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  1. #1
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    Default how to break sleep association (bottle to sleep)?

    please no judgement, I'm kicking myself that we ever got ourselves into this situation but here we are. ds is 1 in a week. he's very attached to his bottles. as the thread title suggests, he basically refuses to sleep unless he's given a bottle in his cot, which he drinks then goes to sleep.

    fully aware we've created a sleep association and this will be tough to undo.

    I actually wasn't overly fazed at the bottle to sleep initially as his milk intake has cut down as he's upped his food intake (he was slow to start on solids too), it was really just the bottles at sleep times. the issue is that he's constipated and has retentive stools (saw the paed this week) and the milk is causing it. we've been told he's having far too much milk for his age and it's causing him to get backed up. so what was previously seen as a harmless (albeit bad) habit is now actually causing him harm.

    we're working on resolving the constipation issues but the milk to sleep needs to stop. I thought he'd just grow out of it as he got older but it's become clear the excessive formula is backing him up, so something needs to change.

    obviously ds is extremely unhappy if we try to put him down without a bottle. I know consistency is the key in breaking a bad habit, but I honestly can't stand to hear him cry so hard and get so distressed, so we end up letting him go for a bit then I cave in. dh is a bit tougher but I'm hopeless. I just feel awful and end up giving him the bottle he so desperately wants. I know I'm only reinforcing bad habits but I'm honestly at a loss as to how to tackle this.

    he's obviously not the sort who has a good wail then gets tired and goes to sleep. he gets more and more worked up, distressed and hysterical and I just think there's no way he will fall asleep like that. hence I cave in.

    the paed suggested a sleep consultant but I'd like to try and give this a crack ourselves. maybe I'm deluding myself but I'd like to try and fix this without outside intervention. if it becomes apparent we need outside help however, we're open to it.

    so has anyone had any experience in successfully breaking this kind of bad sleep habit? please tell me what you did, what worked, what didn't work etc. we're desperate to help our little boy!

    he's otherwise an ok sleeper, started waking through the night around December (aged 10m) but that's tapered off now to 1 wake up per night. last night he went through 8pm
    - 6am with no wake ups though. night wake ups are the same as going down to bed/for a nap; he needs a bottle to settle. he's at daycare 3 days a week and they're not allowed to bottle to sleep so I know he's capable of going down without his milk. I asked daycare what they do and they said they pat him
    and he grizzles for 10-15 mins then drifts off. who knows how accurate that is, they used to use bouncers to get the babies to sleep then transfer them to the cot asleep. maybe they just leave them to cry it out? I've no idea, I'm not there and have no choice but to believe the educators. anyway, that's a side tangent. point is, he sleeps at daycare without a bottle. so I know it's possible, just at a loss on how to implement this successfully at home!
    Last edited by turquoisecoast; 17-02-2017 at 16:11.

  2. #2
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    Default how to break sleep association (bottle to sleep)?

    Can u try and change his dependence from a bottle to a dummy?

    What about just slowly cutting the milk down... In volume or making the formula up weaker or substitute the milk for water. Or maybe try giving him his milk before bed.. So when it is bed time.. You can say you have drunk all your milk.. But it's bedtime now. From 1 year old.. My now 2.5 yr old has about 100ml of cows milk in a bottle before bed and 100ml of cows milk in cereal or in a smoothie during the day.

    For the last year I have been sending her to bed with her water bottle invade she get thirsty.. But probably only about 100ml as she would drink 500ml if I gave it to her .
    Good luck.
    Last edited by kylie764; 17-02-2017 at 16:21.

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    By 11 months DS was on cows milk and only had a bottle at bedtime at night not for day sleeps. Could you wean him off 1 bottle a day to start with and then work your way up to the night bottle ? What about introducing a cup? Straw cup? Maybe watering down the milk?

    Sorry I'm not much help.

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    yeah we've started cutting down the quantity and the strength. we went too weak too quick and he picked up on it and screamed blue murder

    paci is a lost cause (and maybe just as well!?), I actually tried giving it to him this morning and he doesn't even open his mouth for it, I may as well be trying to put a toilet brush in there, he's just not interested. he's realllllly attached to the bottles. ugh, this is so tough.

    he's also not interested in stuffed toys. I've put a jellycat bunny in his cot to try and build up a comfort association to the bunny so when we take the bottle away, bunny is still there. no idea if this is the right way to do this?

    I think my issue is I have no roadmap and therefore no certainty or conviction in my methods, therefore I cave in very easily. heck maybe we do need outside help. just some guidance/support that we are doing the right thing and to persist. I can be strong but not when I'm unsure of my actions.

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    Why don't you water the formula down or put the same water in and less scoop of formula.

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    Can you make a whole new sleep routine and keep it up for at least a week? DD never had a bottle for bed but we weaned her from the dummy by changing everything up and I said the dummy got broken I chucked it in the bin. Surprisingly she didn't make too much fuss at all, I think the new routine might have had something to do with it (she had a strong sleep association with dummy) Eg: bath, story time, brush teeth, get water bottle, let him read a book in his bed, then cuddles and lights out?
    DD has a non- leak tommee tippee water bottle in bed, I don't think she actually drinks that much she just hugs it. Buy him a "big boy" water bottle for night time?
    It's going to be hard, but I think you've just got to choose some sort of new sleep association/routine and stick with it for at least a week.
    Best of luck!

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    when you say "tell him X", he's only 1, does he understand if I say something like that??

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    How often does he nap during day?

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    You could break the sleep association with controlled crying. Takes around 3 nights then it's completely forgotten....and they are fine.

    Judge away ladies

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    We used to have this issue with using it to get to sleep, DD loves her milk...we switched from formula to cows milk and starting giving her her bottle outside of her cot, then brushing teeth and going to bed. She still (at 26 mths) has milk before bed but out on the sofa. It's part of her bedtime routine and it will stop but for now I don't see its doing any harm to her. She only has this milk and milk with her weetabix.
    Could you try that, giving it to him outside of the bedroom and then start to decrease the amount? I wouldn't be too hard on yourself as it's tough hearing them cry. Would it be okay if he had cows milk and then brushed his teeth and went to sleep? You could then start to decrease/water down?

    We've had to do the CC crying with her as getting her to sleep used to be an absolute joke. Might taking him out the cot into a bed help so you can lie with him? DH does this with Dd, they talk about her day and then he leaves her. Sometimes she cries and sometime she doesn't....depends how tired she is!
    Big hugs, it's hard


 

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