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Help me sort out DS's sleep.

(7 Posts)
HerculesMulligan Sun 15-Jan-17 20:07:42

Posting in Chat for traffic.

DS, 2.5, has always been a good sleeper. Until December, he'd have a bottle of milk before bed at 7pm and sleep through til 7am. That routine had worked for more than a year. Then he got an awful cold and barely ate, and would cry for milk when he woke in the night, so we went along with that to keep his calorie intake up (he's pretty slim).

Somehow, we're now in a position where he's drinking a full bottle of milk at 7pm, 8pm, 11pm and on the worst nights, 2.30am. It's like having a newborn again. He's eating well and in good health during the day, albeit still skinny. We've tried full fat milk to fill him, semi-skimmed because he doesn't like it as much as full-fat, Aptamil 3 to see if that would help and so on, but it hasn't made much difference.

We live in a flat and while he's very placid during the day, if he wakes and wants milk overnight, he gets distressed and loses patience quickly if we don't feed him, and I don't want to wake our neighbours at 2.30am if I can help it.

At the same time, he seems to be dropping his nap. Some days he'll sleep for an hour or so, other days not at all, but if he hasn't napped then he's grouchy for the hour or so before bed.

We can't work out how it all fits together. How do we turn this situation around? We want to try potty training again soon and think about moving him from a cot to a bed but I think we need to fix this situation first.

NuffSaidSam Mon 16-Jan-17 03:31:21

Just stop giving him milk. Waking 4 times a night for milk is insane at 2.5! You know he doesn't need it because he has been thriving without for over a year.

Personally, I would get rid of the bottle altogether. I would tell him tomorrow, that he's a big boy now and you will be going out to choose a big boys cup for him to have his milk in. Let him choose a cup. If you think it would help, you can make up some nonsense about what is happening to the bottles (bottle fairy/posting them to a baby etc. etc). Talk to him throughout the day about the new routine, that there is no more bottle and there is no more baby milk at night time. He'll probably still wake and ask for it, but he'll have some memory of being pre-warned and it won't come as quite as much of a shock/disappointment.

Tomorrow evening he has his pre-bed milk in his new cup (lots of praise and excitement about what a big boy he is now). Remind him this is his bedtime milk and that his next milk in his new cup will be at breakfast the next morning. When he wakes at 8pm, you remind him that there is no more baby milk and offer him some water and a cuddle, but absolutely no milk. Same each time he wakes.

All that's happened is you've allowed a habit to form, you just need to break that. It shouldn't take more than a few days.

If you want to keep the bottles then you can do the same, but just without the new cup step. I do find that it's easier to 'hide' the lack of milk behind the excitement of a new cup/being a big boy etc. rather than just stopping the overnight milk for what will seem to him like no reason.

LisaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 16-Jan-17 08:57:34

We are moving this to Sleep at the OP's request.

Meffy Mon 16-Jan-17 10:00:05

Totally agree with Nuff !
No more bottles ... 2.5 is a silly age to be still drinking from a bottle. This is just comfort suckling!

Big boy cup is needed and if wakes in the night use a sports bottle with water.

No more milk overnight as he is a big boy!

He should be in a bed and probably about a year ago.

Stop treating him like a baby and he will stop behaving like one!!!

GreedyDuck Mon 16-Jan-17 12:28:56

He should be in a bed and probably about a year ago.

hmm I know plenty of two year olds still in cots. The only parents I know who moved their children into beds super early are those that had another baby and needed the cot for the younger sibling.

My dd is 2.2 and she certainly won't be moving to a bed for a little while longer, there's of plenty of space in her cot, and no chance of falling out or roaming around in the middle of the night. They're not babies for very long, why the rush?

itsallgonetoshit Mon 16-Jan-17 14:19:01

Try him with water instead of milk after 7pm, and warn/apologise to your neighbours in advance.

Don't worry about the cot. If he still fits in one and isn't climbing out, he's fine.

HerculesMulligan Fri 20-Jan-17 14:08:03

A quick update - we decided to set a cutoff time for milk, started with 2am and then moved it backwards. After the cutoff he gets resettled but without milk. It's now "officially" at 10pm but last night he had milk at 7 and then again at 7.30pm, but then didn't stir until 6.40am, which is brilliant. I don't mind him having extra at bedtime if that gets him and us a decent night's sleep. We're getting there...

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