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Old 07-21-2008, 09:39 PM   #1
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Cosleeping night nursers. A cautionary tale.

I know this will not be a popular post here, but I want to share my experience, in the hopes it will change another baby's potential future.

Background:

My son is a co-sleeping night nurser. My sadly mainstream pediatrician advised me at 4 months to cease night nursing as soon as his first tooth erupted. Never being one to take anything at face value, I did a large amount of research. I tightly latched on to the work of Brian Palmer and decided that as long as my bubbah's teeth were brushed throuroughly after the last solid food of the day, and all he had at night was breastmilk, things would be fine. After all, I read, a breast dispenses milk differently than a bottle, with less opportunity of pooling, and breast milk has not been proven to be careogenic on it's own!

Life went on. We continued eating a low refined sugar, whole foods diet. His juice was diluted to 1/4 strength with water. He never sipped a bottle. He learned to drink from a straw early on and preferred them to sippy cups..

Then just after his first birthday, all at once, his teeth turned white spotted, and 3 days later, it seemed as though one of them cracked when he tripped and fell. I later found out this was actually his tooth crumbling from decay.

I first brought him to the dentist at 14 months, and was told immediately by the bells and whistles pediatric dentist that he needed 4 crowns, and one tooth might not even have enough left to crown. I was given an estimate of over 6000 dollars after anesthesia was added. I began a frantic search to solve this problem, get a second opinion, and reverse the decay.

I poured through healing cavities with nutrition and enacted what I could on a limited budget. We night weaned. We took to brushing after every meal. I started using powdered xylitol in water as a drink after he nursed during the day. I made xylitol popscicles. I sought a second, third and fourth opinion. And yet his teeth still crumbled.

Due to lifes insanity, suddenly we were eligible for medicaid, and I immediately had his teeth checked out. Instant verdict? 6 crowns, general. Advanced ECC.

I enjoyed talking to his pediatric dentist a great deal. He was well informed, quoted the same study I have recently begun quoting whenever someone tells me "night nursing doesn't cause caries" and was informed enough to provide a recommended dosage for xylitol and suggest the best methods for delivery! He even mentioned Factor X!

But the truth stood. My son had advanced decay, and despite all of my goliath efforts, would need major treatment.

With a heavy heart I brought him in for surgery at 6:30 this morning. I held myself together as they gave him the Versid, and he became silly. I donned a paper jumpsuit and hairnet to carry him back an lay him down on the operating table. I kissed his cheek and held his hands as he breathed in the anesthesia and closed his eyes. Then I waited in the waiting room for an hour and 45 minutes, beating myself up over my informed decision the entire time and praying for 2 things -first, his ability to overcome this, and second, that there would be enough tooth to cap so he wouldn't need any extractions.

I got half of my wish.

He pulled through the surgery and recovery from anesthesia with flying colors. He wound up with 7 "robot teeth" and had to have his front right tooth extracted as there was a slight abscess.

His recovery so far has had ups and downs. He was wonderful in the recovery room. Of course I was there before he woke up, but upon his first awakening he did cry an fuss and scream for about 2 minutes, as they warned me he would. I sang my heart out, held him, and rocked him, trying to glimpse in his mouth through my tears. He was a little bloody, and his "teeth" appeared very spaced out and almost crooked. He fell asleep gently on my chest. Then the kicker - since he had an extraction, he couldn't nurse for 24 hours, as it might cause dry rot. On top of the 12 hours it had already been since he nursed (no fluids, not even water or clear liquids after midnight).

When he awoke from this hour long nap he was in a great mood, and devoured a popscicle and demanded another. The irony of feeding a recovering dental surgery patient a sugar and artifical color laden popsicle was not lost on me.

At home he's been himself about half the time. The other half, he has been hysterically crying, begging for Boo, or fitfully sleeping. I finally called the dentist during one of the worst sessions - he told me to go ahead and nurse him. It calmed him down, and now he's sleeping peacefully.

I know that my personal experience is not gospel or law. I know we each live our lives by the choices we make. I know we are all informed parents.

So here is where I will offer my opinion.

