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Bottles at night?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
OK mamas, I need some advice or reassurance...

I am pregnant and I have a 13-month-old breast-feeding co-sleeping daughter. She sleeps pretty well at night - one or two wakings between going to sleep and getting up for the next day.

Over the last month or so, her dad has started to put her to bed with a bottle. She doesn't fall asleep drinking, but it seems to soothe her and bring her down and ready to sleep. It doesn't seem like nursing does this as easily as it used to - probably partly because she's older now and partly because I am sure my milk supply has decreased with this pregnancy.

Sometimes she doesn't finish the whole bottle before falling asleep, so dh has taken to keeping the bottle at bedside and offering it to her when she wakes up at night. She usually sucks back whatever's left then falls back asleep.

I am so grateful for the extra sleep right now and I am loving that her dad is taking an active role in night-time parenting. But here's my question: is it OK for her to have a bottle before sleep and overnight on such a routine basis? I've heard that babies should not be put to sleep with bottles, but is that the case when they don't actually FALL asleep drinking, but fall alseep with no bottle in their mouth?

If it matters, she eats pretty much whatever we eat, breastfeeds 4-6 per day and 1-2 overnight (even with the bottles), and what's in the bottle is unsweetened soy milk, or whole cow milk, or goat milk.

I would very much appreciate the advice of you wise women here.
post #2 of 16
My dd was formula fed and went to bed with a bottle. Now all of her front teeth are rotted out from baby bottle mouth. I know it's my fault, I was just not an informed parent back then. When I started putting ds in the crib at night I would give him a sippy cup of water. He gets nothing to drink but water after I brush his teeth for the night. I don't mean to scare you but I don't want your dd to have to deal with what my dd is dealing with now.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your response.

Is what I'm doing putting the baby to bed "with a bottle"? (Do you know what I mean?)

I thought baby bottle mouth was when they fell asleep drinking from a bottle...my daughter doesn't do that. She falls asleep after drinking from a bottle.

I'm still confused!!
post #4 of 16
The way it was explained to me was that it really doesn't matter if they fall asleep drinking it or not. The breastmilk, formula or whatever still coats the teeth and is more than likely pooling in her mouth while she is asleep. Unless you are brushing her teeth after each feeding you are risking it. My dd didn't fall asleep with the bottle in her mouth either. I'm not saying that it will happen to your dd but it could. And the only way to keep it from happening is not falling asleep with a bottle/cup/etc with anything but water in it. Knowing what I know now I would not take the chance with another child of mine.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
OK - that makes sense to me. I'm going to browse through the dental archives and talk to dh about using water, instead of milk, in the night bottles. Thanks again for your responses...
post #6 of 16
Glad to be helpful. One thing you could consider doing to make the transistion less traumatic is to slowly water down the milk. I did this with ds when he was still taking a night feed at 13 months and he eventually decided it wasn't even worth waking up for anymore. It was more of a habit than a hunger for him but I never wanted to deny him.
post #7 of 16
We do the same thing and I have always clung to the notion that since he didn't actually sleep with the bottle in his mouth maybe it would be okay. He stays awake for some time after the bottle. ANYWAY, he's almost 3 and he had his first check up last week. No problems! Not that this takes us off the hook but I wanted you to know it's not all bad news.
post #8 of 16
My sons Dentist and Doctor have told me to at least wipe ds2's teeth with a wet cloth before he goes to sleep. That or bring the tooth brush in with ya. The 2nd seems disruptive to me when your trying to get your babe to relax.
post #9 of 16
My dd1 had baby bottle mouth too. She's had her four front teeth filled twice now b/c those kind of filling pop out so easily. It was not a fun experience, I don't recommend it. She went to bed w/soy milk or formula - big mistake - even though she wasn't drinking to sleep, it was still on there - eating those teeth

dd2 nursed to sleep until 13 months. She's just turned 2 yo - no problems there.

we weaned dd1 and 2 to sippy cups of water at night. dd1 at almost 4 yo, understands that milk or juice will give you cavaties and she doesn't want that. dd2 follows her lead even though she doesn't understand.

i'd really try to transition to water if you can. i know it's hard. the two times dd1 has had her teeth filled, i have had to hold her down and she cried through both experiences (though thankfully still looks at the dentists as nice) and i kept asking myself? were all those 'peaceful' nights really worth this 20-30 minutes of absolute torture for my baby? sometimes i think yes, most times i think probably not when i could have tried harder to transition her to water.

ugh. good luck to you.
post #10 of 16
Just wanted to add another bote on the bottle thing- and you would be amazed at just how fast those little teeth can rot out! My dd got her first tooth at 9.5 mths, she had 4 teeth (2 top, 2 bottom) by 12 mths, and 3 of those had cavities- by 14 mths when I took her to the dentist, they were rotted to the root and to make a long, miserable story short, we had the 2 top ones pulled and fake ones put in when she was right at 2.
And she nursed to sleep- never any bottles. I thought breastmilk didn't cause cavities, but now I have the idea that it can cause them when mixed with solids or other liquids, especially when brushing is not really good (i barely even brushed hers those first few months).
Then again, a lot of kids go to bed with bottles and never have a problem. So, you never know. At the very least I would make sure I brushed her teeth really well before the bottle, wipe her teeth after each time she drinks from it or nurses, and then brush them again really good in the morning. HTH!
post #11 of 16
We night weaned my dd from bottles as soon as she got her first teeth. As long as she had me to cuddle and her fingers to suck on she seemed to fall asleep just fine that way. Once in awhile she would ask for a bottle and after she got water she decided it wasn't worth her trouble to ask.

post #12 of 16

not breastmilk

i just want to say...breastmilk does not cause bottle mouth. if the only hting in the mouth is breastmilk, it will not rot teeth. it actually has enzymes to kill bacteria. as long as your child has no other food in their mouth (meaning their teeth brushed b4 bed) nursing to sleep or throughout the night is not a problem.
post #13 of 16
I think fishy is right- breastmilk won't cause cavities at night if teeth are brushed really well before bed.
But I did want to point out (to original poster) that it might be a good idea to at least wipe her teeth after nursings also, due to the fact that she is getting something other than breastmilk at night along with the nursings- which can be a high-risk situation, from the studies I have seen (that is breastmilk plus other liquids/food).
Just wanted to clarify!
post #14 of 16
Aside from dental decay, a study that just came out shows an increased incidence of asthma in children who are put to bed with bottles. Here's a link:

post #15 of 16

Re: Bottles at night?

Originally posted by OneTrickPony

Sometimes she doesn't finish the whole bottle before falling asleep, so dh has taken to keeping the bottle at bedside and offering it to her when she wakes up at night. She usually sucks back whatever's left then falls back asleep.
Is he giving her the same bottle she has already drank out of in the middle of the night? I might worry a little that it would spoil (for lack of a better word) between before bed, and in the middle of the night. My dd is weaned, so I can't remember exactly how long you can leave bm out without worrying about it going bad, I do remember it has antibacterial properties built in. My memory is foggy in the details. I just have a microbiological background, and am overly obsessive about germs. Hope my whole post made sense.
Congrats on your pregnancy! Hope its a healthy one!
post #16 of 16
My Ds was breast fed ONLY, for 6 months, then we started to suppliment with formula (I went back to work when he was 3 mths) ANYHOO.......

He is 3 1/2 now and takes a cup to bed with him, it used to be juice, but now he's back to milk. He got a bottle everynight up until he was about 3.

He has no teeth problems, no brown spots, no cavities nothing..... we brush every night after his bath.

I think it is different for each child, some will get problems but some won't.

(Didn't help at all did I)
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