Breastfeeding and the Dentist

February 5th 2012 / 2 minutes to read

Being a stay at home mom, I sort of stay in my own little bubble.

It’s not until I venture out into public that I realize that how we parent, isn’t mainstream or generally accepted by society. I also discover (sadly TOO MUCH) that people are misinformed and uneducated about breastfeeding, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, and more.

A great example of this would be my dentist appointment last week (ugh, going back tomorrow for more work), where the receptionist, upon discovering that I still breastfeed my two year old toddler, informed me I would HAVE to pump and dump my breastmilk because it would be completely unusable after my deep cleaning. Why? Because I’d need a shot of Novocaine.

I tried to gently educate her that having a shot of Novocaine would not suddenly make my breastmilk into a dangerous toxic substance and that by her saying this (to Gods know how many women) she is spreading fear and misinformation.


I didn’t want to get into a debate and sit there for hours trying to explain as gently as possible to not hurt her feelings that she was… wrong. However I did try to explain she was misinformed, that perhaps she could research it a bit more before giving advice that isn’t correct. I tried to direct her to this article from KellyMom but aside from that, didn’t know what specific resources I should even bring up.

After the appointment, I tried to figure out WHY I let it bother me so much, why it STILL bothers me, that this young woman who admitted to me she knew nothing about children or breastfeeding, as a receptionist, would give MEDICAL ADVICE that was incorrect.

I never know what to say or how to handle situations like these, have you had an experience with someone who was giving incorrect advice about breastfeeding? How did you handle it?

Update 2/6/2012
I went back for my appointment today and brought up to the dentist my issue with the receiptionist. Overall the dentist was receptive and nice about it but she did say this, “But what MEDICAL advice was she giving you?” and I had to explain that her telling me to pump and dump my breastmilk, that it would be toxic from the Novocaine, was indeed MEDICAL ADVICE.

This post is over a year old which means the content may be outdated or no longer accurate.


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Wow, that would irritate me, probably to the point that I would suggest she keep her advice to herself and find a new dentist.

Well I’m hoping the dentist isn’t as misinformed or I will find a new dentist for myself. I just don’t understand how the receptionist could present all of this as medical fact and NOT realize she shouldn’t be doing that.


Hmmm… In my opinion, she may have thought that since she worked in the dental/medical field, she knows more than you do about your own body. That’s the mentality of some (but certainly not all) mainline medical workers. They learn something in school, or from some “medical journal”, and then think they know more than you. That should be between you and your dentist.

Reply to Joyce

You need to tell the dentist that the receptionist should not be giving out any kind of medical advice. That’s just bad business. Also, I’d compose a letter/email with relevant links and information and send it to the dentist.

Reply to Anna

Oh yes, if it had occurred BEFORE the appointment I would have mentioned it to the dentist that day, so I will be bringing it up tomorrow for sure. I do worry though that the receptionist was spouting what the dentist told her to say which makes it even more disappointing to me.


A RECEPTIONIST should not be giving ANY medical advice to ANYBODY. That’s what I mean. The dentist needs to know that she/he is doing that because that is a medical malpractice suit waiting to happen.

Reply to Anna

Oh I agree, what I meant is perhaps they don’t see it as MEDICAL advice by telling someone to not breastfeed but as a “just give the baby a bottle” or like saying “you’ll have to live on jello for a few days because your mouth will be sore”.

I’m going to bring it up tomorrow that 1. the receptionist indeed was giving medical advice 2. incorrect medical advice about breastfeeding 3. and was trying her damnedest to convince me that I was wrong about the Novocaine not making breastmilk toxic.

My appointment is late afternoon so I’ll try to do an update later in the evening.


I had a situation where someone who had breastfed her own children tried to convince me there was no nutritional or immunological benefits to breastfeeding past 6 months. I just kept repeating, “Research shows that’s not true.” and “Would you like me to email you some articles about this?” Wash, rinse, repeat. She was so sure. She also didn’t want any sort of research or articles. I finally said, “That just makes no sense to me. At what age do apples stop having a nutritional benefit?”

Reply to Casey

AHAHA love your response! I will never EVER understand how breastmilk can suddenly lose ALL value after a specific time, like it’s a loaf of bread with an expiration date.


Well how about this…my child’s DOCTOR told me that I need to supplement with cow’s milk, cheese and yogurt because there is no calcium in breastmilk! I honestly have no respect for him, never listen to him, etc. The only reason I go to him is because I live in Europe and do not speak the language yet and this guy speaks fluent English.

Reply to Erin

That is just crazy!!!! What a frustrating position you’re put in due to language barriers!


I agree with Anna. That’s just not right for the receptionist to be giving out that type of information. If the dentist wants some sort of information distributed, then it should be typed up beforehand on letterhead from the doctor so it’s instructions coming from the doctor. Then they can give it out to relevant patients. Also, it would be researched and accurate. I’m sorry that this happened. I bet it was frustrating. Let us know what happened.

