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2yr old drinking 40oz of milk and still not sleeping

(166 Posts)
Rainbowsockstoday Tue 07-Mar-17 08:37:55

No having a go anyone because I'm well aware I have made this problem myself and don't need to feel any worse whilst sleep deprived!

My 2yo lb is a sleep thief. We might have one night in a month where he sleeps 9-4.30 if we are lucky and the rest of the time he's up for hours. We have a good solid routine that gets him down to sleep fine and works 90% of the time without a problem:

Quiet play
Pyjamas on
Sleep by 7.30-8

But then he wakes up at 12/1am and is up for 3 or 4 hours crying for more milk and needing everyone up to see them. He's having maybe 40oz a night milk sometimes and still screaming for more. We've tried stopping it and telling him there's none left or it's all gone (he must think I'm awful at shopping to keep running out) but he just screams more till he's sick and breathless. I guess for an easy life I've let it get this bad by giving in. I just don't know what to do to get some sleep!

DH and I both work and his job involves a lot of distance driving and safety stuff so he really needs his sleep. I'm a teacher so work much shorter hours. It's usually fine as I'm always the one he wants and will only accept me coming to him. This last couple of nights though he's wanted daddy and that's made it worse for us both because it causes tension and arguments and I fee rotten dh is getting sleepless nights too.

He still has an hour nap in the day 11-12 and my MIL suggested this morning that maybe it's a sign he doesn't need that day sleep anymore and we should cut it out or at least down. The problem is though if we don't give him that sleep he's nodding off at 3/4pm and any amount he gets then means he's not ready to go to bed at night till 11/12pm and I'm not sure that's a suitable bedtime for a toddler. I do my level best to take him out afternoons to the park, softplay, swimming, gym class, anything to tire him out in the hope that he sleeps better but it's not working.

We need a solution or some advice. We are not willing to CIO/CC because mainly I think it's cruel and heartbreaking but also my DS is 2 and so will come out of his bedroom and bring the screaming to us if we don't go to him! I'm tempted to take all the bottles away and say no milk at all!

Again though please don't make me fee any worse.

Seeline Tue 07-Mar-17 08:42:35

40oz in a night - that's 2 pints!!!

Yes - take milk away, offer water and nothing else.

Return him to bed when he gets out - don't engage apart from telling him its nigh time, he needs to be in bed.

Don't get everyone up for him to see - that's madness! Again, don't engage Tell him to be quiet, it's bed time.

Rainbowsockstoday Tue 07-Mar-17 08:46:22

I don't get everyone else up he screams so long that everyone is awake (small house). I don't engage in conversation with him I simply keep lying him back down and shushing him but he screams for milk and if we don't oblige he gets to the point where he's shaking and sick.

I've tried offering water instead if he's thirsty and it gets spat everywhere and thrown so I end up needing to change him and the bed which is another disruption. We have tried to stop him but his screaming and being sick doesn't help and last night he woke up at 12.10 and hasn't been to sleep again yet.

Wait4nothing Tue 07-Mar-17 08:47:31

Not in this state yet but have you considered taking away the bottles and offering from a cup - is it the sucking? Does he use a dummy?

Comealongpond89 Tue 07-Mar-17 08:49:12

I agree with seeline. Just offer water and keep returning him to bed. He will hate it at first and make you feel horrible for doing so but persistence is key. If you want to get out of this routine you need to be firm. Good luck

Seeline Tue 07-Mar-17 08:49:16

I think you just need to persevere.
Give him water in a cup with a spout which should stop it going too far.
Accept that you will have several really bad nights to break the cycle.

Rainbowsockstoday Tue 07-Mar-17 09:00:05

So do people recommend the bedtime bottle goes too? Not sure how to make him understand or be quiet because my DH can't have another broken nights sleep.

Seeline Tue 07-Mar-17 09:02:27

No keep the bedtime bottle as part of the routine.

Not sure what to suggest re-DH. Leave it a couple of nights before you try the new system ( although it sounds as though you get broken nights any way); can he stay the night somewhere else? Take a couple of days off so it doesn't matter so much?

