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Toddler drinks water all night and is unsettled without it. How on earth do I wean him off???!

(17 Posts)
Nickname1980 Thu 07-Jan-16 15:38:50

I was pleased when I managed to wean my little one of being an all-night-milk drinker. (He's almost two.) He used to wake up and ask for milk several times a night. But I've replaced it with water. So that's no better! He associates the bottle and the drinking with sleep.

He goes to sleep with a bottle of water at about 7:30. His nappy is so wet that I have to change it before I go to bed at 10:30 and refill his water. He then wakes up at some point in the night - four or five - asking for more water. Then again at six.

He doesn't drink much in the day because of it, I'm not worried about diabetes. I know he's doing this because the sucking is his sleep association.

Apart from the fact that potty training would be so hard if this carries on, I am BROKEN by the exhausting nights. I actually just feel a bit ill because I'm so tired.

What do I do?!?! How do I crack this habit? I am struggling in the day as, for nearly two years, haven't slept a full night's sleep.

Anyone else had this?

Nickname1980 Thu 07-Jan-16 21:03:02


Crumblevision Thu 07-Jan-16 21:07:51

I may get flamed for this but would you swap the water for a dummy?

SueGeneris Thu 07-Jan-16 21:10:02

Hmm. No, haven't had that but have had three who bf back to sleep. To break that I had to just stop. I sat with them and cuddled, reassured etc (first two were about 14 months, I'm still bfing 12 mo dc3) and they cried and wailed and eventually we got there.

I think you'll probably have to do something like that unless you wean to a dummy? Personally I'd try and get him to give it up. They do protest as it's all they've ever known but the converse is that it doesn't take too long for them to form a new habit.

SueGeneris Thu 07-Jan-16 21:11:49

If you wean to a dummy you'll have to break that habit eventually too so it might be easier to cut the suck to sleep association now if you can?

Easier said than done I know!

Glitterkitten24 Thu 07-Jan-16 21:14:40

Can you change his bedtime routine a bit so he gets some water in a cup before bed, but doesn't take it to bed with him?

If he wakes looking for a drink, give him a drink from the cup and back to sleep.

It would likely mean a hellish couple of nights while he adjusts but he might adapt quickly to the change.

I don't know how old he is, but when my son was around two he became facinated by being a 'big boy' so would be quite take by the move from bottle to cup. Appriciate it's horses for courses though and that might not apply to your ds.

cheeseandcrackers Thu 07-Jan-16 21:18:35

We had this. I put a no spill cup within his reach so he could help himself. I wouldn't refill it in the night though so reminded him to not drink too much or it would be gone. Toilet training was no problem, he always managed to hold on until morning.

Jw35 Thu 07-Jan-16 21:28:21

That's an interesting one! When did you start leaving the bottle in his bed? I feed my one year old to sleep (milk) but always take the bottle away and she doesn't wake.

change teat to a slower one so its more effort? Maybe he'll stop bothering!
Try a cup with a hard spout so he doesn't suckle but still has a drink?
Put half the amount of water in then when he wakes up take longer and longer to get up and refill (like gradual withdrawal)
Go cold turkey and throw bottles in the bin, lots of comfort, a hard few nights then it's over
Try a dummy-swapping a bad habit for another but saving the soaked nappies and helping with potty training

FATEdestiny Thu 07-Jan-16 22:36:45

Go cold turkey and refuse all drinks at night.

A child who is well hydrated has no reason to be thirsty at night. Thirst at night means the child is dehydrated through the day.

Just tell him no more drinks at all at night. He'll scream, but you just have to not give in. Ensure he drinks lots in the daytime. I am do not have the usual Middle-class nose-scrunch attitude to squash so what I would do is introduce daytime squash and lots of it to encourage daytime drinking. Then refuse all requests for drinks at night.

Boredofthinkingofnewnames Fri 08-Jan-16 09:32:25

I think you need to brace yourself for a hellish few nights and go cold turkey, won't be fun but for the greater good and all that. Good luck.

EwanHoozami Fri 08-Jan-16 09:35:22

is there a little toy that he'd like the Bottle Fairy to bring if he leaves his bottle out for her to take away one night?

QuiteLikely5 Fri 08-Jan-16 09:40:24

Cold turkey or a non spill cup. Tbh I would tell him throughout the day, no water tonight, not in your cot - then when he wakes for it, repeat!

Good luck

MrsJayy Fri 08-Jan-16 09:44:36

Take his bottle away get him a sippy cup or sports bottle andsay no more tonight you are going to have to be a bit firmer if you want this to stop

dandelion77 Sun 17-Jan-16 08:51:29

OP, just wondering if you had given any of these suggestions a try? I have the same problem with my 2 yr old, she is still drinking milk from a bottle and at night time she asks for water in her bottle and can't seem to settle without it. Obv her nappy gets heavy and she leaks everywhere. She sometimes asks for water 5 or 6 times before she goes to sleep at the beginning and also in the middle of the night. I think that just getting rid of the bottle is the way forward but wondered if you had tried it?! If I refuse she gets very upset.

fondationmaeght Tue 19-Jan-16 21:46:25

How have you got on? I had a 2 year old who drank milk or water whilst falling asleep and then waking up for it.
Now I got her off it, I was so anxious. But she now sleeps through and self settles. She actually is less tired and eats more breakfast.
It took 3 easy nights of controlled crying type settling. I had to do it as she was overtired and full of milk and water.

Nickname1980 Wed 20-Jan-16 11:58:25

I love these suggestions! A slow teat or a cup.

I must admit, I've been too chicken to do it so far. He's had a cold, so I've told myself that I'll wait until he's better...

Have you tried anything yet dandelion? It sounds like cold turkey might be the way to go! Eek. I can't bear it. But the leaking nappies and the sleepless nights can't go on...

fondationmaeght Wed 20-Jan-16 17:44:29

I spent the week telling her that she won't be able to have a bottle in the night. We went out and bought a special cup for bedtime. And said she can have milk in it whilst reading story time. I then binned the bottles.
I did the bedtime routine and then put her to bed and told her she needs to sleep without sucking on the bottle. Then left the room for a minute then went back lay her down and said I need her to sleep. Then went out for 2 mins then went in and didn't say anything just lay her down. Then went back out for 3 mins. I did this for a total of 25 mins. Then I started from
The beginning and told her she needed to sleep. Then went out for one minute. Etc....
The second night she self settled and slept through. Best thing I did.
I wouldn't get a smaller teat as she'll still want to suck and would be addicted to sucking harder.

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