My 27 month old still wakes up hungry every night...

Loretta - posted on 03/01/2009 ( 10 moms have responded )

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My son Seth has been on the small side of the weight scale since he was 3 months old. He's been in the bottom 5% since he was 1 year old. For this reason, my husband & I have not felt the need to force Seth off the bottle. In the middle of the night, he has always woken up with a growling stomach and screamed until he was given a bottle (or a breast, when he was breast-fed). Now that he talks a bit, he asks for it by name. It is usually very obvious that he is ACTUALLY hungry, not that he just wants a bottle to help him get back to sleep.



Seth drinks out of a sippy cup during the day, but we still allow him a bottle at nap-time and bed-time. I'd like to stop this, but the strategy I'd like to try (telling him there are no more bottles) wouldn't make any sense if we still give him a bottle at night. We don't have insurance right now, so I can't discuss this with his doctor. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



I'd like to add that even though Seth only takes one bottle at night, he frequently wakes up several times crying. He can usually put himself back to sleep if he wakes, but sometimes we are up several times with him. My husband & I are really looking forward to a time when we can both sleep through the night.

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Kristi - posted on 03/01/2009

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Well, my son is 18 months and wakes up extremely hungry between 5 and 6:30 am, although he does (at least since I night weaned him from nursing around 15 months) sleep through the night until he wakes in the morning. And I know HE is very hungry because he wakes up and immediately starts asking for food. Usually the first words he'll utter are something like banana or toast. What I have done to help ease this is just constantly feed him nutrient and calorie packed (good calories) foods during the day. He literally eats non-stop from the time he wakes up until the time he goes to bed. I also limit his milk intake as I have noticed that it was more of an appetite suppressant than anything... so I only offer milk AFTER his breakfast and AFTER his dinner in his sippy cup. I will also replace his milk during these times with homemade smoothies or drinkable yogurts or I'll mix regular yogurt with milk to make my own "drinkable" yogurt - just for the extra calories... and usually I have him drink this RIGHT before bed as part of our routine. Our meals consist of things like: for breakfast, banana(s), toast, cereal/granola bars, oatmeal and his allotted milk for b-fast. Then snacks until lunch - crackers, fruits, dried fruits, edamame, sun chips with hummus or guacamole, Smart Puffs, tiny PB&J sandwiches, cottage cheese, home made baked sweet potato fries, etc. Then lunch which is usually some kind of meat, cheese and veggie and then back to snacks and then dinner which I usually do some kind of pasta/couscous/rice/potato with meat/cheese and veggies then back to snacks then bed. I have never known a kid to each as much as my babe does but this seems to work for us... good luck!

Errna - posted on 03/01/2009

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Hi there!!



There's a techinique that my family practiced to all of my nephews & nieces (all 7 of them altogether) and also to my 8mo daughther.



What I do is starting from 6pm I feed her every 2 hours, be it food or bottle 8pm and her last bottle (which i literally feed her in her sleep) is at 10pm before both of us switch off for the night. She will sleep straight 12 hours not even a peep from her through the nite!



I understand that your son is a much bigger baby, maybe you can start feeding him from 4pm onwards every 2 hours? or 1.5hours.



Hope this helps!

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Loretta - posted on 03/15/2009

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Just wanted to update any of you who may be interested.  We took Seth to get new cups, and let him pick them himself.  We kinda had to help though, because he's at a "No!" stage.  We ended up getting a Playtex made for 2 year +, with a different type of lid.  For a few days, I didn't open them, but left them on a table.  Every time he asked for them, I told him they were for when he was ready to have no more babas.  He started not taking a nap for those days, anyway, so he was getting one less bottle a day.



Then, one night, I told him we could open the cups, and we put soy milk in it, rather than formula.  It had been at least a month since he had soy milk, so he was very excited and said "yum" a lot. LOL



He was fine going to bed that night, after drinking his milk while we read books.  However, that night, after about 1PM, was very hard.  He pretty much cried for 4 hrs straight.  He seemed to be mourning his bottle.  LOL  It was kinda sad.  However, finally, he took some water and went back to sleep.  The next night was easier, and the night after that, he only woke up when he normally would for a bottle.  He hasn't wanted soy milk during the night, but he HAS wanted water.



Last night, he ate two pieces of bread at 2AM.  That's the first time he's eaten in the middle of the night since we took away the bottles.  I won't lie, it has been a hard process.  However, he has a better appetite during the day now, and IS starting to sleep better.  I've started trying your suggestion, Errna.  Thank you all for your suggestions.  It really helped us out.

Gabrielle - posted on 03/02/2009

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You're right - the straw cups don't tip up like a bottle, but they are soft, rather than tip-up sippies that have hard, molded sippers. My daughter didn't like those at all.



I don't think you're defeatist - I think you're adaptable! Again, best of luck

Loretta - posted on 03/02/2009

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Thank you Gabrielle.  I've found your suggestions very helpful.  I'm not sure what kind of "straw-sippy cups" you're speaking of though.  We have some sippy cups with straws, but they are nothing like bottles...you can't tip them to drink.



I have been thinking since I received some response to this thread that perhaps we need to not worry so much about the night-time bottle, & just get him off the sleep-time ones anyway.  He's hungry half-way through the night...it is just a fact. And after two years of either my husband or I getting up in the middle of the night, we're used to it, even if we don't want to be anymore.  I hope this doesn't sound defeatist, but I think we just have to accept (again) that he has fast metabolism, like his parents, and is hungry faster than a lot of other kids.



We will get him some new cups, and try giving his drink in it.  Then I can tell him his bottles are gone (or something to that effect).  I'll let you guys know if it works.  Thanks!

Gabrielle - posted on 03/02/2009

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Loretta, I can offer a suggestion on keeping your son on his night-time drink while getting rid of bottles. We did this with my daughter, who is also below the 5th percentile on height and weight (I'm only 5', so not really surprised). We told her the bottles were broken, but we had some great new straw-sippy cups she could use. We got one with her favorite character on it, and some other cheaper, plainer ones. it only took about 2 days, and now she's perfectly happy taking her milk in the sippy. We chose Playtex - they seal tightly and the straw kept it sort of close to a bottle.



You may not have insurance, but you do have a small child, so he may qualify for something like Healthy Families or some other state/federally-subsidized assistance. Best of luck.

Loretta - posted on 03/01/2009

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Unfortunately, my son will not eat much during the day either.  Especially not nearly as much as your son Kristi.  LOL  He will eat several times a day, but it is almost always a very small portion.  I try to keep these things healthy, but he is also at a very picky stage.  Bananas, crackers, bread, rice...starches and carbs mostly.  I am definitely going to try some of your suggestions to try to get him the best nutrition possible.



However, he's also on soy formula, as he is allergic to milk and regular soy milk gives him very painful gas...we will make the transition to soy milk once one of us has a couple of weeks to stay up with him at night, etc., because that's how bad it gets with soy milk.  The same thing happened when he went from nursing to formula.



I think I will just have to try some things & see what happens.  I think he may have acid reflux...

Loretta - posted on 03/01/2009

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Thank you for the suggestion.  My son tends to eat small meals all day long, but I am going to consciously make the effort to make sure he's fed every 1 1/2 to 2 hours from about 4 on.



Thanks again!

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