Paulawoods Tue 07-Mar-17 09:02:49

At 2, remove the bottle and fill up before bed on finger food if needed, should sleep all the way through then without waking for a bottle, and just give water if needed, as suggested above.

VeryPunny Tue 07-Mar-17 09:02:51

Cut down on the nap to 30mins or so. ALso I fail to see how a week of CIO is worse than months of him (and you) not getting enough sleep and howling his head off until he's sick. Yes, it's going to be a shitty week, but no one said parenting is easy, and good sleep is so, so important for overall health.

How old a 2 is he? Just two or nearly three? Nearly three and you might be able to go down the sticker chart/reward for being in bed all night etc, explain that there is no more milk until morning after bedtime bottle, then grin and bear it. Might be worth holding on until half term or something if you're a teacher so you have a bit more slack the next day.

LifeAsWeKnowIt Tue 07-Mar-17 09:03:31

I have no advice for you about sleeping but I am in the same boat regarding the milk.
DS used to drink more or less the same as yours.
We have a 1L jug with mainly water but a drop of milk to make it go white. It's frustrating because he is soaking wet in the morning from drinking so much. He refuses to use anything other than nuk teats. I've tried so many different things but he just won't give up the bottle!
But I do recommend watering down his milk, by half at first then gradually make it less.

tinymeteor Tue 07-Mar-17 09:03:45

A no-spill cup will help you offer water without it getting chucked everywhere. This one's good:,-296ml/p/514923?gclid=CPCp07qExNICFQ4UGwodrfoFbQ&gclsrc=aw.ds

Good luck, changing routines is hard but it sounds like it's time.

mouldycheesefan Tue 07-Mar-17 09:08:24

Way too much milk!
Doe he eat much in the day? Sounds like he fills up on milk at night and then may not eat much in day so hungry at bedtime so wakes up and drinks a tonne of milk.
cut the milk drinking during the night all together this is bonkers! Water only at night. Make sure eating enough during the day.

FATEdestiny Tue 07-Mar-17 09:16:21

Assuming a healthy diet and adequate hydration during the daytime - your toddler does not need anything at night. That includes water. You may end up swapping one crutch for another. I'd stop all requests for anything at night.

It is not needed.

I woupd also drop the bottle.

No milk after brushing teeth.

Rainbowsockstoday Tue 07-Mar-17 09:19:50

@verypunny he's 26mths so only just 2. When he gets up he comes to find me so if we did cio I would literally have him screaming in my ear and I'm not sure that how it's meant to go. I've tried ignoring him and he wanders round the house singing for a bit before searching for his own milk.

@tinymeteor he has that cup already but he tastes the water and spits it right out and then hits it against me, the wall, the bed and himself till there's dents everywhere! He knows for a fact if he takes some water and dribbles it down his front I have to change him so I then take it away and he wants it back.

@mouldycheesefan he sometimes eats in the day but then that gives him loads more energy and he's in bed much later and, whilst sleeps better, he does 11-3/4 and that's him up and about for the day.

I'm literally going crazy. I'll try watering his milk down and then cutting it out but not sure how much I can do that as I was told not to by the hv a year ago when I suggested it.

MsMarvel Tue 07-Mar-17 09:23:16

Stop giving him the milk. He is displaying atrocious behaviour and is getting what he wants. Of course he's not going to stop.

Be the adult.

FATEdestiny Tue 07-Mar-17 09:23:30

he sometimes eats in the day

Does that infer that sometimes he doesn't eat at all in the day?

sleepingdragon Tue 07-Mar-17 09:25:34

My DS is/was the same. For months just after his 2nd birthday he would be up for hours if he had a nap in the day, too tired by late afternoon if he didn't. We ended up with a rolling kind of routine- no daytine naps, but about every 3rd day he would go to bed around 4pm and sleep till morning. Gradually the early bedtimes got less frequent until they basically stopped. Not very conventional but it worked for us!

