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Help with huge grown up children & sleep - absolutely no one with a baby should read this!!!!!!

(32 Posts)
Bugsy2 Wed 20-Apr-05 16:04:01

My ds is 5.5 and has been a poor sleeper from day one. He still wakes up during the night, still has milk in a bottle to try & get him back to sleep & still wakes up at 5.30am every day!
I know I'm not completely hopeless as dd who is 3 is a good sleeper.
Anyone had any luck trouble shooting with older children. I am slightly curtailed in that the two children share a room.
I can live with the early wake up, as these days he just toddles off downstairs & watches tv - but could really do without having to get up in the night to provide warm milk for a 5.5yr old.

Harrizeb Wed 20-Apr-05 16:46:36

Glup! Some children don't sleep just the same as some adults don't sleep, but a suggestion.... how about slowly watering down the milk and maybe cooling it down so that it's not as nice for him? ... we've done this with my little chap to cut out his 5.30 feed when he was about 16mths cause I was fed up with getting up at that time of the day.
Something else that we are doing now is we've got a rabbit alarm clock and the rabbit goes to sleep and then wakes when the alarm goes off, DS can't have breakfast until the rabbit wakes up - had it a week and he's got the message in 4 days (she says quietly so as not to jinx it ), we'll then move it into his bedroom when he's older and tell him he can get up once rabbit is awake and until then he can play/read quietly in bed (hopefully).

Good luck and hope others have some useful suggestions for you.


Twiglett Wed 20-Apr-05 16:49:51

gosh bugsy I'd knock that on the head its not good for you or him, at that age he needs his sleep

do what harriezb says

that's just mad that is

<<wanders off muttering to self>>

Bugsy2 Wed 20-Apr-05 17:01:36

Bless you both! It is actually the sucking from the bottle that he craves, could be ice cold milk, water, liquid poison - he doesn't care!!! Bit like thumb sucking I suppose. Perhaps I should throw all bottles away & just deal with the fallout (cringing with horror as I type that)
As for the waiting for the rabbit for breakfast - that's fairly hopeless as he can help himself & if he remains in the shared bedroom for more than 2 seconds after he wakes up, he wakes his sister up so that he has someone to play with & then I am filled with murderous thoughts!!!!

iota Wed 20-Apr-05 17:04:46

can you not leave a bottle of water in his room for him to drink if he wakes up?

my 3.5 yr old has gone through a phase of this - me stumbling downstaiers in the small hours fetching beakers of juice, so I do sympathise

Bugsy2 Wed 20-Apr-05 17:06:30

iota, like that idea - worth a try. Can't believe I haven't thought of it myself.

iota Wed 20-Apr-05 17:07:21

- it worked for us

tamum Wed 20-Apr-05 17:07:42

Have you read the Richard Ferber book, Bugsy? There's a very good explanation of how we need to learn to get ourselves back to sleep without any "aids". Ds was a horror, didn't sleep through the night properly until he was 6, but this business of props is important, I think. Ferber says basically that because sleep goes in waves of light and heavy sleep we all wake multiple times each night, but because everything is as it was when we fell asleep we just go back off. If on the other hand our pillow had been taken away we would stay awake until we had got it back. What I am leading up to is....I think you have to go cold turkey on the milk, sorry. At least he's old enough to have it explained. You will have to ride out the storm, but my impression is that it takes less time than with a younger child. My sympathies, I do know how you feel

bandbsmum Wed 20-Apr-05 17:10:05

This is my first time on mumsnet, so bear with me if I get the abbreviations wrong!! Have you tried star charts? That worked for my ds when he was 2.5, he was a nightmare sleeper up till then. He's now 4.5 and sleeps brilliantly. He has a bottle of water by his bed, so if he wakes up thirsty in the night he can help himself. Going through it all again now though with a 5.5 month dd. Going to give cc a go when she hits 6 months!

Bugsy2 Wed 20-Apr-05 17:16:04

Tamsmum, did Ferber & controlled crying, which did work for quite a long time. Have problem with controlled anything now, because children share room.
Bandbsmum, welcome to Mumsnet. Have done star charts & they do work - will reapply myself to that one.
Laughing at the thought of having the only teenager who wakes up early

Twiglett Wed 20-Apr-05 18:02:07

he's using a bottle with a teat?

does he understand that they are just for babies? does he care that he's a big boy and shouldn't be using a 'babies' bottle (i find my 4 year old gets very put off if I try to give him something he associates with a baby)

also I find bribery works very well - if you can give up your bottles for 7 days you can choose a special present - then make a big ceremony out of him throwing away the bottles

