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19m still will not self settle without bottles of milk, and having night feeds

(15 Posts)
Freyfreysmum Mon 15-Jun-09 15:21:10

Please help...


I am getting quite upset about the situation with my 19month dd. She is a fantastic girl, great at nursery, good eater, lovely to other toddlers, all things are great, apart from sleep time....

She has 10oz milk after bath and story and teeth clean, and unfortunately still wakes in the night and has up to another 10oz, with a nappy change, at least once.

1)I need to get her changed over from a bottle to a beaker

2) I need to get her to understand that she can settle herself rather than just falling asleep on the bottle.

3) I need to be able to settle her back to zzz in the night without another huge milk in bottle feed.



I appreciate many of you are going to suggest the basics because they have worked for so many but I will just list a few of the many things I have tried over the past 4 months.

- Gradually reducing the qty of milk she has, 1oz every 3/4 days - we get down to under 8oz and she will Not settle.

- Gradually diluting the milk with water, we get to 50/50 and she wakes up after about an hour screeching.

-If we try her with a beaker she just will not have it, we have tried til 11pm for 6 nights. I cannot cope with seeing her as distressed as she gets. If the exhaustion ever does make her fall asleep she is Always up and at it again within an hour.

-Controlled crying - have tried this by the book up to 17 nights in a row, it just leads to a foul tempered girl in the day and me sleep deprived at 6m pregnant. We have tried it for over 5 hours each night for over 10 nights each time, several times over the few months.

-Her room is very cosy, with a dimmer light, black out curtains, lovely soft toys which she just associates with sleeptime, it is always at a recommended temperature, and is very quiet.

PS when I describe 'not settling' I mean screaming and screaming until she is sick all over herself, her bed, the room, etc. She is then inconsolable, I get upset, and back to square one.

I am getting quite down about this and really would love some helpful advice. Have seen our HV who could suggest nothing new and said to persevere with CC, which we did for 17 nights properly, it resulted in me being sleep deprived and feeling very light headed in the day at 6m pregnant, and my daughter in a terrible state pretty much all day, overtired.

Please help x

EverybodyNeedsABosomForAPillow Mon 15-Jun-09 20:53:24

Hi, I don't have much advice but just thought I would bump your thread. I have just read a couple of sleep books and it sounds like you've tried most things.
How does your dd settle for naps? Does she need a bottle then too? I know people say to get them off a bottle but you could give yourself a break and say you'll try again when she's 2. For the middle of the night feed(s) it does sound like she's hungry (crying after an hour if the milk has been diluted) so perhaps she still needs the milk, not just a comfort thing.
Have you read The No Cry Sleep Solution? I have just read The No Cry Nap Solution which was good and have ordered TNCSS which I am hoping may hold all the answers I need!
Good luck, it sounds like you have a lovely dd and if you have to give her a bottle in the night to keep her happy for now then perhaps you should just go with that for now. Try TNCSS for helping her settle without the bottle and once she can do it (self settle) at the start of the night she is more likely to be able to do it in the middle of the night when she wakes.

4andnotout Mon 15-Jun-09 20:57:31

Hi Freyfreysmum

I have no advice for you as we are having exatcly the same problems with our 20m old dd3, i could have written your post word for word!

I just want to reasssure you that you are not the only family who have tried everything and for nothing to work!

We are hoping that as she gets older her sleep issues will improve, dd2 was very similar regarding bottles of milk and night feeds, and she is much improved now.

Have an unmumsnetty (hug)

ooosabeauta Mon 15-Jun-09 21:46:45

Hi Freyfreysmum,

I welled up reading your message because we're having just the same problem and I haven't met anyone else who has had this 'extreme sleep issue' before. Our ds is only coming up to 10 months, but he's never fallen asleep without the bottle in his mouth, apart from in the car, and will not sleep in his cot, so we have him in our bed, with a row of bottles of water at the head of the bed and a milk dispenser which I blearily tip into a new bottle several times a night. I'm sorry that this isn't constructive advice, but I just felt I had to reply to say that I feel for you.

It's exhausting because there is never any rest time for us as he's in the bed and wakes freqently, and can't be left there alone. I would love to know if you find something that works. My ds will happily refuse sleep for hours and hours even though he's desperately tired if we don't do things 'his way' ie in the bed with a bottle etc. Also means he can never be babysat for as it's a bit much to ask them to go to bed with our son and a bottle!

Hope things will get better for you, and sorry for the ramble... am exhausted..!

K999 Mon 15-Jun-09 21:56:41

20oz is quite a lot of milk. do you think she is genuinely hungry? does she take a dummy at all? sounds like perhaps she is not getting into a 'deep sleep' and when she does wake, feeding her is what she knows...what time does she go to bed and does she self settle when she's there??

Also, you mention that you are changing her nappy? Is it dirty or wet?

myfeethurt Mon 15-Jun-09 22:10:23

i had same problems with my daughter who is now 8 and seeps like a log! I just got rid of bottle and she had a feeder cup for bedtime drink - down stairs so this isn't associated with sleep, and then i eventually did a supernanny style keep settlng but no chat cuddles etc thing which i think took about 3 nights and then she was fine, not sure if she was older then 19 months tho'. I was really worried that getting rid of bottled would be a nightmare cos she loved them so much but i just snipped the teat ends of and showed her that they were no good any more and that was that. Good luck, it won't last forever, you will get a decent nights sleep one day. I also had really good book which i found helpful but can't remember author it was called the new baby and toddler sleep programme www.amazon.co.uk/New-Baby-Toddler-Sleep-Programme/dp/0091825911/ref=sr15?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245100012&sr=1-5

ches Tue 16-Jun-09 02:47:01

You could try a solid snack before bed. Otherwise resign yourself to the fact that she still needs that feed, still emotionally needs to suck, and she will stop soon enough. If she's going back to sleep straight away after her milk, that's the easiest all around, isn't it?

