Toddler won’t sleep without the bottle?
Are you having trouble getting your toddler to sleep without his or her bottle? Being a parent sure has its difficulties, and the older our children get, the fewer problems we think we may have. Not entirely true, especially when it comes to the toddler stage, which can lead to very confusing growth and development stages. Problems can and will arise from your toddler not developing into an independent and sound sleeper.
Sometimes it looks like the only solution is to give in and feed your toddler milk late in the night. It may help, but the truth is, this cycle will never be broken and stops them from becoming more independent. Don’t worry that your child is hungry; it’s most likely a coping mechanism to fall asleep. If your toddler drinks milk during the night, they will most likely be a fussy eater during the day because they get their intake during sleep cycles.
Follow the tips listed below to ensure your toddler will have bottle free sleep day in and day out. Also, take the time to read and digest our fun facts included in the article.
Planning and Rules
Make a plan. The first tip on the list is simple, be dedicated, and make a goal of taking the bottle away from your child during the night. Stick to the rules that you set for yourself and others in the household. If you are committed, make sure everyone else is too. This includes not caving in and giving a bottle ever so often and making sure others don’t either. Breaking this rule will lead to very confusing moments for your child, who won’t know what to expect. It takes much longer for them to learn the routine you’re trying to implement. Show your toddler; they can sleep without milk, and you will be surprised at their speed of growth.
Fun fact: On average, toddlers and infants wake up around five times every night!
When is your last feeding?
Find time for the last feeding. Toddlers depend on milk as a key structure of their nightly routine. Many depend on it to fall asleep and relax at the end of the day. You can’t deny your child the pleasure of enjoying his or her warm milk before bed, as it’s a great sleep inducer for many people. Just note that milk before bed is not a problem, as long as you follow a few simple rules. First, make sure your child is drinking the milk while still fully awake and preferably sitting up. Doing this will ensure your child doesn’t adopt the routine of falling asleep with the bottle in their mouth.
Rule number two, you can brush their teeth once they have finished drinking. Doing this will help prevent decay and also set up a great routine for your toddler to understand healthy hygiene. Always making sure your child is not falling asleep or zoning off while drinking is important, and don’t feel bad if you have to push them back awake.
Fun fact: Warm milk contains tryptophan, a sleep-inducing amino acid thought to have sedative effects.
Dilute the milk!
Dilute your milk with water. If you have had many fussy nights, we’re taking the bottle away is just not an option; tip three may be a much better technique. When you dilute your milk, you are still giving your child the calming and comfortable sensation of drinking milk. Here’s the idea, spend a few nights on adding small amounts of water into the milk gradually, and after a week or so, they will be drinking mostly water. I’m sure you’ll quickly realize that your toddler is not so gullible, and will surely notice you are slowly changing milk for water. The awareness your child has is definitely warranted, and they will gradually accept the fact they’re nights of drinking milk is over. Your child may even enjoy falling asleep drinking his water milk concoction, but will soon give it up entirely.
Fun fact: While milk provides vitamin D, calcium, and protein, it’s also a high-calorie drink that kids, and could get those nutrients from other foods.
No more milk? Maybe.
Stop giving milk completely! This tip may come as a shock, but the truth may be hard to accept. Does it seem mean or neglectful to take your toddler’s milk away suddenly? It may look that way to some, but let’s be clear here, you are the parent, and you are the boss. The following tip has been the most successful and quickest technique to end the nightly bottle dilemma. Find a few other healthy sleeping techniques for your child, and maybe implement other comforting techniques. No doubt your child will be angry and protest, but that’s nothing new and should be expected. Take the time to strengthen your resolve with your child, while owning up to the fact that sometimes parenting can seem cruel.
Fun fact: Toddlers need around 11-14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period.
Use a pacifier. Exchanging your baby’s steel grip bottle for a pacifier may solve all of your problems. Let’s take into account the fact that the sucking motion for an infant or toddler is a very sleep-inducing and comforting technique. Sometimes the milk is not even necessary, and a pacifier or dummy bottle will do the trick more often than not. Of course, after some time, this will also turn into a habit that must be kicked, but it’s a great stepping stone from needing that much-desired milk. These rubbery silicone nipples are specially designed to feed your toddler’s impulse for sucking. Also, make sure you find the right size of the pacifier because different age groups will have different sizes and shapes.
Fun fact: If you are still breastfeeding, using a pacifier helps minimize crying and is a self-soothing mechanism.
All in all, it’s up to you to decide how you want to follow these tips and implement them into you and your toddler’s life. Do what’s right for you, and don’t be so set on one method over the other. Try several of them out, and if one doesn’t work, then switch! Enjoy these moments of watching your child grow more independent!