WideWebWitch Wed 20-Apr-05 18:30:29

Oh my stars bugsy, this is awful! I agree with Tamum, you have to just explain it, very firmly and go cold turkey on the bottle. Star charts, threats, ooh I'd try it all. Poor you!

tamum Wed 20-Apr-05 18:39:35

Yes, I didn't actually mean controlled crying, I would have thought he was a bit old for that. I just meant Ferber in terms of getting rid of the props he needs to get himself back to sleep, so he learns to do it on his own.

iota Wed 20-Apr-05 18:42:08

surely the bottle sucking equates to thumb-sucking - both mine did that - 3.5 yr old still does

geekgrrl Wed 20-Apr-05 19:37:23

gosh bugsy, poor you. must say, i'd have no sympathy at all with this behaviour in a child that age (I have a 5.5 year old too, as well as a 4 year old and a 1 year old) and would crack down on it cold turkey, supported by punishments or rewards. Get some Phenergan as well for added help with breaking the habit. My dd1 used to be a dreadful sleeper and we were finally so fed up with her still getting up several times a night at 3 years old that we took the sedatives & punishments/rewards route. I wouldn't even go through the rigmarole of weaning him off the bottle slowly - he's 5.5 years old fgs and can understand that it's not on.

Lucycat Wed 20-Apr-05 19:43:48

Get him one of those Avent beakers with a non-spill lid to keep by his bed. My dd (4.11) likes to have a drink by her bed (probably because she talks so much during the day her mouth gets dry } He can still have his drink at 5.30am (ugh) but not by distubing you - oh and good luck.

Harrizeb Wed 20-Apr-05 21:03:37

Sorry my thoughts aren't very helpful. Sounds like there are lots of much more experienced Mums here for you though. Good Luck, fingers crossed you resolve it quickly. H x

JanH Wed 20-Apr-05 21:18:11

When I read "huge grownup children" I thought this was going to be about up-all-night sleep-all-day teenagers!

5.5 is defo old enough to discuss this with and come to a reasonable solution. He certainly shouldn't be having warm milk in the night, in a bottle or any other way. If he insists on having a drink then it should be water only, and if having a cup beside his bed would lead to spills then I would try leaving him a drink of water in the bathroom, combined with star charts; if he wakes you or his sister he doesn't get a star. No bottle and no milk will probably cause a few shrieky nights to begin with but once he knows you mean business he should go along with the new regime pretty soon.

Don't worry about having an early rising teenager though - sleeping in kicks in with the hormones IME!

Bugsy2 Thu 21-Apr-05 14:24:58

Thank you all so much. I know the bottle thing is not good but it is a real comforter for him. It is the only method by which I can get him to drink any milk either.
I have tried so many things to get rid of the bottle, bribery, telling him it is for babies, choosing other beakers etc for drinking milk & none of it has worked. He has told me that he "needs & loves his bottle". Agghhhhhhh!
I also cant help wondering whether or not it will solve the waking in the night issue. Oh well, I think I am going to have to brace myself & poor dd for cold turkey.

beachyhead Thu 21-Apr-05 14:36:53

Yup, I agree - it's the same as going cold turkey with dummies - the thought of it is much worse than the actual doing it...... Just chuck the bottles and replace with anyway up cup by his bed with water and wait for the battle to commence - I'm guessing about three days should crack it.....have strength....if you can co-incide it with a certain event, birthday, holiday etc, then it might take the edge off......

Marina Thu 21-Apr-05 14:43:58

Would he enjoy The Last Noo Noo? It's about a preschooler, but deffo an "older" child, getting rid of his dummy. It is a funny, charming read with a message.
You've had loads of good advice here Bugsy but we have a nearly 6 year old who night wanders so you have my sympathy too.
I believe Ionesmum is using a sleep clinic called Millpond who also help families with older children, so you could CAT her for more info. They are supposed to be really good and take a holistic approach by all accounts...

bandbsmum Thu 21-Apr-05 16:43:54

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Bozza Thu 21-Apr-05 16:49:51

What about a sleep over with a friend who presumably doesn't need the milk - ie peer pressure.

Or do you have anyone (grandparents?) who could have DD for a few days while you crack the problem?

Bozza Thu 21-Apr-05 16:50:35

Also wouldnt't worry overly about lack of milk at that age if you can make up for it in other dairy in the diet.

Demented Thu 21-Apr-05 16:53:39

Agree with the others that you have to get rid of the bottle. How about letting him have a 'big boy' sports bottle with water in it beside his bed. At 5.5 would it make a big difference if he didn't drink any milk? Is he a good eater? Does he eat cheese and yoghurt, if he does he's probably getting all he needs in the way calcium etc through these.

Hope it gets better for you soon, my DS1 is 6 and I think I would have put him out in the street if he was still getting up through the night regularly.

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