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Don't all attack me all at once but....

(22 Posts)
Bekki Fri 18-Jul-03 23:11:52

my 3 year old son still goes to bed with a bottle, a bottle of juice nonetheless. Its a habit that i can't help him to break. I have tried numerous times since I noticed the attachment he had towards the bottle when he was a baby but all have failed. Now hes a child and its important to him, its not just a habit. My numerous attempts and failings of discarding the bottle have made him more resolute than ever. He is big for his age and hes proud of being a 'big boy' and hes been out of nappies for 18 months so its not as if its an overall attachment to babyhood. He also knows that other children don't have bottles but hes adamant that he will always have one. If I throw away his bottles now I know that I would be causing him a great deal of stress and maybe long term upset and distrust for me. He is a great sleeper and he usually just has the one bottle to fall asleep with, although he also has one in the morning to help him settle and when hes v.tired or upset/poorly. My second baby is due in 7 weeks, which is also the same time that he will be starting playgroup full time so I really don't want to make another attempt around that time. The whole thought of taking the bottle off him makes me feel awful and I don't know if I could be that callous but I know somehow its got to be done. Can anyone offer any real, sensitive advice on dealing with this without scarring him and should I do it now or wait until ds2 is settled into our family?

WideWebWitch Fri 18-Jul-03 23:15:21

Bekki, give yourself a break and leave it a while. It's at home, only at bedtime (I know re teeth but a couple more months won't make much difference I wouldn't have thought) and other ill/upset times so leave it a bit and he might give it up voluntarily. Or what about trying to drop the morning one if you really want to and leave the bed one til later? If you're getting some sleep you'd probably like it to stay that way once no 2 arrives?

princesspeahead Fri 18-Jul-03 23:18:25

It's really, really bad for his teeth, Bekki, to send him to bed with a bottle. Particularly juice. You'll have to get rid of it sooner rather than later I think (any mumsnet dentists out there? back me up!) I also think it is going to be easier to do it now than when the baby is settled into the family (and will probably have bottles of its own of EBM or formula or whatever).

I think the best way of dealing with it is to approach it honestly - he is three so he will understand what you are saying even if he doesn't like it much. Tell him that he is going to have to give up his bottles, that he knows he is a big boy now and they really are only for babies, that bottles are bad for his teeth. Then let him help you throw them all away so he knows they are gone. He'll probably be a bit cross for a day or two but I bet he will forget about them and move on very quickly, honestly.

Good luck!

3GirlsMum Fri 18-Jul-03 23:19:13

Bekki is it possible for you to substitute the juice for some thing healthier such as milk or water? I can understand that he is attached and why you dont want to upset him but juice, no matter how weak, especially from a bottle, will be really bad for his teeth.

If you are going to do it I would do it now rather than after as if you do it after he may think its in some way connected to new baby arriving. How about taking him to the shop and getting him to choose a special cup for at nighttimes only?

floops Fri 18-Jul-03 23:38:44

Dear Bekki,
my son was very reluctant to give up his bottle. He had milk in his at bedtime. The only way we managed to convert to a cup was slowly and gradually. We began by using the lid of the avent bottle and putting milk in it. He felt like a big boy and it was still part of the bottle. He then had milk in the avent bottle without the teat or lid - just drank it as if a cup. He obviously had to have his bedtime milk before actually going to bed but it worked in the space of a week. He was drinking from a cup and has not looked back. My son is very sensitive as well so we knew we had to be careful re: his feelings / security etc. He was 2.5 yrs at the time.

SueW Fri 18-Jul-03 23:47:25

my dd still goes to bed with a bottle too at 6y7mo. but it is a sports bottle of water. And she doesn't suck it but keeps it next to the bed - much better than a cup of water as nothing can land in it, cats can't drink it, doesn't mae such a mess if knocked over. ok, I confess, I have one too

I agree that it's v bad for his teeth. Having watched DD have one v nasty filling by a dentist who didn't use anaesthetic even thought he first said he thought he should, such treatment not to be recommended.

Can you let him choose a new drinking bottle? There are loads available.

Holly02 Fri 18-Jul-03 23:49:34

Bekki I believe that milk is also bad for their teeth when going to bed with a bottle. I think the only 'safe' thing is probably water.

I wouldn't beat yourself up about causing him long term upset and distrust for you... if you explain to him that it's time to give up his bottle and then reward him when he begins to comply. Could you let him know that he can still have a drink before he goes to bed (would a special cup help?). I don't think you are going to damage him in any way by approaching it calmly but firmly, and then rewarding him for any progress he makes. After all you are trying to help him, not hurt him. Good luck...

