Visited new dr. He said, "stop nursing."

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2007
Visited new dr. He said, "stop nursing."
14
Fri, 04-09-2010 - 10:20pm

I hadn't planned to nurse as long as I have. DD is going on 19 months. I still love it most of the time (she's never STTN, co-sleeps from about 2:00 a.m. on most nights and nurses all night), but I'm exhausted. We saw a new dr. yesterday since we had relocated and DD was due for her 18 mo physical, etc. I told him about our sleep problems. He of course suggested the CIO method (we tried that way back when, reluctantly, and it didn't work for her anyway. I wasn't about to try anything else related to CIO either). DH cannot handle her crying, so having him night wean isn't really an option. I can get her to go to sleep at the beginning of the night before her long stretch (usually 3 hours), but she won't stay asleep and wakes to nurse all night. When I can't nurse her and put her back in her crib, that's when I sleep with her in the twin bed in her room. Totally not a system that's working for any of us.

All that leads into my new dr. saying, "well, you really need to stop breastfeeding at this point. 12-15 months is usually a good time to stop because when you go too much beyond a year or two you really risk dental decay. I've seen so many people in here with rotten teeth because of extended nursing." He also followed that up with the fact that DD would sleep better if she wasn't nursing. My stomach about hit the floor and every time I'm nursing DD, I can't help but think about this teeth issue! I don't have the best teeth (stained from some fluoride issue) and had to suffer with it my whole life. I would HATE for DD to have the same problem. I know about bottles causing the decay because of the liquid from the bottle sitting on the teeth, but always thought BF was exempt from that. Apparently not, according to him.

I guess this is kind of loaded post- reaching out for advice about the sleep issue and reaching out for responses to this doctor!

TIA.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-28-2007
Fri, 04-09-2010 - 11:21pm

This dr is not breastfeeding friendly. My dr has never brought up weaning and my DD is 24 months and still nurses around the clock. As for sleep advice I consider that parenting advice so my dr has no role in that.

My DD usually wakes 2-3 times to nurse over night. Normally she nurses and then goes right back to sleep. We cosleep all the time so there's no moving around to wake me more. Whenever my DD does that all night nursing it's always teething. I just kinda deal with it because I am firmly against CIO and I plan on complete child led weaning. I know this doesn't help but I'm there with you.

Give this a read to ease your mind on tooth decay: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/older-baby/tooth-decay.html

FWIW I nursed till I was 4 am 28 and still have no cavities. :)


Lilypie 2nd Birthday Ticker

Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Lilypie 2nd Birthday Ticker

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-13-2005
Sat, 04-10-2010 - 12:32am

Breastfeeding at night (or any other time) does not cause tooth decay. There is scientific evidence that backs that up. Please do not let the doc use that to bully you into night weaning. It is simply not true. Breastfeeding is nothing like bottle feeding at night, which does cause decay. Not only is the action different, milk does not pool in the mouth, the baby has to actively suckle for milk to come out of the breast, and suckling is automatically followed by swallowing. Milk flows out of a bottle all by itself, allowing it to pool in the mouth, surounding the teeth causing decay. The sugars in breastmilk are different from those in formula. Formula sugars cause decay, breastmilk sugars do not. This is from a course I am studying right now:

" Breastmilk sugar is lactose which is split by the enzyme lactase into glucose and galactose in the infant's gut, not in the mouth near the teeth. Sucrose is the main sugar which is implicated in tooth decay. Other forms of carbohdrates also provide available circumstances for bacterial fermentation which leads to tooth decay. Prehistoric skulls show no malalignment and no dental caries. (Palmer, GOLD08, GOLD09 conference notes)

Dental caries have a significantly higher incidence in children who were artificially fed from birth, or from 3 months of age."

*Mattos-Graner RO (1998) Association between caries prevalence and clinical, microbiological and dietary variables in 1.0 to 2.5-year-old Brazilian children

Also, very important to realize that breasfeeding at night is meeting a need. If you choose to stop meeting that need through beastfeeding, the need will still be there and you will have to find a nother way to meet the need, probably a lot more difficult.

This doc is really unfriendly to breastfeeding and uninformed too. He is going against the recommendations of his own proffestional organisation and the WHO. I would want to ask him about that.

Why not just bring your dd into bed with you and dh when she wakes up? that way everyone can be together, you rest instead of struggling to get her back to be in her own bed. you and dh can have some alone time during her 1st stretch in her bed.

Some kids are just needier at night and there is very little we as parents can do about it. Out of my 3 kids, one was very needy. she nursed a lot at night for a long time and she was 4 before she slept through the night reliably. night nursing had nothing to do with it. the only way I got enough sleep to function was to nurse her at night and bring her into our bed, because otherwise we ALL would be awake a lot longer. my other 2 STTN from an early age. I did the same things with each of my children, they just had different needs.

