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Would you give your two year old milk in the night?

(29 Posts)
cba Sun 29-Jul-07 19:44:53

my dd is 2. Every night for about six months she has woke up and asked for milk. It started when she was teething. But, instead of nipping it in the bud once she had recovered I didnt. Now, she dosent wake every night, usually five out of seven nights. Now I have two boys also 4 and 6 so I am pretty shattered.

I decided to get tough and three nights ago I went in and said there is no milk but I will give you a cuddle. She kept asking to go downstairs and I said "no, but I will lay here and give you a cuddle before you got to sleep". I laid for about 10 mins then put her back to bed and left the room. She screamed for an hour, saying she needed everything from medicine to a banana, then screaming she is tired. Well, if you are tired go to bloody sleep.

Good thing is nothing wakes the boys. Bad thing is, she then woke at five thrity for the day. I took her downstairs for milk, she gulped it down and then made her upstairs to go to bed. The next night she slept through, last night was a repeat of the above.

What should I do, give her the milk after all I am only up 10 mins and she goes straight back to sleep. If I dont give her the milk I lose an hour in the night and also a crack of dawn morning start. Dont think I could put her back to bed that time of the morning shouting as I think it would cause the boys to get up at dawn as well.

Anyone had this?

Advice appreciated.

Idreamofdaleks Sun 29-Jul-07 19:46:58

you are incentivising her to wake up in the night - even cuddles make it worth her while to wake you up.

Unless she is ill or teething then I would not be encouraging this - go through a few nights of pain for long term gain!

scattyspice Sun 29-Jul-07 19:48:37

Both mine have milk at night. I put it in non spill beakers and they just help themselves without disturbing me.

snowleopard Sun 29-Jul-07 19:50:21

I do and have given DS milk in the night when he's woken up, but then he hasn't made a habit of it - in this situation what I would do is offer her a drink of water and say that's all there is. Then just calmly keep putting her back to bed, saying good night etc and repeat over and over. A pain at first but from people I know who've done this it does work in a few days and so saves you sleep in the long run!

hermykne Sun 29-Jul-07 19:51:01

my bil gives his 2 yr old more milk in the night hours than day and i think they are giving themselves a rod to beat with.

why not dilute it, buy a smaller cup, reduce the amount, tell her milkman has to deliver in morning time all gone after supper and hide it!

it wont help when you come to potty training wither.

MrsFish Sun 29-Jul-07 19:52:01

She doesn't NEED the milk, it is a HABIT and you need to break it. It may be tough for a few nights but it will be better in the longrun. My ds is 2 and he stopped having milk in the night at around 4 months. Don't even give her the option of cuddles, just tell her it is time for sleep the first time and walk out. Let her cry for 10 mins (if she does) then just go in and stroke her head then come out. Keep doing this. You will hate doing it to her especially if she is crying, but if it isn't bothering your boys do it. BE TOUGH, if she is getting no other communication from you she will soon get fed up of waking up.

Good Luck

PrettyCandles Sun 29-Jul-07 19:55:55

Giver her a drink of water instead. Or even put a non-spill beaker of water by her bed/cot when you go to sleep, so that it's ready when she wakes you, and you can tell her that it's there for her to help herself in future. Might be best not to put it there when she goes to bed, so that she doesn't start drinking it immediately.

My two have a sports bottle of water in the bedroom for them to help themselves. They rarely do, but they like having it there and they don't wake us for a drink when it's there.

cba Sun 29-Jul-07 20:14:43

You are all right and know I am making a rod for my own back. I am going to get tough. What would you do with the five thirty rise though, would you do the same thing or get up and start the day. Because if she gets up and has milk and goes straight to bed, then in her mind it is the same as night time, if that makes sense.

MrsFish Sun 29-Jul-07 20:19:17

If ds gets up that early, I go into him, tell him it is too early to get up and to go back to bed. If he doesn't want to sleep I tell him he can play quietly with his toys till I go in for him. It took 3 mornings of this before he started sleeping in later. Oh and I have a gate on his door so he can't get out and come into us.

FrannyandZooey Sun 29-Jul-07 20:20:51

Well, I breastfed and co-slept and I gave ds milk more or less whenever he asked for it in the night, which was often

Are you bfing or is it a drink of cow's milk? I am not sure if I would give cow's milk or anything other than water at night time if I was not bfing. However faced with being up for an hour, or giving milk and being up for 10 mins, I would certainly be inclined to give it a try. Does she want milk or does she want you? Can you leave a drink by her bedside when you go up yourself, in a sippy cup?

Walnutshell Sun 29-Jul-07 20:27:57

Agree with F&Z although ds younger than your lo at 21 months and is b'fed. Occasionally wakes up for night feed and regularly wakes up ready for the day between 5 adn 5.30 - YAWN!

Walnutshell Sun 29-Jul-07 20:29:33

Does she go back to sleep after milk at 5.30?

Tommy Sun 29-Jul-07 20:30:13

we did this with DS1.

He woke up, DH went and heated up some milk, DS1 drunk it and had a nice cuddle with Daddy, DS1 went back to sleep an generally slept until about 8am.