Bekki Sat 19-Jul-03 00:00:26

It all seems very sensible advice but its a bit more than taking it off him, I know it would be more than a few days of upset, as his bottle is his way of calming himself and he really does beleive that its something that he will always have, the damage has been done with the bottle dependance. He is very full on and active and never takes a minute to relax or to seek reasurrance from me in new situations, he just barges his way through life and snuggles with his bottle at the end of the day. I would really be concerned as to how he would replace that comforter, I don't think that he could go to sleep without his bottle either. Its all gone on for much too long, and I've become just as dependant on his bottles as he has, anything for an easy life. As for the juice thing I know, I know, I know. Tomorrow I will ban all juice drinks in his bottle and it'll work (with a bit of protest from ds) until dh gets home. For my dh 'anything for a quite life' really is his life motto. Dh will always challenge me on this subject and say that he had a bottle 'till he was 4 and I had a bottle 'till I was 4 and it did us no harm. He won't budge on the subject. But thanks for this advice so far its important to have other people acknowledge your concerns without being too harsh. Tomorrow there will be no juice in his bottle, it will be water, maybe that will put him off for good. I'll let you all know how day one goes. Fingers crossed, ear plugs in.

Ghosty Sat 19-Jul-03 00:00:49

My DS had a bottle of milk at bedtime until he was 3 and 3 months. But never in his bed ... just before he went to bed as I have always thought it was not right to give them bottles in bed due to bad sleep associations.
It wasn't until I took him for his first dental check up that the dentist hammered home to me how bad bottles are for their teeth ... especially if you don't brush their teeth afterwards. She showed me pictures of decayed milk teeth and I decided then and there to do something about it.
Bekki ... why don't you do it gradually like we did? You could tell DS that he can still have his bottle but he must have it before bed and that he must brush his teeth after. Do that for a few days and do a sticker chart or star chart if he complies.
Then tell him he can have his bottle but it must have water in it ... again do a sticker chart.
Then move onto a cup (anyway up lid or something)
Then move onto a cup without a lid ... always remembering to brush teeth after.
We are at the final stage and we are stopping bedtime milk altogether ... DS is having his milk with his evening meal in a lidless cup (this is also to help him be drier at night!)
It is hard but you are helping him in the long run if you begin to wean him off this as soon as you can ...
Good luck ...
(and I am not attacking you ... just trying to help!! )

sb34 Sat 19-Jul-03 00:52:43

Message withdrawn

Janeway Sat 19-Jul-03 01:20:34

are you intending to bottle feed ds2? maybe ds1 will want to distance himself from anything the baby has... just a thought...

StripyMouse Sat 19-Jul-03 08:59:02

Bekki - I won’t bore you with my own experiences of habitual night time drinking but I can say that I really do understand how difficult breaking this type of habit can be. I felt guilty that I was allowing an unhealthy habit to continue without actively taking charge and stopping it "there and then" and yet I also felt guilty when I attempted any tactic as it would dissolve my child into such terrible tears and genuine upset that it never seemed the right time... all amounts to loads of guilt and stress whatever you do - leave it or deal with it. I guess the only way you will feel good about it is once you have cracked it and peace and order are restored!

Just a couple of thoughts about possible strategies, here are two approaches to try - plan A (for me) would be where you involve him totally in the process as he is a big boy now. Sit down and have a chat about what a big boy he is, how important his teeth are and that now he has lots of them, now is the time to really look after them and have water at bedtime. Choose a date in the next week on the calendar - let him choose to put as much control his way. Before the event, take him to a shop to choose a special night time beaker (Asda is great for glitter cup/themed ones) and let him choose one - my DD loved picking out a Pooh Bear one and a Glittery Angelina one) put it on the side out of reach but where he can see it and tell him that he can’t use it yet until the "big day". Make that day special by letting him choose a special dinner/video after tea etc. and talk daily about the "event" leading up to it as if it were exciting and almost like a rite of passage or a party. Sounds ridiculous but can work if it helps to drive the message home, prepare him fully for it happening and help him understand that it is a good thing, he is a big boy and that it is inevitable. Even a little bribe such as a small present wrapped up and on his table for the morning afterwards if he doesn’t make any complaints and is a good boy can all work...we planned a trip for the swings the next day if she managed the whole night without tears etc.
Another approach is the stealth approach - tackling the juice part first. Slowly weaken the strength of the juice during the day as well and aim to have it 50% of you r original strength by end of first week and then over the next two weeks for it to become virtually water. Once he is used to drinking water then deal with the bottle issue. Try putting only a small amount of water in the bottle and when it runs out give him a cup instead, letting him still hold the bottle but drink from a cup. Do this a few times and he will slowly see the cup as being the good thing and his bottle as not quite so important. Once he stops complaining about drinking from a cup at night , let him hold an empty bottle and give the cup from the start, within a few weeks the bottle "should" be just something that is uncomfortable to lie on and will end up being flung out by him! (In theory)...
HTH - good luck.

