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16 month old waking in night hungry....what to do?!

(7 Posts)
bumpitybumpbump Tue 26-Aug-14 10:32:49

My dd has never been a great sleeper, but over the last month she has started consistently waking between 3am and 5am and drinks a full bottle of milk before going back to sleep. She goes through periods where she's a great eater (which I assume are growth spurts) but the rest of the time it's a game of persuasion and diversion to get her to eat a "full meal". She's just not that interested in food. She has a bottle of milk (formula) first thing (6.30 - 7am), breakfast at 8am (toast and cereal usually), lunch at 12pm, snack at 3pm (fruit or a packet of raisins/yoghurt), supper at 5.15pm and then bottle before bed around 6.30pm. However, she is no longer interested in this bed time bottle and I'm lucky if I can get 3 oz down her. She's one of those toddlers who is constantly on the go go go - manic all day long, so you'd think she'd tire herself out. She sleeps between 1.5 - 2 hrs in the day from 12.30 usually.

What am I doing wrong? I have started giving her an Ella's breakfast pouch in the evenings as she seems happier to eat this than have her milk. Should I drop the bed time milk and just move her supper until later? I am considering changing her to four "meals" a day to try and increase overall food intake. She is slim but not at all skinny so she's getting enough food, but just not enough to sleep through, aarrrghhh!!

Any suggestions would be very appreciated!

ClaimedByMe Tue 26-Aug-14 10:41:06

There's not much time between her tea and her bottle, would you manage to have your supper an hour after eating your tea? I would push back bed time and would she maybe have weetabix before bed? She may also be close to dropping the day time nap!

ClaimedByMe Tue 26-Aug-14 10:42:16

I would cut out the snacks too to see if she would eat a full meal better.

CustardFromATin Tue 26-Aug-14 10:46:25

It sounds like a bit of a habit to me --!: of my 3 would wake any time there was food on offer! smile Around this age (usually 18 months) I night weaned my DC, we don't like leaving to cry even as toddlers, but there were a few nights where we cuddled them through some short-lived tantrums/tears at usual feeding times but very quickly started sleeping better and taking in more during the day. Also it sounds like she's getting plenty of calcium with another bottle plus cereal, yoghurt etc - there's no sacred rule that toddlers have to have pints of the white stuff!

One thing I did see is that there's a lot of sweet or carb based meals and of course she needs that, but maybe she might be more full with some more protein or savoury meals, and maybe some small changes swapping out raisins (loads of sugar and not great for little teeth as a regular treat) with something more substantial. Hard boiled egg, chickpea fritter, almond butter on oat cakes, squares of cheese and apple all work well here.

Having said all this, at that age they are changing so fast that we found almost everything turned out to be a phase and so long as they were happy and healthy, could safely be ignored unless it's really driving you crazy smile

bumpitybumpbump Tue 26-Aug-14 11:07:55

Thanks everyone. Custard - she has predominantly protein/complex carbs for lunch and supper, but it's tough to get enough protein down her - she won't eat eggs (never has) and will eat meat but not in large quantities. She does like oatcakes, nut butter and cheese though so I could try to increase those. I've been nervous about dropping the milk as everything I read says they need two bottles, but that's a lot of milk to get down a child who's not that keen on it (unless of course it's the middle of the night!). I have tried ignoring and just giving water and cuddles, but even when she's cuddled up in bed with me, she won't settle until she's fed and then guzzles so I do think it's genuine hunger. It has always seemed to me that supper around 5pm seems very early - I'd be starving in the night if I ate then - but it seems to be the norm - does anyone else delay it until more like 6.30? I'm thinking of giving it a go combined with a more substantial snack at 3pm?

bumpitybumpbump Tue 26-Aug-14 11:09:09

Claimed - I think you're right about the daytime sleep - I'm going to trial max 1.5 hrs this week and see if it makes a difference. So many bl**dy variables to try!!!

MaxsMummy2012 Tue 26-Aug-14 11:20:48

We have dinner at 6ish then we give our ds (21 months) ready brek before bed at about 7:15/7:30 this way he gets milk, it fills him up and he's not hungry in the night - you could try something similar, oatabix is also a good filler. Oh and FWIW he has a 2 hour nap too so not sure if her daytime nap is affecting her nighttime sleep, I've always found the better they sleep in the day the more they sleep at night.

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