Freyfreysmum Tue 16-Jun-09 09:55:59

Ah thank you everyone for your lovely messages. I am new to here and this was my first post, and have to say the fact that some of you can relate to me makes me feel a lot better, and not quite as dire a mummy as I feel. Sorry you are going through the same thing, like you say though I hope, in time, it will get easier.
You are right, I am going to 'ditch' the bottle, and use her nospill beaker for starters. We will do milk with a biscuit, story (at the moment the very hungry caterpillar is the best read!) then teeth clean and settle to sleep.
She only settles with a bottle in the day for her nap after nursery, but will remain consistant and offer her the beaker and then snooze, and see what happens.
Ref yr nappy comment I have th change it otherwise she is soaked and so are the sheets, owing to how much she has in the night.
She is such a happy, bright button that I just feel like I am failing her in some way. Thank you for the book advice, I am also going to stay glued to this fab forum.

FFM x

bethdivine Wed 17-Jun-09 10:24:04

Hi FFM,
Just wanted to add, DS was exactly the same, he's now 27mo and goes through most nights, with the odd glitch when teething, poorly etc. which then sets us back a while. He was BF for 12 mo, and I still ended up with him being totally attached to the bottle! like you we tried reducing the milk, but swapped to proper milk rather than formula and reduced the night milk by 1oz each week. It took forever, but he did eventually reduce how much he had. Even now when he wakes he sometimes still asks for milk, but has very little. i think the problem is that because he was topping up at night, he didn't need to eat as much in the day, so again, following night, wakes up hungry. If you can really try to get her to reduce her milk one night, she might eat that little bit more the next day, or offer the milk downstairs with toast/cereal before going up.

We've now also got DD, 9wks - I went into labour 1am or so, and was settling DS after he woke an hour later, whilst having contractions! - luckily he did then sleep through till 7.30am, giving us time to get to hospital and have DD whislt my sis watched him, but it's utterly exhausting whilst pg isn't it! - she will get there and I'm sure everything you're going to try will work eventually. Does she watch TV? just wondering if she has a favourite character you could buy a cup with thier picture on?

DS was also a crap napper, so I couldn't even sleep in the day when he did like people suggest.

If it's any consolation, DD is much more settled at night already, so fingers crossed you'll resolve DD's sleep and your next one will also sleep well, giving you time to catch up.

Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy smile

bethdivine Wed 17-Jun-09 10:28:54

p.s. I found what helped me was accepting this was the situation and that we would carry on giving the milk as this was what worked. Once I knew that I was getting up to give him his milk and he'd go straight back to sleep, then it was ok, rather than sittign there stressing about what I should try next. Also, I never bothered changing nappies as found this woke him too much. Very rarely he'd leaked through, but made sure there was a double towel under the sheet just incase.

GoodWitchGlinda Wed 17-Jun-09 10:32:37

Have you tried giving water instead of milk i the night, so weening off the night milk feed? Also, get one of those musical things that projects moving images on to the ceiling - they are great for helping them to self settle. You can get the ones that come on automatically and then go off again, so you don't have to get up. This is what worked for us.

GoodWitchGlinda Wed 17-Jun-09 10:35:49

Also, one other thing we did was give DD a dummy just so she had something to suck on while she dropped off, then we took it out - I think that is what they want to settle them, the sucking as much as the milk itself. She didn't use the dummy for more than a few nights and eventually found her thumb which she now uses to self settle. Sucking dummy/thumb and gazing at the projector, she dropped off no trouble.

I know some people don't like dummies/thumb sucking, but as a temporary way to move from the bottle to self settling, it really worked for us.

bethdivine Wed 17-Jun-09 10:40:10

Also, my HV (I've luckily got one of the useful ones) suggested diluting down the milk - I know you've tried this with formula, but if you swap to normal milk you could try this a bit later on?

EyeballsandherSunburntNorks Wed 17-Jun-09 10:52:28

Same here with 17 month old. Has gradually cut down the amount of milk during the day - still as many bottles but not as much in them. Needs milk to settle to sleep and if she wakes up at night she will not settle without milk. We have tried water, and watering the milk down but she fires the bottle across the room if it's not pure milk. She won't drink milk out of a cup either hmm

shomes Wed 17-Jun-09 14:01:17

Wow..Freyfreysmum you saound just like us! My ds is nearly 15 months and has always been an awful sleeper. He sleeps at nursery and ok for naps but its the nighttimes that are the killer! He will not settle back to sleep without the bottle and even then complains. We live with my parents at the moment so it is really hard to leave him to cry at night and I have just gone back to work and am subsequently losing the plot thru sleep deprivation.
I tried giving water but he just screamed, its getting to the point where i just feel like crying in the night and i just want him to go back to sleep on his own!!
I feel for you i really do as i know how hard it is. I will be watching this with interest x

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