Davros Sat 19-Jul-03 10:41:22

Agree with lots of other advice here. DOn't just take them off him, try to substitute with something "cool". Also try very gradually diluting the juice until its all (or nearly all) water. Best of luck though and also agree, don't force yourself to do it right now if its the worst time but plan ahead towards a target time to have achieved one step in your plan.....

lilibet Sat 19-Jul-03 12:31:02

My dd had a bottle of juice til she was three and she left teh bottles for the fairies one day after a big discussion and the fairies left her a present in return. The first night was fine and then we had the daddy of all tantrums. I couldn't break and tell her the fairies had brought them back so we lived with it and it got less every night lasting less than a week, but the first nights were awful. I do think that the drinking cup is an excellent idea as well.

aloha Sat 19-Jul-03 13:34:37

Bekki, I honestly don't understand why the bottle is a problem and why your son has to give it up. If it's about his teeth I strongly agree that subsituting water is essential last thing (or by diluting the juice over a few days until he's only got water) but the bottle itself won't hurt surely? Last year on holiday in France the youngest child of the family whose farm we were staying on still had a bottle from time to time and she was four. She was a very happy, intelligent, confident, independent child but still liked the odd bottle. I really don't see why your ds shouldn't have one at night if he wants. He won't have it forever - I certainly don't know any adults who drink from them (though it could be argued that those sports bottles are just bottles for adults ) I would go with what he wants, but agree with those who say get rid of the juice for the sake of his teeth.

Bekki Sat 19-Jul-03 21:10:48

Well, first day was a disaster. I planned not to give him a bottle in the morning, but after some protest I gave him a bottle of milk. He quickly drank it and emerged in the living room a minute later with a bottle of pure orange juice. He hadn't bothered asking for it and had just decided to pour it himself. i tried to talk to him about the bottles but all I got back was "yeah bottles are dirty" and a surprise one where I was ready to bang my head on the door "if I drink out of bottles I will be big and strong like you". After that though I refused any bottle requests until bedtime, where surprise, surprise my dh handed him a bottle of juice. My dh feigned deafness and I could have murdered him, damage done though i couldn't take it off him. Tomorrows another day though and the advice has been brilliant. Step one is definatley the juice. StripyMouse, thankyou I am going to force my dh to read your post, we will be watering the juice down gradually. Your advice sounds like the one most likely to work in our case and I will follow it through in the next week. Liliput, that could work as well. My ds has alot of distrust towards fairies because they tidy up his toys that he wants left out and they eat the last 2 biscuits when hes sleeping, so stealing his bottles wouldn't be too much of a stretch of his imagination. I am planning to breatfeed ds2 but I'm prepared to fail as I did with ds, the bottles have been brought and immediatley the anxiety set in with ds..."can you put my name on my bottles mummy so the baby won't get them?". Its going to be an interesting couple of months.

codswallop Sat 19-Jul-03 21:12:02

bribe him

codswallop Sat 19-Jul-03 21:12:51

cant you just not but any squash and say sorry I forgot to get some...

codswallop Sat 19-Jul-03 21:13:55

sorry - doesnt all this drinking affect his appetite?

anais Sat 19-Jul-03 21:18:17

I think my approach would be to substitute his juice for water. Once he's used to that I would say that's the important job over. If he's ready you could do as 3girls mum said and let him choose a new cup or sports bottle.

Good luck!

Beccaroll Sun 20-Jul-03 11:10:46

Im in a very similar sittuation Bekki.

My little girl is 3 (will be 4 in October) and Im expecting number 2 in five weeks time!!

Megan stil has her bottle for bed (and her noo noo blanket) like you I just feel the most tremendous guilt when I think of taking it away as the attachment is sooo deep - I feel responsible for not dealing with it when she was a baby and because I have let her grow up depending on bottle more and more I feel awful taking it away. There is also the aspect of doing anything for an easy life!
I spoke to my HV last week and she told me to forget all about it until after baby arrives - she is also moving nurseries soon so lots of upheaval up ahead.

To make matters worse Im seperated from Megans Dad and she goes to see his side of the family twice a week and they are the softest people in the world with her!! No discipline whatsoever so I always feel its not worth doing the hard work at home for it to be all undone when she stays at her Dads/Grandmas.

SIGH this subject makes me feel so guilty and inadequate but just wanted you to know Im there with you!!


Bekki Sun 20-Jul-03 15:29:00

Goodluck Beccaroll, about baby2 and the bottle situation. Its alot to deal with right now I agree, but if my second is anything like my first baby I won't have a second to concentrate on anything else but baby for 6 months, so that was my motivation. Its so annoying when all your hard work is thrown away by someone who just can't be bothered. i would have a serious chat with her dad about that, not that it would help at all since it just tends to go in one ear and out the other. I asked my dh how he would feel if I went to his workplace and sabotaged a whole weeks worth of work for no reason. He seemed to be listening but you never can know with men, if its deep, contemplative thought they're in or they've just deliberatley blanked out.

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