The whole thing took about 10 mins.

We thought we were doing the rod for our own back etc but he just grew out of it and sleeps like a log now and never wakes up (he's 5 now)

cba Sun 29-Jul-07 20:35:32

No, she is not bf, but did until she was one. I was quite chuffed with this as she was third child If she wakes at 5.30 she will have milk and go back to sleep. She is in a cot bed with the sides still on and I dont have an intention to move her yet. I dont really want to leave a cup in cot with her as I think she might wake, drink it and then ask for more. Tommy, you see where I am coming from 10 mins as opposed to one hour awake and early morning start. But, on the other hand no pain no gain.

So what is the general consenus of what I should do?

DollyPopsOut Sun 29-Jul-07 20:37:21

CBA, this is exactly what happened to me. I started giving milk when she was teething as it soothed her but it got into a bad habit. I used to bring a bottle up just in case and for about 6 months she had it in the morning as she hadn't woken in the night.

Then her back molars came through and she was very distressed. I gave in and gave the milk and also let her sleep in my bed (no talking, playing etc otherwise back to own bed). She then decided that it was rather nice coming into our bed in the night and started waking up, demanding milk, big bed etc! One night when I had forgotten to bring the mlik up, I just refused - said milk all gone but she could have the cuddle etc. She was deeply unhappy about this but as there was nothing actually the matter apart from her not getting her own way, I left her to it. Back in every 10 mins or so to reinforce the message that I was still there but not giving in, but left her to it. Over the next week or so, she woke again and demanded milk but I held firm . When tiredness got the better of me, I would let her into my bed on the no talking etc premise but no milk. She hasn't asked for milk at night since.

Very occasionally she wakes and now only asks for our bed - never milk. As it's only once in a blue moon I am happy to go with it. The milk habit was quite a longstanding one but can be broken. As for cuddles etc, I think a lot of it is up to how much you can do. I can't leave her to cry for too long even when there isn't a problen, but everyone's threshhold is different.

Good luck - it is possible to break the habit.

BandofMuggles Sun 29-Jul-07 20:39:24

Will she have water. DD1 always hasa cup of water then gets it herself. Spillproof so no mess???

DollyPopsOut Sun 29-Jul-07 20:40:26

Even if the Mummeeeeeeeeee cry starts at 5.30, I tell her it is night and so time for sleep. I can't bear starting the day that early so tough it out til 6/30 at the earliest. Easier in the winter but blackout blinds go a long way to solving the problem

Tommy Sun 29-Jul-07 20:41:29

FWIW, everyone told us that we shouldn't do it but it worked for us and, as I said, didn't last for ever.

You have to do what's right for you and if you're OK with it, then carry on if it makes life easier for you!

funnypeevesculiar Sun 29-Jul-07 20:41:41

DS went through a stage of wanting milk every night when he was about the same age. We decided we wanted it to stop, & decided to try a more gentle approach rather than the 'no milk' route, so did a star chart for each night he didn't have milk- 5 stars = treat. By the end of the week he'd sorted himself out.
If he has a nighmare though, he still cometimes has milk at night (he's 3.5 now)

FrannyandZooey Sun 29-Jul-07 20:55:55

I think you should do what you want to, what feels best for you, and what you think will make her happiest and lead to a more pleasant and less disrupted and tired household in the long term

then tell everyone else to stuff off and mind their own business

cba Sun 29-Jul-07 21:00:17

thanks f&z. I did have a chat with her before bed tonight and said no waking tonight, at night we sleep. She said "me want to go downstairs for milk" So she knows exactly what she is doing. i then said no you sleep all night like your big brothers. She does not have a problem going to sleep, I put her in cot give kiss and cuddle and leave the room. Will see what tonight brings.

DollyPopsOut Mon 30-Jul-07 14:51:24

How was it, CBA?

christywhisty Mon 30-Jul-07 15:14:32

Mine have never had milk in the night since 3 months and they slept through. They have always had a non spill cup of water by the side of their bed.
I did think milk at night time was actually bad for the teeth, which is the excuse I gave DS when he asked if he could have milk in the cup instead of water.

HonoriaGlossop Mon 30-Jul-07 15:44:29

I agree that you need to just do what's feeling easiest. If you want to tough it out, then don't feel bad about it. Give her a sippy cup full of water so she can have a drink if she's genuinely thirsty; but don't feel remotely bad if you want to not take her down for milk if you feel it's habit and it's not what you want to do any more.

Equally, if it's just easier to get up and give her the milk, just do it and don't feel bad; she will grow out of it, anyway, eventually.

Rodeo Mon 30-Jul-07 15:55:20

My ds had milk every night, up to age 4, apparently my dad was the same says my gran I couldn't do with the screaming the lack of sleep and he eventually grew out of it. DD 21 months wakes occasionally but she's fine with water, will start putting a sippy cup in her cot I think, good tip. I often wake in the night for water too, maybe I'll get one for me!
FWIW I tell her it's too early if she wakes around 5 and give her milk in her cot and she seems to understand and goes back to sleep.

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