Are you fed up with the early morning call for the bottle?
All you need is to sleep through the whole night, and life is much better!
This post will give you some of the steps I took to stop my toddler from needing his overnight bottle feed.
It can be a habit, hunger, or the fact that your toddler wants to see you in the middle of the night. Whatever the reason, it is time to stop bottle feeding your toddler at night! After all, it is the reason you are here!
But, how do you stop your toddler from having their nightly bottle feeds? It is simple, but it may take some time, and it will mean less sleep for you at the beginning. Think of it as short-term pain for long-term gain.
Why does your Toddler still need a nighttime bottle feed?
Before moving on to the tips, let us expand on the reasons above. Only when you know why can you move on and stop your toddler bottle feeding at night.
It sounds obvious. Hunger is probably the biggest reason your toddler still needs a bottle at night.
Toddlers grow quickly and can go through stages of intense growth spurts. During these growth spurts, they are eating MACHINES!
Like the above, your toddler might need a nighttime bottle because they are simply thirsty! I wake up most nights because I need a drink, and your toddler is no different.
If your toddler wakes up in the middle of the night asking for a bottle, it could simply be that they are scared because it is dark and quiet.
You can do several things to get your toddler to stay in their room at night, or if your toddler is scared, you need to find out why.
They Miss You
You may only be a few feet away in your bedroom, but your toddler might miss you. A great way to get you to their bedroom is by being hungry!
It Is A Habit
A habit is the most difficult thing to break!
From being a Baby, your toddler is used to waking up in the middle of the night for a feed.
Your toddler might want a bottle feed at night simply because it is what they are used to.
How To Stop Bottle-Feeding Your Toddler At Night
Replace With A Drink
Replacing your Toddler nighttime feed with a drink is an excellent way of stopping the early hour’s feed!
Just pour a cup of milk or water and let them drink a little before bed. Place the cup near their bed to reach over for it when they wake up.
Sounds simple, right? Well, yes, it is! It might be too simple to work, but it may be the magic bullet.
Giving your toddler a drink will quench their thirst and might stop the night feed.
Increase In Food Intake
Think about what you are feeding your toddler in their last meal of the day.
My Son eats like a horse. If he does not get enough food before bed, I have noticed that he will wake early and NOT go back to sleep again.
Some nights, I make him a snack about 1 hour before bedtime to top him up for the night.
Increasing food intake will counter one reason why your toddler still needs a bottle of feed during the night, and that is hunger.
The Slow Build Up
When I want my Son to break a habit that I have let him slip into (guilty), it is best to break him out of it gently.
For instance, he got into the habit of only going to sleep if I was in his room. It was certainly my fault because I kept doing it. So I needed to break the habit!
I explained that he needed to settle down on his own and told him that I would be just outside of his room over the next few nights. Then after 4 nights of sleep, I will be putting him to bed, and then I will be going out of his room so he can settle by himself.
Sure, there were times when he did not want to play along, but eventually, it worked.
Start by explaining to your toddler that you will not be giving them a nighttime bottle feed over the next week. Explain that they now have a drink if they are thirsty.
The Big Bang Approach
Good luck if you choose this option, but it is viable and has worked for me in the past.
The major drawback is the next 2 nights may involve less sleep for you, but it is worth it.
Tell your toddler that they will no longer be having nighttime bottle feeds. Then duck.
When your toddler wakes in the early morning hours, remind them that they do not get a bottle, and if they are thirsty, give them a cup of drink.
My Son loves his blanket, and it is a massive comforter for him. When he is sick, he wants his blanket. If he has hurt himself, he wants his blanket.
If your toddler does not have a comforter, like a blanket or a soft toy, it is time for you both to go out and pick one.
Some Toddlers still need bottle feeding at night because they want comfort from you. So buying a comforter will offer them some comfort.
Night Lights/Toddler Night Light Projector
A night light projector is an awesome tool to get your toddler to sleep and give them some light when they are afraid.
Set it up close to your Toddler bed. Then if they wake up afraid, they can hit the button and drift back off to sleep while their eyes are transfixed on the ceiling!
Careful, though, my Son’s night light projector has sent me to sleep more times than I can remember!
If you need to know how to stop bottle feeding your toddler at night, I am confident that the tips on this page will help you out.
As I said at the beginning of this post, you must figure out why your toddler still needs a bottle at night as soon as you understand why you can make some minor changes to make the transition much more straightforward.
Let’s have a recap of the reasons why your toddler might still need a bottle at night:
- They Miss You
- They are Scared
- It Is A Habit
Know the causes, and follow the tips above to counter them.
Oh, and I know I have already mentioned that this battle might result in less sleep for you initially, but I need to remind you to ensure your expectations are set.
Many Toddlers still need a nighttime feed because it helps to settle them. It is easy for you to put together a feed and then settle down immediately afterward. This battle may mean you spent more time awake to get them used to the change. So stick with it, do not give up, and you will get your reward eventually!