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3yr old still using bottle at night!

Posted by emmhip (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 31, 05 at 11:02

Okay, this is not a good habit that we've developed here, I know, but how do we break it?

DD just turned 3, sleeps in a bed all night, is fully (during the day)potty trained, and is well adjusted overall. Our one problem, she sleeps with a bottle of water at night. She needs it to go to sleep, and then usually wakes up around 5 am for a second bottle. I really want to break her out of this habit (wanted to break her out of it a LONG time ago!) but its so easy to put her to sleep, I just give her the bottle, say good night and close the door. I don't hear from her until around 5 am or so when she wants the second bottle. We have another baby on the way, and I definitely will NOT make this mistake with number 2. Any suggestions? The idea of just taking the bottle away is kind of frightening, but might be neccessary at this point.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: 3yr old still using bottle at night!

Two ideas--1) (which worked for us) just "lose the bottle"--you simply cannot find one. DD is of course upset but at 3 understands "lost" and is upset for about 36 hours and then, really and truly, will just get over it--esp if you go out and buy a new stuffed animal to"help her" because you "just cannot find it!!!" (yes, act very concerned, because you know how much she needs this).
2) you put the second water bottle next to her so she can reach it and not wake you for it. AND you stop even thinking about it.


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RE: 3yr old still using bottle at night!

noodle's idea will only work if you and your spouse totally agree, and stick to your guns during that period. I think all our kids had a habit to break of one sort or another.

And if they even see a hint that you and your spouse are at all not in sync, they'll manipulate the situation.

Good luck!!!


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RE: 3yr old still using bottle at night!

It's water? Right?...None of that bottle mouth going on....right? What's the harm?...I will guarantee she won't take the bottle to camp when she's 10....so ignore it. When the new baby comes she will need it more than ever. Kids usually need a lot more water than they drink......and it's a lot better than the "i need a drink"...and "I need another drink" routine. Just hand her the water bottle and walk away....and if I were you I would be sure she has another full one in her bed for the 5 AM wake up.
Linda C


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RE: 3yr old still using bottle at night!

Thanks for the ideas! Yes, her mouth is fine, it's just water, and she has already been to the dentist. I might just wait it out. Good idea about the second bottle--- thanks!


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RE: 3yr old still using bottle at night!

I agree with the last post. This isn't juice, formula or milk, it's water. And I agree that a lot of kids that age don't drink enough water to begin with.

I also wouldn't bother changing significant habits with a baby on the way. Kids regress for a time with the advent of siblings. If she wasn't using it right now, I wouldn't be surprised if she just started up again once Junior gets here anyway.

My FOUR year old goes to bed with a sippy cup of water, every night. No dental problems. My EIGHT year old does it on occasion too. No dental problems.

This one isn't pathological so I wouldn't worry one minute about it.


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RE: 3yr old still using bottle at night!

My only other thought is that potty training, especially staying dry at night will be a big hurtle if liquids are not limited after dinnertime.

I do have friends who kept their children in pullups until they were nearly 5, mostly due to bedtime liquids.

I do realize there are genuine times where their throat is dry and they need a sip of water. Our guideline was only the amount of water that could be sipped out of a dixie cup was allowed after a certain time of night.


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RE: 3yr old still using bottle at night!

Update: We have finally quit the bottle. The nights were becoming more and more difficult, and the requests for bottles more and more frequent. I was changing 3-4 diapers a night and getting about that many bottles for her.

My husband and I discussed it, and it was time. We discussed it with DD and she seemed okay about it. Last night she slept completely through the night!!! It was great. She was a little hesitant at first, but we bought her a few plastic dinasours as a reward after the first night, and now she is definetly on board. She also enjoys when we tell her how "proud we are/that she is a big girl." So glad we were finally able to stop this habit 5 months before the birth of #2!!!


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RE: 3yr old still using bottle at night!

My 3 year old DD goes to bed with half bottle warm milk,we sing wee willie winkie,we all (the whole family)! kiss her good-night, I close the door and she happily goes to sleep and wakes at 6:45. My other DD, now 14 went to bed the same way. The day before she started school at age 4 (was in England), I told her that she can throw the bottle away and have a cup of warm milk before going to bed because she is going to school the next day and is too big for a bottle now. She was fine with this and it worked, though she was a little sad and still remembers having felt a little sad about it.She's a fab daughter and has great teeth! I think its fine if the child is happy with it, its not too problematic for the parents and the child always uses the toilet before bed and 1st thing on waking.
My 3 year old is always dry at night but I keep her potty and tissues next to her bed so she can go straight away in the morning.


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RE: 3yr old still using bottle at night!

I think it helps to know that kids this age still have a physiological need to suckle. If they're not nursing (which is biologically normal though uncommon in the West) they may well still feel a need for a bottle. If there is resistance to losing the bottle, maybe the timing isn't right. And if it's just water, little harm.

With weanings of all kinds, when a child says "no" over and over, the child is practicing saying no! Not very productive. It helps to think of practices and routines in which the child practices "yes" or otherwise makes good choices.

It's so nice to meet kids needs gently, soon enough they take bigger steps.


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RE: 3yr old still using bottle at night!

Glad you were able to get her off the bottle! Just wanted to share. My one son, now 27 years old, also took water in a bottle. The way we broke him was we "lost" all but one bottle, then I poked a hole in the bottle. That night he brought it out to me and showed me the hole.......and told me his bed was all wet. Well, we changed the sheets, he tried using the empty bottle, but threw it away himself the next day. That's how we did it.
Kathy G in MI


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