If your baby needs a bottle to help her fall asleep, fill it with water only. Don’t put breast milk or infant formula in the bottle at night. Don’t put fruit juice or sweetened liquids in the bottle. These liquids pool around your baby’s teeth while she is sleeping. They can damage and decay her teeth. Water cannot hurt her teeth in this way. Any drink other than water in the bottle at bedtime can cause “baby bottle tooth decay.”
Baby bottle tooth decay can cause your baby a lot of pain. Damage to her teeth may have to be treated in a hospital. Protect your baby’s teeth even before you can see them. Gently wipe inside her mouth with a clean, soft cloth each day. Be sure to wipe her gums and teeth.
At six months, show your baby how to use a cup. You can put some breast milk or formula in the cup. By the time your baby is one year old, she will stop needing a bottle and will use a cup instead. Introducing the cup now helps prepare her for this development in her life. It also helps prevent baby bottle tooth decay and give your baby a bright, healthy smile.
Before bedtime, give your baby a hug. Instead of a bottle, give her extra attention for comfort. You can also give her a soft blanket or toy to hold. You are more of a comfort to her than a bottle ever can be.
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