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2.5 year old still demands night feed

(12 Posts)
TwistedC Tue 04-Aug-09 21:53:44

Hi. I'm new to this site and hope some of you can offer advise.

I have a 2.5 year old son who still wakes up in the middle of the night and creates havoc if he doesn't get a bottle. We have tried so many times to stop him, but after 2 hours or more of listening to him shouting, crying, getting out of bed, etc, we give in, get a bottle of milk, and then immediately feel like failures for allowing it to happen. However, we both have full time jobs and unfortunately sometimes all you want to do is sleeeeeeep, so its easier to spend 10 minutes giving him a bottle than being awake for 2+ hours while he screams blue murder.

I've read a number of different Baby/Toddler books and still we don't have success. The best we have ever achieved is making him stretch it out to 5am,

I think one of the main problems is he is such a poor eater. More recently he has turned into a very fussy eater too, which is adding to the problem. We just cannot get him to eat well in the day, so of course he gets hungry at night. Its a vicious circle!

I would be grateful for any suggestions or guidance.

ches Wed 05-Aug-09 02:09:42

Put a bottle of long-life milk next to his bed and show him where it is.

Ninkynork Wed 05-Aug-09 10:00:16

Mine does this but it's several bottles. He's a bit younger and also a picky eater. Did he used to have more than one? <<hopeful>>

Sorry I can't be any help sad

MadameCastafiore Wed 05-Aug-09 10:06:06

He doesn't eat much because he is filling up on milk!

Have a week off work, both you and your husband and tackle it head on. Give him a bottle of water and keep giving it back to him if he throws it, he will eventually drink it and be hungrier in the morning. It is a hard battle in which you have to sort of look on the child as the enemy which you have to crack but when you get your first full nights sleep you will love them all over again.

3littlefrogs Wed 05-Aug-09 10:10:19

As long as he is having the milk in the night, he will continue to eat too little during the day. You are right, it is a vicious circle, but you need to look at it from the opposite POV. IYSWIM.

You may just have to bite the bullet, and leave him a cup of water if he gets thirsty at night. You will have to be prepared for a week or so of bad nights, and very early breakfasts, but it will be worth it in the end.

I know how you feel, and it is easier to give in with the bottle when you are so tired, but if you want to change his habit, you will have to intervene.

It is also worth remembering that at this age, this behaviour is less about hunger, and much more about control (I mean the fussy/poor eating during the day, as well as the night time behaviour), so you might want to sit down with your partner and think about any other issues, eg: are you presenting a consistant and united front in all other areas? Make sure you are fully agreed on a plan of action and stick to it.


StinkyFart Wed 05-Aug-09 10:29:24

Mine have breakfast before bed - a bowl of cereal

Try that?

I second offering water only at night

You have taught him that if he screams for long enough he will get his milk, these traps are so so easy to fall into

Oh, welcome to MN smile

Pussnbootz Wed 05-Aug-09 12:15:28

my little girl is 20 months old and has recently started waking up every couple of nights , we change her and try to put her back down but to no avail , she wants a bottle , ive spoken to my health visitor and she says she is getting plenty to eat , as its not every night im not sure wot the problem is , can anyone help me please ?

TwistedC Wed 05-Aug-09 19:59:39

Thanks for the comments.

After leaving this message last night I read through a lot of the other information on this website and my husband and I formulated a plan of action before going to bed!

My husband and I are off work this week, so we had already decided we had to do something and this was the best week to do it. So, having read through the website, we were determined to start winning the battle.

DS woke up 3 times last night, asking for a bottle each time. Each time we said no and made him get back in bed. It resulted in about 5-10 minutes of tears, but he appeared to go back to sleep relatively quickly.

He got up at 6am which we didn't actually think was too bad, as we guessed he must have been pretty hungry. We immediately took him downstairs and he ate half a brioche, followed by a yogurt.

We have also decided to tackle the eating issue. He isn't a big eater, so we have opted for the "little but often" philosophy, along with a reward chart. Each time he ate what we deemed to be a reasonable amount, he got a dinosaur sticker for his chart. By mid-afternoon he was very pleased to have 3 stickers on the chart and kept clapping and cheering to himself.

Dinner tonight was relatively successful. He did eat, but not a huge amount. However, when we told him if he didn't eat, he wouldn't get a sticker, he said "okay" and then repeated "no dinner, no sticker". So it must be sinking in.

Of course, these are early days, so who knows what the next few days will bring. But I think both my husband and I are very determined to break the cycle, so fingers crossed!!

ches Thu 06-Aug-09 02:49:54

I would be very, very wary of giving rewards for eating. You are falling into the trap of teaching him to over-eat and ignore his body telling him he is full.

MadameCastafiore Thu 06-Aug-09 07:04:16

I wouldn't reward for eating either.

But you can now change that slowly pnce he gets in the habit of eating and reward him for other thngs taking the emphasis off of the eating.

3littlefrogs Thu 06-Aug-09 09:54:25

Absolutely don't involve rewards at mealtimes. It can lead to problems later on. By giving rewards you are contributing to the control aspect.

decena Thu 06-Aug-09 20:15:27

I am horrified that you are using reward chart for eating! He is a toddler! If he is not hungry, give him some breadsticks or fruit and wait til next meal. All kids go through this and come out the other side and you will make this worse for yourself and your child by doing this. Ignore his faddy eating. What will you do when he realises that he controls you by what he eats? Beg him? Dangerous path.

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