Toddler Sleep Problems: My Child Needs a Milk Cup at Night AND a Parent Lying Down With Her!

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  • November 14, 2012

Would you like to have me answer your sleep question in my next video? If so, scroll down and submit your question in the comment section below. I will pick several questions a month to answer and post them here on the blog!

If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s video:

Hi. Kim West, the Sleep Lady. And today, I’m answering Leah’s question:

“Gosh, I don’t even know where to begin. I feel like we have so many issues right now. Our daughter is 28 months old. The first issue is that I have to lay with her to go to sleep. I tried the sitting on the edge of the bed idea. She would lay down initially but then she decided that she just wanted to sit up too.

Second, she still wants a sippy cup of milk at bedtime, sometimes asking for up to three cups. I say no, but then she thinks of anything she can to stay awake. She asks for water, snacks, a bow, different clothes, she needs a blanket, her puppy needs a blanket, her baby needs a blanket, and on and on.

And last, she doesn’t want anything to do with my husband, her dad. She is definitely a mama’s girl through and through. If he tries to help, it just makes it worst. I know I can’t break all of these bad habits at once. So I just don’t even know where to start.”

Leah, I am going to help you figure out where to start, but you are going to have to address a few of these issues at the same time. You are going to have to teach your daughter how to put herself to sleep and wean her off the sippy cup at bedtime and during the night. Remember that the milk cup is no longer working as a sleep crutch which I find is really common. After a while our children out grow their sleep crutch or the sleep crutch stops working and they start asking for more and more milk or another sleep crutch. Its like she needs more sucking time in order to put herself into drowsy state.

The other reason why I want you to wean her off the sippy cup is because you don’t want her falling asleep with milk on her teeth. Believe me, I’ve had plenty of two, three and four-year-olds in my practice, who get cavities. Another reason you want to address the sippy cup while working on improving your daughter’s sleep.

You could start gradually, where you just have a sippy cup at bedtime with a rule that there will be no more refills. When you are sitting next to her bed in a chair or on the floor (not sitting ON her bed) do not engage with her and follow the rules of the Sleep Lady Shuffle. I don’t want you talking and getting her all the other items she requests. Blame everything on me! Create a very simple sleep manner chart, for example have only three rules; such as, cooperate at bedtime, lie quietly in bed and stays in bed until the wake-up light comes on. Keep it simple since she’s not quite two and a half years old and I’m not sure how much she’s going to understand. Please know that this may take a little bit longer because she’s on the younger side being in a bed, okay?

The Sleep Lady Shuffle is perfect for her at this age. Hopefully she is napping and has a reasonable bedtime for her age. Read this article about typical sleep averages and schedules by age. You can start with one milk cup at bedtime only and tell her that after bedtime there will be no more milk cups during that night. She can have a sippy cup of water by her bed during the night but again no refills. I want you to have a goal in terms of how many days you will allow her to have a milk cup at bedtime and then you transition to only water in her bedroom. You can tell her “From now on we’re only having water in your sippy cup in your room. We only have milk down stairs or milk with dinner (or milk in the kitchen area depending on whether you live in a one story house or an apartment)”. And be prepared for a tantrum! You can blame it on me and say, “The Sleep Lady said, we can’t have any more milk in our bed, because it’s not good for our teeth,” which after all is the truth!

In terms of your question regarding your daughter rejecting your husband, you know, usually they prefer the “softie”. So, that might be you? Just be aware that if you tend to give in or feel bad, then she’s going to work you because she knows it works. If that’s not the issue, then I would just slowly incorporate your husband into the bedtime routine. Have him join you for reading books or telling stories, but you always give the final kiss and the final tuck in for a while. Often as our children grow and develop this stage changes and before you know it she’ll be a daddy’s girl!

I hope that helps. And remember to stay consistent, once you get started.

Sweet dreams!
Kim
The Sleep Lady

Video filmed by In Focus Studios

If you have successfully weaned your child off of a milk cup and lying down with her, please encourage Leah to get started! Please feel free to click the “reply” link under this article and leave them a comment. Supporting each other makes parenting so much easier!

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2 Comments

  • Mommybear says:

    Help!!! My daughter is 4 months old. She was sleeping in a rocker becasue she had a cold for a bout 2 weeks and it was easier for her to breathe sitting up-right. When she was in there for two weeks she slept 7-8 hours straight!! She is now sleeping in her bed (has been since about 2 months old) and she was doing 5 hours straight waking at 130 then 430 to eat goes right back to bed. We tried waking her before we went to bed at 1130 for her to eat and she would wake at 230 and then 530 to eat. Tried a white noise, nothing. Now she goes down at about 8 has 6 oz formula, wakes at 12 then 3 then 630!!! In a day from 12amto 12pm she eats almost 42-44 oz of formual in a day!!!

  • Mommybear says:

    Help!!! My daughter is 4 months old. She was sleeping in a rocker becasue she had a cold for a bout 2 weeks and it was easier for her to breathe sitting up-right. When she was in there for two weeks she slept 7-8 hours straight!! She is now sleeping in her bed (has been since about 2 months old) and she was doing 5 hours straight waking at 130 then 430 to eat goes right back to bed. We tried waking her before we went to bed at 1130 for her to eat and she would wake at 230 and then 530 to eat. Tried a white noise, nothing. Now she goes down at about 8 has 6 oz formula, wakes at 12 then 3 then 630!!! In a day from 12amto 12pm she eats almost 42-44 oz of formual in a day!!!