23 month old son drinking at least 1.5ltr milk per night and not eating during day how to stop this?

(45 Posts)
GTLH Mon 17-Jun-13 19:40:36

My Son has started drinking cows milk at night, I tried giving him water he just screamed for milk and spat the water everywhere and wouldn't sleep. So I started giving him milk, he is now going through approximately 1.5ltr of milk per night and filling himself up, this in turn has stopped him being hungry for breakfast and only grazes throughout the day until about 5.30pm when he is hungry enough to eat a proper meal...

(I currently only give him water during the day to make sure he gets enough water, he used to have water at night and milk & water during the day, until he kept waking me throughout the night for milk, incidentally this started when his little brother arrived.)...

Is this just a phase and can someone tell me how I can wean him off this?

Bambi27 Wed 19-Jun-13 12:36:00

Ah thanks smile and I'm glad he's doing well!! Sounds like you're doing super xxx

GTLH Wed 19-Jun-13 12:19:04

thanks everyone, you have all been so helpful...

I diluted the milk last night (half/half) to wean him off it, and it seems to have worked, he only had two cups as opposed to the usual 4/5 and slept alot better, so think he is just thirsty at night and the milk just wasn't quenching it...

He even ate some breakfast with me this morning so think I am on the right track smile (*thanks to you all*).

girliefriend thank you for your concern, physically he is very healthy, happy and no illness signs, it has recently gotten very hot here so the rise in thirst is a normal amount (nothing excessive).

Bambi27 You are lovely thanks

HopAndSplash Tue 18-Jun-13 23:07:19

If you replaced the milk with follow on/formula milk then gradually reduced that might be easier than cold turkey.

Breastmilk is still ok as a proportion of a toddlers diet, so logically formula should be too, but maybe double check that. You do need to reduce it so he's having a reasonable amount of food most days really though, but no reason to completely stop it IMO if you don't want to.

Misty9 Tue 18-Jun-13 21:45:08

I really feel for you dealing with this on your own my normally good sleeper 21mo ds hasn't slept well for three nights and I'm a zombie already

For me, the crucial detail is that he started doing this when his brother came along. I saw you're bf, and I'm guessing this is at night too? Sounds like your eldest is possibly feeling a bit left out, and perhaps 'regressing' to having milk like his brother. A normal reaction I would say.

Do you have the opportunity to give ds1 much 1 on 1 time during the day? If not, is there any way you could get this in? Even 10mins while the baby naps will be invaluable to him sod the housework and anything else
I'm not sure how verbal he is (my 21mo doesn't speak much yet) but could you talk about how he feels about having a new brother? Or at least verbalise for him that it's okay to find it hard etc, but you love both of them...blah blah, you get the gist I'm sure.

Obviously the pressing issue is that the milk fills him up and he won't eat (and the impact on you of having to deal with both of them at night) so definitely could try only giving little amounts of milk when he wakes, and explaining why to him. Then standing firm as firm as is possible at 2am when you haven't slept and giving him the option of water if he's still thirsty. If he spits it out, leave it and don't worry about cleaning him up; it's only water and sleeping in a damp bed won't hurt him.

It could be that he really is hungry overnight now, as he's sort of reversed his eating pattern. What time is his dinner/tea? Might be an idea to give him a filling snack just before bed too (porridge, toast, banana, cereal etc) to try and stave off milk wakings.

HTH, and all you can do is your best. And that's good enough smile

girliefriend Tue 18-Jun-13 20:52:05

Is he excessively thirsty during the day? Suddenly had a worry which shows I am spending wayyyy too much time on mn when I was cooking tea that there might be physical reason for his increased thirst, like diabetes or something. If he seems very thirsty, is weeing more than usual or anything else that seems unusual please take him to the gp to be checked out.

