Banishing the Bottle

“Can I have Baba Milk Mammy?” These words have haunted my life for the past 18 months. Being screamed at by a toddler at all hours of the day & night for a Baba Milk.

Like an addict looking for his fix, he would wake numerous times a night & howl until he got his bottle.

Ironically, the same child was reluctant to go near a bottle at all when the time came to get off the boob. Oh how things changed.

Night wakings are something I have already written/ranted about (here if you are bothered!). It has just been constant since he was 6 months old. He’s almost 3 and I’m in my early 30’s but I feel like I’m in my 80’s with the lack of sleep, so I felt that this week, something had to give.

On the advice of a friend, I started looking at some sleep experts’ advice, and a lot of what they mentioned was sleep associations. So far with my little buster, its been PJ’s, bottle, bed. Only recently we managed to move the bottle to the couch rather than the bed, which was a good start, but his brain was still firmly in the mode of “Bottle=Sleep”.

As a consequence, any time he woke, he expected the bottle, because it seemed he thought he couldn’t sleep without it. Makes sense when you break it down. Same went for naptime during the day, the bottle always made an appearance in the pre-nap negotiations.

With a fire under my arse in the hopes of better sleep all round, I decided it was time to grab the bull by the horns and get rid of these bottles once and for all.

Day 1; Bedtime arrived, he had had a decent nap that day so he was in good form, I said right, let’s do this. It came to milk o’clock, and I said to him, you can have your milk in a cup tonight like your big brother… cue the ear-splitting scream & tears on demand… I had tried this before with zero success, I wasn’t willing to be defeated again.

I stood firm. “Come on now, you pick which cup you like”, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” “Ok then, you can have this cup, will you help me pour in the milk?” “Ya Mammy”. And the milk was poured in, the lid went on, and off he trotted with the beaker. Then he looked at big bro, and told me to take off the lid, so I did, and he supped away, not a bother on him.

Of course as soon as that was drank… “Can I have a baba milk Mammy?”… and the big puppy dog eyes! I just brushed it off, told him he had his milk in his cup already & up the stairs we went.

He slept fairly well, didn’t even scream once for a bottle. Not so bad! But I didn’t count my chickens…

Day 2; Naptime came around, and there was a meltdown. I had messaged a friend with a newborn, asked her to send me a video of the baby, then showed it to my little man & we talked about sending his bottles to the new baby because she needs them for her milk… he was full of enthusiasm! So I told him the postman had come this morning & he is taking the bottles to the baby. All good, no drama.

Two minutes later… “Mammy, can I have a baba milk…?!” And the aforementioned meltdown began. But I got around him.

He had his milk in one of my cups, which he chose himself… one of my nice, floral, DELICATE, china cups! He drank it up, and we negotiated our way up for the nap. Bedtime was no bother, he had his beaker like his big bro…and he slept all night. ALL. NIGHT. I may have started counting a few small chicks at this point. #winning

Day 3; Naptime; no drama. Bedtime was fine. He did wake twice during the night but there was no screaming, looked for the bottle once but didn’t freak out when he wasn’t getting it.

In my head, not unlike potty training or ditching the dummy, there is no going back once you make one of these changes. Of course they need to be ready, but if we as parents don’t take the reins, it might not ever happen naturally. That’s the way it has gone in my house to date anyways. Some people wait for them to “grow out of” whatever it is. That doesn’t work with my two. Big bro gave his dummy away on his 4th birthday, and he would still have it today if we didn’t make the decision to call time on it.

A few days in, I feel like we are over the hump now. The “B” word has barely been mentioned since Day 2. Another parenting hurdle jumped.

Now I just hope I haven’t jinxed us back into the sleepless milk-filled nights!

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