Infants and toddlers at risk for ECC:


Quote:

* Have mothers with untreated dental disease or mothers who have previous experience with dental caries.
* Have older siblings with high rates of dental disease.
* Have weak or pitted teeth due to premature birth or to their mothers’ poor diets during pregnancy.
* Have poor or nonexistent oral hygiene (which may result from limited access to dental services, financial challenges, or resistance by family members due to negative dental experiences in the past).
* Have a diet high in sugar (refined, added, and natural).
* Are given bottles at bedtime or naptime, or to modify behavior (e.g., crying).
* Are breast-fed on demand throughout the night.
* Are given pacifiers dipped in sugary substances, such as honey.
* Frequently take sugar-laden medications or oral antibiotic formulations.

The ONLY risk factor listed here that applies to my son is night nursing.

I am convinced that ECC can be caused by on demand night nursing. Had I chosen to night wean before teeth erupted, I believe I could have avoided this whole ordeal.

Hug your babies tightly. And i wish you the best in all of your parenting decisions!

~e

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Old 07-21-2008, 09:44 PM   #2
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Re: Cosleeping night nursers. A cautionary tale.

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Old 07-21-2008, 09:55 PM   #3
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Re: Cosleeping night nursers. A cautionary tale.

I think that children can also genetically have dental problems. So, your son might have had problems even if you had night weaned him. I have night nursed all 6 of my children who all got teeth between 3 and 5 mos. old and none of them have decay problems. to you mama and your son.
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Old 07-21-2008, 09:56 PM   #4
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Re: Cosleeping night nursers. A cautionary tale.

Poor little guy. Will it affect his permanent teeth?
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Old 07-21-2008, 10:01 PM   #5
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Re: Cosleeping night nursers. A cautionary tale.

Good for you for having the courage to post this here!
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Old 07-21-2008, 10:03 PM   #6
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Re: Cosleeping night nursers. A cautionary tale.

Now that my night nurser has a tooth, I keep a damp cloth near the bed each night on a plate, and after he nurses and unlatches I do a quick swipe. It woke him up a little the first few nights but he's gotten used to it now.
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Old 07-21-2008, 10:06 PM   #7
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Re: Cosleeping night nursers. A cautionary tale.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2six View Post
I think that children can also genetically have dental problems. So, your son might have had problems even if you had night weaned him. I have night nursed all 6 of my children who all got teeth between 3 and 5 mos. old and none of them have decay problems. to you mama and your son.
(though I have nursed 2, all night until 2yrs+) and
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Old 07-21-2008, 10:11 PM   #8
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Re: Cosleeping night nursers. A cautionary tale.

for your expierence....my DD nurses once at night and then once in the morning....i give her a paci when she wakes up during the night wanting to suck
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Old 07-21-2008, 10:11 PM   #9
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Re: Cosleeping night nursers. A cautionary tale.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2six View Post
I think that children can also genetically have dental problems. So, your son might have had problems even if you had night weaned him. I have night nursed all 6 of my children who all got teeth between 3 and 5 mos. old and none of them have decay problems. to you mama and your son.
Sorry about your son, but I agree with this poster, teeth are the results of genetics...you either have good, bad or inbetween ones. Luck for my three kids (all night nurser/cosleepers) they all got my teeth. I have two cavities...one after each pregnancy...three kids/two births (one set of twins). My kids all got my hard good teeth...now gums, that's another story!
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Old 07-21-2008, 10:25 PM   #10
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Re: Cosleeping night nursers. A cautionary tale.

Quote:
Originally Posted by naivete View Post
Now that my night nurser has a tooth, I keep a damp cloth near the bed each night on a plate, and after he nurses and unlatches I do a quick swipe. It woke him up a little the first few nights but he's gotten used to it now.
Great idea! You might be interested in researching xylitol (if you haven't). It's a plant (birch) derived sweetener which is shown to prevent colinization with the S. Muteans bacteria which causes the decay!

And thanks to all others who pointed out the anecdotal genetic link ... I don't believe this applies in our case as good teeth run in both of our families, but even if it did - my thinking runs along the lines of "so if it's weak to begin with, why tempt fate by leaving food there for the naugty bacteria to breed upon!"

I completely respect everyones parenting decisions, I just wanted to add a less popular opinion to the frey for anyone making this difficult decision themselves.
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Last edited by esokitty; 07-21-2008 at 10:28 PM.
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