With the milk, i started diluting his overnight bottles with water but not limiting what he was allowed to drink. I did it gradually each night so he didnt really notice, and at half and half milk and water he wakes, takes a few sips and goes back to sleep. He woke much less often from night 1 or 2 on half and half too. Admittedly we are still using bottles overnight, ive tried all sorts of cups and all result in screaming upset. But they are usually around 3/4 full in the morning so i accept them for now. Before diluting the milk DS woke every couple of hours and drank over a pint overnight. He does still have as much milk as he wants before bed, this can be up to a pint if he hasnt eaten much/ isnt very sleepy.

Mishmishmish Tue 07-Mar-17 09:27:57

Re him getting out of his room and coming to find you, can you put a stair gate across his door or put a little bolt-catch at the top and lock him in? It's dangerous to have him wandering around at night. Not sure what to suggest but good luck! I guess your options are go cold turkey and offer no drink at all as some suggest - or start watering down the milk so he finally ends up with water. I have heard some parents say that once they realise only water is on offer they stop bothering to wake up during the night.

VeryPunny Tue 07-Mar-17 09:28:18

Can you put a stair gate on his door? Given he messes about with a cup of water, I wouldn't even offer that - there's no way I'd tolerate that hitting behaviour no matter when it happens. I take it you've checked all the usual things - too hot, too cold, nothing noisy waking him up? You say that he's in bed much later if he eats well- have you tried an earlier bedtime as he sounds massively over tired? My DS is a very similar age and I sometimes put him to bed at 6:30pm if he's clearly tired, and he's out like a light.

NoraDora Tue 07-Mar-17 09:28:45

He's 2,adult up and sort him out.

Why change him? If he gets himself wet, leave him wet.

Stop the bottles overnight, no wonder he doesn't eat in the day. He's using the night as meal times.

Put a stairgate on his door so he can't get to you. Reinforce the night time is for sleeping mantra.

mouldycheesefan Tue 07-Mar-17 09:30:18

When you say he sometimes eats in the day what do you mean? He should be getting most of his nutrition from solid food, milk to drink but not pints of it during the night.
What does he eat in a typical day? He sounds very hungry.

mouldycheesefan Tue 07-Mar-17 09:32:13

Is he not stil sleeping in a cot? How is he getting out and coming to find you? Mine couldn't get out the cot and had a stair gate in the bedroom dorm.
It all sounds very strange.
People who are saying he has atrocious behaviour, he has the behaviour that his parents have taught him so that's a bit unfair. He is just a baby.

Bloggybollocks Tue 07-Mar-17 09:32:28

What's his diet like? Is he storing up enough calories during the day to get him through the night?
He shouldn't be having a bottle at 2, I'd cut that out completely. Make sure he's having a decent supper before bed, say 6.30pm, something like porridge or weetabix with warm milk.
He's completely ruling the household, he won't grow out of it and it won't get any better until you decide on a course of action and stick to it.
Milk in a cup
When he wakes just keep putting him back in bed, put a baby gate in his bedroom door so he can't leave his room. Prepare yourself for several bad nights. Which lets be honest is preferable to what's been going on so far.

peaceloveandbiscuits Tue 07-Mar-17 09:37:45

My 2yo did this and back in September/October I snapped and ditched the milk completely. I went cold turkey on night time milk, and slowly reduced the amount he had before bed from 9oz to just a few oz, and when he wasn't bothered about drinking that anymore (a few days) we just stopped giving him any. I threw away the bottles so we couldn't give in. Giving in is unfair on him, because he's getting mixed messages.
I sat in his bedroom in silence so he could see me, but yes, he cried and screamed and was extremely cross that he wasn't getting his milk to go to sleep. He didn't know how to go to sleep without it, so I had to teach him how. Every time he woke in the night, I went and sat in his room, not engaging. After two weeks I moved my chair to the doorway and then outside the door. It took four weeks in total but now he sleeps through the night reliably.
You can find my support thread from that time by searching my username. I was suicidal with sleep deprivation, it was like having a newborn again. You can fix this!

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