This time it is teeth. Ana weaned away from breastfeeding completely, when she was 10 months old. She was no longer interested in being breastfed as her teeth started showing up; she was more interested in biting anything she gets. I tried a few times but she refused to latch on. She chose to wean away and I was okay with it. We had started using bottles for her milk. She was on formula milk after 6 months – mother’s milk during morning and night and formula in between –the typical working mom transitioning. She got used to her bottle soon and we were happy about it. Ever since she is attached to her bottle and I dint have a problem with it because she usually asks only for milk in the bottle especially before dozing off to sleep. It helped her fall asleep and we never tried weaning her away from the bottle, we thought she would give it up herself when it was time. She has now started drinking milk and other liquids from sipper cups and normal cups, but bedtime milk is still from the bottle.
A month ago, I noticed a very tiny spot on her front tooth, mild brown in colour- beginning of a tooth cavity, I suspected. I started ensuring that I make her brush twice a day, she gargles after she finishes food, I've cut down on chocolates and sweets hoping to stop the cavity. A week ago, I noticed a minute brown patch on the other front teeth of hers too –I was alarmed. I went to my paediatrician to seek his advice as I was not sure what was wrong and why the brown spots. The first question that he shot at me was
“IS SHE STILL ON BOTTLE?”
I hesitantly said “YES”. He said it’s
“BBTD – Baby Bottle Tooth Decay – Stop the bottle – especially stop her from dozing off with the bottle”. He told me it is not precisely the bottle that is causing the issue; it is the milk or the juice that she drinks from the bottle that is causing it. The sugar in the liquid stays on her teeth and gums for a longer period if she drinks her milk from the bottle and dozes off, as the flow of saliva is much lesser during the night. Every time she consumes a sugary liquid, acid is produced by bacteria which attack the teeth and gums. Multiple such instances start causing tooth decay. Stop the bottle gradually, and you will see an improvement, he advised. I really felt stupid for being so ignorant. Anyway - better late than never.
I am gradually weaning her away from the bottle. I also read up a little about BBTD. A few tips that they advise are:
1- Start weaning away as soon as the child turns
2- If the child is too attached to the bottle, slowly dilute the milk or formula with water, and gradually give only water during bedtime – Anything other than water in the bottle is a strict no.
3-Start brushing teeth with just the baby brush (no tooth paste until few teeth show up) and gently massage the gums every day.
4-Don’t ignore signs of Cavity thinking that these teeth are temporary – this might affect the child’s food habits and cause infections at later stages.
5- Pep talk the child and make them drink through cups, buy them new cups of their choice, applaud them, let them try drinking by themselves.
I am writing because I was not aware and I really felt bad about my ignorance. I wanted to share what I got to know now. Hope it helps a few toddlers and parents. Happy parenting!! Wean away guys!!!