

I think it is well established that average HV knows fuck all.

I think there are more important things to worry about than remote possibility that bottles can mess up teeth.
My dd messed hers up big time by having a bath with her brother so go figure.

misschatterbox Thu 04-Jun-09 15:41:14

When the health visitor came to visit our dd2 when she was born, she saw my husband take a bottle to give to dd1 (2yrs) before putting her down for a nap. We were told most firmly that she shouldn't be having a bottle before naps at her age because of her teeth. Her speech has alway been good and her teeth are in perfect condition. Although it did give us the shove we needed to take it away and it was much easier than we thought. Our dd2 was given her first bottle at 6months and had it taken away at 13mnths, poor baby

BonsoirAnna Thu 04-Jun-09 15:42:58

I agree that it's a fairly remote possibility, so not a top priority. However, it is very convenient when children can drink from a cup. My DD never had a bottle - she started drinking formula from a little cup on the (very rare) occasions I left her with my mother, from about six months. By a year she could use a cup just fine for milk and water, which was very convenient when we were out and about - you don't always want to breastfeed a child who is suddenly thirsty in the middle of her plate of pasta in a restaurant!

moondog Thu 04-Jun-09 15:43:22

God, I'd never let any random 'prfessional' tell me what to do with my own kids.

BonsoirAnna Thu 04-Jun-09 15:45:23

Although, moondog, as a "random professional" you love telling parents on MN what to do with their children wink grin

misschatterbox Thu 04-Jun-09 16:28:06

I only took her advice, because my dh and I kept wanting to stop giving her a bottle, but couldn't quite bring ourselves to do it. I am well educated and do tend to make my own decisions.

LadyBee Thu 04-Jun-09 17:08:47

I think my problem comes from the 'sloganising' thing of health messages, I understand that if there is a wider health issue - say dental decay in under 3s - and the cause identified is sugary juice being given in bottles, toddlers holding the bottle in their mouths all day instead of a dummy. Then it might seem too 'complicated' to try to communicate this and suggest a cup instead, or only water in bottles if the baby is in control of it, etc. I suppose there's nothing wrong with coming up with catchy slogans or simple messages if it gets into people's awareness but I do wish the evidence behind it were as easily available. I do try not to automatically dismiss 'official' health guidelines or policies; I'm intelligent and a professional in my own right and am well aware of how annoying it can be when people who know a little assume they know enough to make a decision against advice - it's taken me years to build up knowledge & experience in my area, so I expect a similar body of knowledge is available to health professionals that simply isn't to me. Or won't be until I devote several years to becoming an expert. (BTW, this doesn't mean I don't think parents or long term patients don't become 'experts' on their children or own conditions, it's just that I happen to believe the study that says it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to get there and I haven't reached that yet!)

Sorry..slight diversion there.

So, Moondog, there's definitely nothing inherent in the bottle itself as far as speech & language is concerned?

Any dentists out there?

misschatterbox Fri 05-Jun-09 07:54:33

I agree with you ladybee, this information should be made readily available to parents. I am a former health professional and had heard the commonly known reasons behind it when I became a mother, but have never seen any research. I only know my dd's teeth are in perfect condition because of a visit to the dentist this week. So there is one bottle fed baby who has done well, and I'm sure there are plenty of others, if as you say they aren't given sugary drinks. It also annoys me when people seem adamant that they will never take a health visitors/midwife's advice. I'm not saying we shouldn't question what we are told. I didn't train in children's health and so wouldn't pretend to know any more than any other mother. All I can go by is what I've read and what I see in my own children and hopefully a bit of mother's intuition. Good luck in finding the answers.

EyeballshasBackBoobs Fri 05-Jun-09 08:07:47

Well dd still has about 4 bottles a day and she's nearly 17 months. She is more than capable of drinking out of any cup and does so with water without batting an eyelid. Different story with milk though. She absolutely refuses to drink milk out of a cup, doubtless because the bottle is for comfort. After a long battle I've decided not to worry about it. I've reduced the amount I put in each bottle so she's not filling up on milk. She only drinks milk and water and I would never give her anything else in a bottle. Her teeth are fine and her speech is coming on nicely as far as I can tell so I'm letting this battle go

Louise2004 Fri 05-Jun-09 08:10:34

I found these answers that might be helpful for you (I also thought it might have something to do with the problem of thumb sucking etc. that affects the growth of teeth but it seems to be mainly due to the possibility of decay):

What about bottle-feeding?
Where a child is bottle fed, you must sterilise the bottle properly. Never add sugar or put sugary drinks into the bottle. Bottle-feeding with drinks containing sugar can lead to 'bottle caries' (tooth decay). A baby is not born with a sweet tooth and will only have a taste for sugar if it is given at an early age.

When should I stop bottle- and breast-feeding?
Early weaning can help stop your baby from developing problems with their teeth that can be caused by drinking from a bottle.
Try to get your baby to drink from a special cup by the time they are about 6 months old, or when they are able to sit up and can hold things on their own.


Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Ahh … those little pearly whites. After enduring weeks of teething pains, your baby’s toothy smile never fails to light up a room or warm your heart. But bright smiles can dim quickly if baby’s teeth are not cleaned and cared for correctly. Use these dental tips to keep your baby’s grin great and prevent baby bottle tooth decay.

Start early. Teething can begin as early as 4 months, but most babies won’t get their first tooth until about 6 months. Teeth often arrive in pairs, with the bottom front two showing up first, followed by the top two. Even before these tiny teeth show, you should massage your baby’s gums gently with a damp washcloth. This will help keep gums healthy and ease teething pain.

Say ‘no’ to a nightcap. Putting a baby to bed with a bottle, which he can suck on for hours, is the major cause of infant tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay, the leading dental problem for children under 3, occurs when a young child’s teeth are exposed for a prolonged period of time to sugary liquids, such as formula and fruit juices. As a result, the enamel on the baby’s teeth starts to dissolve, leading to decay and possible infection. This can even affect the development and spacing of permanent teeth.

Fortunately, you can prevent baby bottle tooth decay by following these recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry:

* Don’t allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juices or other sweet liquids.
* Never let your child walk with a bottle in her mouth.
* If your child wants a bottle between regular feedings or during naps, comfort her with a bottle filled with cool water.
* Always make sure your child’s pacifier is clean, and never dip a pacifier in a sweet liquid.
* Introduce children to a cup as they approach 1 year of age. Children should stop drinking from a bottle soon after their first birthday.
* Look for any unusual red or swollen areas in your child’s mouth or any dark spots on his teeth and consult a dentist immediately once they’re discovered.

Teeth-Care Tip
Don’t use fluoride toothpaste on your child’s teeth until at least 3 years of age, when she is old enough not to swallow the toothpaste. Ingesting toothpaste can result in tooth staining or surface irregularities on the enamel.

Don’t worry about your little one getting enough fluoride, an important compound that strengthens enamel and prevents tooth decay. Most cities and towns add fluoride to their water systems for this purpose. If your water comes from a well or you prefer bottled water (which doesn’t contain fluoride), ask your pediatrician or dentist about fluoride supplements.

From this page

LadyBee Fri 05-Jun-09 22:54:39

That's extremely useful information, thanks very much.
The advice about not using fluoride toothpaste seems to contradict another leaflet I was given though. Hey ho, another thread.

Thanks again!

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