Reply to Caity

I’m already freaking out about bringing this up only because I’m preparing myself to be disappointed. There is SO much misinformation about breastmilk and teeth in general! Ughhh stress.


If you are nervous about bringing it up in person, then research exactly what it is that you want to say in your own time and write a letter or an email and then send it. Say something like, “Upon further reflection, it bothered me that… blah blah… and I felt that I needed to voice my opinion about this so that other patients were not misinformed or upset by something similar in the future.”

Good luck!

Reply to Caity

Oh you are much more eloquent than I ever could be! Love that!

Wow! How could the receptionist feel qualified to give out advice like that? That’s not her place at all (nor is it any of her business). Our ped. told me there are very few instances where you actually need to pump and dump (and this is times when you got morphine for extended periods or something like that). Wow.

Good luck with the chat with the dentist today…if the dentist feels that way, might be time to find a new one, but hopefully, he/she is open and receptive to your gentle corrections.

The dentist thankfully had a lot more breastfeeding knowledge, however it was a bit disappointing that she didn’t see it as a MEDICAL issue when I brought it up.

Amanda Jillian

I’m kind of a bitch (blame my mom she’s Queen Bitch I’m just the princess) but I would have complained to the dentist about her. I hate when some people think that just because they work in a medical office they have superior knowledge, when they are just talking out of their ass.

I was breast feeding when I had teeth pulled and no one, including my dentist knew if it was ok for me to breast feed while on the pain killers. Of course I was completely out of it and not really up to being alone with my son let alone breast feeding him.

I rather be told “I don’t know” than be told false information.

Reply to Amanda Jillian

I spoke to my dentist about it today, not sure if it will make a difference or not though.

I also would MUCH rather be told “I don’t know” or “Let me look it up” rather than given misinformation as fact!

Amanda Jillian

I know I’m sorry that I was fed so much false information while I was nursing my son. I started giving him bottles and nursing. Like the people that told me to stop nursing him when he had thrush but I didn’t. Or thought that just cause I had a sore throat I should stop.

My daughter was a other story, I don’t do well with a pump at all. Instead of asking if I wanted to try just nursing her they kept saying are you drink enough, pumping enough, etc. I was doing everything I could and pumping every 2 hours for 30 minutes, it was just that my breasts hate the PUMP!

OK breast feeding rant over now.

Reply to Amanda Jillian
Echo S.

My biggest problem with breastfeeding was people saying, ‘He’s just using you as a pacifier!’

This annoyed me SO MUCH because… no he wasn’t! He would be using a pacifier as a substitute for a very natural thing children do with their mothers- find comfort. I don’t get where the idea that a man made device is somehow what kids are SUPPOSED to have. Like a kid who has NEVER had a damn pacifier is just naturally going to develop a pacifier habit and substitute mommy for it. Bite me!

Other than that, he weaned at 27 months (just after Christmas) and I mostly kept it quiet that we were still nursing once a day because it just isn’t anyone’s business. Everyone wants to say something, though!

Reply to Echo S.

Neither of my children EVER used a pacifier. I’m not made out of plastic/rubber. Henceforth, I am not being used as a pacifier (which is a substitution for a breast anyway).

How do you feel about him weaning? Danny weaned right after he turned 4 and Tristan is still going strong at 28mo so I figure he’ll be weaning around 4 as well lol.


My child used a pacifier. He is high needs, and had also developed a bad case of acid reflux. Then, since he is high needs, he was using the breast for comfort, which was making him feel worse. So I gave him a pacifier. My oldest never had one though, but I dont think that moms that do use them are any worse than anyone else.

Reply to Erin

I don’t think Echo or myself (I can only speak for myself though!) were saying pacifiers are a bad thing.

I personally never used them or had a need to use them. You were in a situation where your baby had a medical issue and was high needs so it’s a different situation!

Echo S.

I couldn’t be more thrilled :)

Other women talk about a rush of nice calm hormones when they sit to nurse. I had the opposite experience. It made me stressed and even angry. I would get so frustrated I’d cry. Angel was happy, though, so I let him wean himself down to every three days, then when he was there I’d say “soon” when he asked to “cuddle” (nurse word). He’d giggle and go to sleep without usually. If he asked twice I’d say ok or if he woke up crying and asked.

I gained ~20 pounds in the process ;( was barely eating and was exercising. I also would cry at anything. Watching the news? Cry. Kevin says we’re out of cat food? Cry. Someone tells you they like your hair cut? Cry. Considering how gradual the weaning was I thought I’d be immune to that ;(

Reply to Echo S.
Amanda Jillian

That sounds like me. I have PPD. I cried over getting dressed too.

Reply to Amanda Jillian

Echo, this sounds like DYSPHORIC MILK EJECTION REFLEX. Maybe you’re already aware but here is a site about it. in case you aren’t aware. :)

Reply to heather

I would find a new dentist ASAP. You do not deserve to be treated like that by somebody you are paying. A**holes.

Reply to Ali

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