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How to get your toddler off the milk at night

Mole and her bottle of milk…a love story. The decision came to stop her bedtime bottle when it started to increase to her morning, afternoon, whenever she would have a…

Mole and her bottle of milk…a love story.

The decision came to stop her bedtime bottle when it started to increase to her morning, afternoon, whenever she would have a tantrum bottle too.

Yes, I know that sounds strange.

The back story

From a newborn Mole had always fed little and often. She was never able to keep a full feed down and began to lose a lot of weight.

Looking back at old photos of Mole as a newborn, can be very hard for me. After countless trips to the doctors to be told she had bad reflux, I still feel like maybe I could have done more.

Due to this, her bottle became her comforter. Even if the bottle was empty she would use it like a dummy.

As time went on, the bottle became a comforter to me. I always knew that any behaviour problem we would encounter, whilst out and about or at home, the bottle would ‘fix’ it.

I guess that it was they call “lazy parenting”

More than just a baby’s bottleno more toddler bedtime bottle

Fast forward to Mole turning three, the bottle was still very much present. However this time, instead of the bottle being a comforter, it became a hindrance.

Mole knew exactly what type of tantrum to throw in order to be rewarded with a bottle. Not only was the situation becoming embarrassing but it was also disrupting meal times. Don’t get me wrong, Mole can be a fussy eater, however, I noticed she was refusing her meals because she was either full from milk or playing up to get a bottle of milk.

The bedtime routine has always been a consistent one. And one that I am quite proud of. Usually after having one bottle of milk with her bedtime story, Mole would fall asleep and wake up fresh the next morning. All that changed after one night Mole decided to open her bedroom door to ask for more milk. Without thinking I completed Mole’s request and that was that. Until the next night when it happened again…but twice.  And then the night after that and so on.

Enough was enough.

As with anything to do with parenting, you  know that making a drastic change in a routine doesn’t go right the first time and is a battle to say the least.

Attempt one

The watered down method

I filled Mole’s bottle half way with milk and the rest with water. She noticed straight away and the bottle got chucked back in my face. Literally. I tried the same method again with her for a few nights and every time it got to 10:30pm I gave in and got her a full bottle of milk.

My plan was to gradually dilute the milk over time to the point where it was all water and she wouldn’t ask for anymore. The internet made it sound so easy.

Attempt two

Milk with meals method

Serving milk with toddlers meals can help to see it as a snack or food rather than a comforter. Again we found this method difficult because serving the milk in a cup did not interest her. She would either ask for water instead or cry out for a bottle. I decided not to go with this method after the bottle still being a comfort issue at bedtime. Frankie became very unsettled at dinner time seeing Mole’s tantrums for a bottle instead of a cup and it just did not work out for us.

Attempt three

Cold Turkey

Gone. All of the bottles in the bin. Now, you can imagine the kind of night I had with her in order to get to the point of going cold turkey but, it was needed. For the both of us. Now we both had no option of giving in.

Mole had taken an interest in Fairies. We talked about all of the different places they live and what their little jobs are.

I’ve heard of the dummy fairy method before but not the bot bot fairy.

Mole believes that a bot bot fairy has come to take all of her bottles away to new little newborn babies that really need them. As she is a big girl now, she can have a big girl cup. In return I left a little knitted felt fairy decoration hanging on her cactus. (She believes she has a cactus fairy). This whole scene felt a light and happy way to say goodbye to the bottle. Her mind was blown away and I will never forget how her eyes lit up with magic.

The condition was, she had to take care of the felt fairy and if she didn’t the fairy would lose her magic dust. Or even worse, the fairies would take it back.

I’m not going to lie and pretend it was happily ever after that.

We had a couple of tantrums, only at bedtime. They were resolved very quickly because we literally had not bottles to give in to her.

When did your little one stop having their bedtime bottle?

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