And just remember that no matter how much he cries or gets upset you are not hurting him by doing this, it will be all worth it very soon and you by no means are alone. You aren't the first or last person to deal with milk monsters and it will be ok. smile

Bambi27 Tue 18-Jun-13 18:15:35

You're welcome!! I hope things go well and if you need any advice/want to moan feel free to message me! I'm no expert my lo is a milk hungry monster so I can sympathise! Xx

GTLH Tue 18-Jun-13 17:16:14

Thank you Bambi27, Neomaxi and Capecath and anyone else I may have forgotten that gave constructive advice It is helpful to know that it could just be a phase he is going through and that I am not alone...

I have given it alot of thought and knowing my son who is very adamant about everything, I think the best route will be to wean him off it so he has now had a good dinner and plenty of milk to hopefully fill him up and will give him some more milk after his bath before he goes to bed, then will start diluting and see where that takes me...

With a bit of luck he will be hungry tomorrow morning... Will make pancakes and start back with a proper feeding routine, unfortunately you cant force feed this one, he only eats when he is hungry...

Thanks again, I probably would have thought of doing that myself if I had had some sleep LOL, breast feeding LO2 and dealing with LO1 through the night is stopping the brainwaves...

Another hurdle to clamber over grin

capecath Tue 18-Jun-13 13:48:07

Must be exhausting for you, wow! It may be easier to give in (especially with a baby as well) but I'd also suggest going cold turkey - find a time with partner can be around to allow you extra rest during the day and then no milk during the night, no compromises. Aim for nothing but if he is thirsty he can have water. He could even have some milk before bed. You will be in for a few bad nights but he simply doesn't need it. For now, let him have as much milk as he wants during the day. It could well be a little attention seeking due to new baby...

Bambi27 Tue 18-Jun-13 13:30:23

My thoughts exactly you are not putting whiskey in his bottle/feeding him crack cocaine...I think bit of milk is hardly going to hurt him!ignore the 'outrage' some people like to make themselves feel better!! Xxxx

GTLH Tue 18-Jun-13 13:12:43

The 1.5 ltr of milk a night has only been these past few nights, I know its wrong, hence the reason I am asking for advice...

I live abroad, its hot so he is obviously thirsty but when I give him water instead of milk he will take in a whole cup (uses a cup, never had bottle) of water then spit it absolutely everywhere in protest...

There is no HV, I have no family here and am predominantly on my own and just want whats best for my LO, so please don't judge me sad

Its not that shocking I am sure, its milk, not as if its Vodka...

To all those with good advice, thank you, i will take everything under advisement and hope for the best.

Many thanks smile

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 18-Jun-13 10:15:38

And take comfort in the fact that he won't be waking up for pints of milk forever....xxx

babySophieRose Tue 18-Jun-13 09:52:20

Could you just try to give him a bottle of milk before bed, then when he wakes up offer just half a bottle of milk and then water? That just for a start and then you could progress to more water and less milk? Eventually he will give up milk but still wake up for a drink and drink water. My LO was drinking milk during the night, now is just water ones or twice.

Bambi27 Tue 18-Jun-13 09:12:35

Gtlh try to ignore the judgement, not helpful. You are doing a great job and have done nothing wrong. Obviously the milk/night situation is escalating so...perhaps try the watering down first, at least that way he'll be getting half the amount of milk, if he continue to demand numerous drinks I would perhaps limit him to a certain amount (as someone had recommended) even if he doesn't understand you will. Have the two cups ready to go and if asks for anymore just say no...easier said than done i realise!! Hopefully won't get to that as the cutting down to half half will give him time to grow out of it?? My lo only did it for about 2 weeks then back to sleeping through normally x

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 18-Jun-13 08:05:49

GTLH I understand...my older DD was the same. She was a total BEAST for milk and would hardly eat any real food in the day...it was so hard as she was SO determined and would yell and whine for literally HOURS if refused. When you're tired out it feels easier to say ok!

The watering down and reducing worked for us....we kept making it less and less till the thing was only a drip in the bottom.

GTLH Tue 18-Jun-13 07:37:48

I should add that the 1.5ltr amount has only been this week, it hasn't been that much previously and before that he only had water which I don't mind how much he drinks...

