I think at that age they are just sometimes still hungry and wake for that reason. Dd is 21 months and still wakes up once or twice a week demanding milk in night. But she really does want it at those times and guzzles it.
Very occasionally it'll work if I cuddle her and say 'if you still want it in five mins I'll get it for you' and she then falls back asleep before the five mins is up.
Marking my place . I could have written your post as ds is 16 m and only bottles will do at in the early hours! My HV suggested giving him a snack before bed. We do this but he still wakes despite eating plenty and having lots of water during the day. I'm back at work and exhausted
How exactly do you stop night feeds when your child just Will. Not. Settle. Any. Other. Way? He doesn't actually feed to sleep though. He's been going to bed awake since he was tiny. When he wakes at night he has the milk but then goes back to bed awake and self settles.
He slept through pretty young but is just horrendous now. He gets back to being very close to sleeping through but then he has a nother growth spurt or gets ill or has another tooth come through and all hell breaks loose. Right now we've got at least 2 night wakings and early waking in the morning. He's miserable, DH and I are exhausted.
We've tried all sorts. Picking him up just makes him cross. Patting and shhhing does nothing. Sitting with him makes him cross. He won't co sleep. He won't be rocked. I wanted to try walk in walk out, but that assumes you can actually settle your child before you walk out and I can't! I've tried reducing the milk but he wakes more often. I've tried water but that usually means he wakes about an hour later still hungry. He eats plenty during the day. He naps well. Sleep is no different whether he has no nap or 3 hrs.