Sounds as though your intstincts have already told you that this docs advise is lousy. Why not listen to that and find another doc that is more in line with your values?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-2009
Sat, 04-10-2010 - 6:12am
The other two posters gave you great advice and information. Sounds like this doc doesn't have his facts straight.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-12-2006
Sat, 04-10-2010 - 9:54am

Just wanted to back up the other posters and share a personal story:

My 5 year old nursed regularly until she was 4. She continued nursing for a minute or two ... occasionally until around her 5th birthday. She was night weaned around her 2nd birthday or shortly thereafter. She still has no cavities. She's been seeing a pediatric dentist since she was 2. At every visit, he tells me her teeth look great and I should keep doing what I'm doing.

My now 2 year old is still nursing a couple times a day and at least once overnight. She's only been to the dentist once, but no cavities at that visit.

There are children who will have cavities even if they aren't bottle feeding, but based on the research I think this is likely due to one or two things (or a combination thereof): parents who aren't adequately brushing their children's teeth once baby is eating solid foods (and children these days do tend to eat carbohydrate rich diets). And, I strongly believe there are some people who are genetically predisposed to tooth decay. I say this because my DH takes excellent care of his teeth. I personally brush diligently twice a day, but I'm lax w/ floss, mouthwash, etc. My DH brushes his teeth twice a day, flosses regularly, uses a rubber pick thing on his gum line, etc. He's the only one of us in the last 20 years to have a cavity. And he's had more than one. I do worry that the children might inherit his teeth, but if one of them do, I'm also still confident that nursing isn't contributing to any problem. In fact, I believe in the link pp gave you they actually cite a study where tooth enamel became stronger after soaking in breastmilk overnight.

Since you're new to the area you're in ... I might suggest you continue your search for a new pediatrician. I hated moving and giving up my beloved pediatrician. I still don't have a doc I love, but she knows I'm educated and opinionated ... and she doesn't even try to push me around (anymore). She's actually my second pediatrician in my new town (I actually loved the first from a standpoint of support for natural parenting ... we were perfectly aligned in that way, but he had an issue listening to me. My oldest DD had a sinus infection. I knew she had a sinus infection. And he wouldnt' treat her for one, insisting it was only allergies. He kept giving her more allergy meds until I finally took her to another doctor 5 weeks later, where they treated her for a sinus infection and she was miraculously cured of her "allergies"). My point is that it is hard to find the perfect doctor. But if you feel you need someone to give you advice on parenting issues, it would probably be best to find someone who is more in tune with your style of parenting. JMHO.

Good luck. And rest comfortably knowing you're not hurting your baby's teeth with nursing :-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-21-2009
Sat, 04-10-2010 - 9:39pm

I agree, your pediatrician is misinformed about breastfeeding at night and dental decay. There is just no link between the two.


Kathy Kuhn IBCLC ivillage lactation consultant Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas, and Charlotte

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2006
Sun, 04-11-2010 - 11:04pm
Well, in a nutshell, I'd say your new Dr is full of bunk.
siggy
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Mon, 04-12-2010 - 7:40am

Yes, I actually have a niece who had multiple caries at a young age. The dentist was blaming my brother and his wife for letting her sleep with a bottle of sweet drink when she was little, but she had only ever been BF.

However, the caries were not due to BF. It turned out that she has a genetic condition, due to recessive genes (she was unlucky) that affected her teeth, hair, brain, skin. She could have been even unluckier. Some children with her condition have no teeth at all or just peg-like stumps.

When she was older and my brother moved to the city, they were given free dental treatment at the major dental hospital there, as the dentists wanted to study someone with her condition.

Teresa

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2007
Wed, 04-14-2010 - 10:44pm
THanks so much for your response. I really didn't want to still be nursing by 24 months, but it's looking like she's not ending it anytime soon :) I really wanted to do child-led weaning too, but I might have to start to cut out feedings here and there. NOT related to decay though. Thank you for the kelly-mom info you sent too.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2007
Wed, 04-14-2010 - 10:49pm

I'm already dreading seeing him again because I will be feeling like he's going to 'bully' me about still nursing. Ugh. It just seems like these docs really need to be better informed! Thank you for sharing your course studies.

SHe's always slept part of the night in her crib and the other the other part in our bed. She started to just get too restless and seemingly uncomfortable. We tried a couple of modified CIO methods (didn't stick to it, just wasn't worth it!) and now I'm sleeping with DD on a twin bed in her bedroom when she wakes. This is not an ideal situation and I really want to be back in bed with DH. Just not sure how to make that happen. It seems like she doesn't even really enjoy sleeping with me and nursing all night. NOt sure I can explain, but she just seems restless and like she 'has' to nurse just 'cause it's there, but she'd rather be sleeping.

I understand that even if I were to night wean, she'd still wake, but at least I could just quickly comfort her (or DH could do it). I'm just exhausted at this point.

I do agree about needing to find a new dr. though :)

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2007
Wed, 04-14-2010 - 10:51pm

Thanks for sharing your story. I'll try to stop worrying :)
How did you night wean when you night weaned around DD's 2nd birthday?

That's another issue I have...DD is in a phase where I can't brush her teeth! No matter what I do! I try to let her brush my teeth while I brush hers, try to let her chew on her own brush and "brush" her own teeth, and I try to stick my finger in her mouth with the little rubber brush. The best I can do is get her to drink some water before bed. Not sure how long this phase will last, but it's certainly not helping me feel better about her teeth!

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