I change his nappy once in the middle of the night... ;)

GTLH Tue 18-Jun-13 07:36:37

Thanks all, its been like this for a couple of weeks, he doesn't have a bottle its a sippy cup...

I will take all under advisement and see what happens...

I knew about the teeth and I know its not right which is why I came on this site looking for suggestions, I have them and for that I thank you.

I am on my own with this so please don't judge, just trying to do whats best for my LO.

notanyanymore Mon 17-Jun-13 23:19:00

Sorry I've just reread post and seen the problem is at night! I'd def let him have milk during the day then! When dd says she wants a second milk I tell her she needs to put her head down and show her how she's going to do sleeping, and I'll come back in 10 mins and if she's asleep I'll get her a milk, for some reason this works! I have also told her if she doesn't go to bed properly she will have to have water the next night, she doesn't want to risk that ;)

notanyanymore Mon 17-Jun-13 23:12:57

Mine have been the same, I do half milk and half water but we still get through ridiculous amounts of milk. They grow out of it tho and at least you know he's getting plenty of calcium! I try to ration mine to one at bed, one in the morning and usually 1 or 2 during the day for my younger one (just turned 3, her appetite has gone down a bit recently and she is asking for milk about 6 times a day!). my eldest is now more then happy to have water or a weak squash and she was a milk fiend when she was 2/3. It goes in phases, as long as he's well hydrated and being offered healthy food/snacks I wouldn't worry, I am sure his eating will pick up again, but I would water the milk down to half and half. (I'm not sure why you'd need to cut it out completely? I thought milk is meant to be good for you? Surely milk & water is better then sugary fruit juice?)

I don't see at all how a child if his age can, even if hungry, consume comfortably that amount of milk , it's habit and its comfort sucking so agree the bottle must go too.

I know you have just had a baby but can you or someone else take him out for the morning/afternoon so he forgets about grazing and you feeding baby isn't a focus. A day or two of distraction from the usual grazing may help and the fresh air can work up an appetite fir lunch.

Threewindmills Mon 17-Jun-13 22:52:31

I would definitely try to get him to eat more in the day

Gradually start diluting the milk at night with the aim of ending up with just water

Start using a cup not a bottle at night

Go and see HV they will have suggestions

piprabbit Mon 17-Jun-13 22:52:12

Or treat him to a new grown-up sippy cup (with solid sides so he can't see the level of milk inside) and start reducing the quantities. Could you try a new bedtime distraction technique, maybe a cheapy CD player and some audio stories? So one bottle and then a special story?

piprabbit Mon 17-Jun-13 22:50:02

I think you might have two separate things happening here.

First your DS might just be a daytime grazer. My DS is a grazer, really not very fussed about food and I found he ate best if I made small amounts of food available to him very frequently throughout the day, so that he could pick and nibble as the fancy took him. As his older DSis has always been a 3-square meals a day sort of person, it took me quite a while to stop worrying that DS wasn't eating properly and to just accept his preferred eating pattern (I think being sat in front of a plate of food was a bit overwhelming for him). What I'm trying to say in a roundabout way, is may be your DS prefers little and often during the day and this might continue even once you sort out his night time milk drinking.

Second is the huge amount of milk drinking. I think there might be strategies that work to reduce the volume of milk. Could you agree that he has (for example) 5 bottles and 5 bottles only, maybe even do a little chart where you tick off each bottle together as he drinks it, or count the fingers on your hand. Then gradually reduce the amount of milk in each bottle so that he is getting less, but hopefully he is still focused on getting the 'right' number and less on the volume. My DCs always responded quite well to 'rules' and liked being in charge of making sure mummy stuck to them too.

girliefriend Mon 17-Jun-13 22:40:52

Bambi27 hmm whats your suggestion then?

Bambi27 Mon 17-Jun-13 21:31:32

Just thing the poor person posting this genuinely wanted help not judgement such as 'no amount of screaming would make me do that'...not helpful!

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