17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Monday, March 20, 2006

My Son is a Milk-aholic

DS and I visited Utah at the BEGINNING of January, over two months ago, and ever since then DS has only slept through the night ONCE. Yes, thats right people. One time, and it was last night. the night we took away mr. pacifier. Coincidence? maybe. maybe not. but thats beside the point.

I am not really sure what started the sleep upset, maybe the time change, or maybe he missed grandma. But I am starting to think it directly relates to an addiction he's been harboring. One which has currently hit an all time high: M.I.L.K.
DS LOVES, LOVES, LOVES his milk. Now Ive heard all the horror stories about milk and whats really is in it. And I love everything about organic, but i cant AFFORD organic, so DS fills up on regular ol' grocery store, puss-in-the-glass, Vitamin D fortified Milk. And even this milk is not cheap. But he drinks it like it is. He has gone through a gallon in the last three days. At 4$ a gallon that is one EXPENSIVE kid. you would think he has hit SUV status by how much fills his tank.
So this sleep / milk dance we do every single night goes something like this:

8pm: in bed with full cup of M.I.L.K and blanket (and now currently no pacifier. Yeh!).
Talks, Laughs and sings in bed for about half hour.
8:30p: Starts screaming a little on and off, mixed with babble for another half hour
9pm: Now screams like he is really mad so...

I Break down and go in to comfort him. I find him completely naked! Pillow, blanket, jammies, and diaper all on the floor. The sheet of the bed completely soiled with one or both types of "soiling"! (ok this doesnt happen every night, but enough to keep me frustrated)

9-9:30p Change everything! Put him in something more complicated to remove. (havent had to put diapers on backwards....yet!)
9:30 Back down with ONE full sippy cup of M.I.L.K.
He babbles for another hour. Slows down so much i actually think he is asleep until:

10pm. starts screaming and whining again! Go in to comfort him. He points repeatedly to his sippy cup...just in case i didnt understand that he wants more...

10pm: Down again with another full cup of M.I.L.K.
Hear a few peeps out of him from 10-11p. There are times i actually think he is sleeping. Some of the time he actually IS! But most of the time he isnt. And then its another trip to the fridge. SO at this point usually its midnight and he FINALLY passes out, until...

4AM: DS starts crying! Put him back down with one full cup of milk.
5AM: DS starts crying! Put him BACK down with one full cup of milk.
6am: Yes you guessed it. More crying and more milk. and possibly more lovely diaper issues

by aound 6:30 he finally falls back to sleep, but is so tired he sleeps in late and we miss all early appts. and play dates.

Starts all over again the next day.

So you see. Not only is my son a sleep striker...he is a milk-oholic. And lucky mommy has been loosing even MORE sleep with the fact that his eating habits has his 12 month pants getting bigger NOT smaller. (and YES, he is way too old for 12m pants!)
The pediatrician says not to worry. So hes a picky eater. WHAT?? I would say its more than that! This kid is a freak! No food and all milk. Its almost too much to bear the thought of another night...and yet they keep on comin. thats the fun of it!
So as i sit and type this, when I really thought he was sleeping, he just screamed out. DH has finally come home and they are now in there playing and laughing. (GRRR its 11pm!)

oh, I hear the milk coming out of the fridge....


  • Just a few thoughts...

    He might have figured out that if he screams enough than he gets his milk. So, he screams. Maybe if he doesn't get it, he'll think his efforts aren't worth it anymore. It'll make for some interesting nights, but he'll eventually get the picture.

    Another thought is maybe all that milk is not agreeing with him. He could love the taste, but the body doesn't. I guess I'm curious to know how that much damage all that lactose could do...I mean, I'm all for milk, but in moderation, you know? So maybe his tummy is upset and in his infant mind he doesn't realize it's upset because of his favorite drink.

    This is one I haven't had to deal with before...good luck! I really hope it gets better...
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 3/20/2006 06:43:00 AM  

  • Hi there, just the dental hygienist part of me chiming in here. . .be careful about how much milk he's having at night. If you put him down to go to sleep with it (and he's sipping on it all night long) he's at a huge increased risk for cavities. Don't worry, it's not just a one time deal, but over time if he's having that much all night long. It's not so much the amount he's getting but the exposure time he has to it.

    Ok, now for me the mom, it is definitely not easy to take away the things they want. It's much easier to hold them while they sleep when they're little and just give them what they want so they'll go to sleep (my kids were binky freaks. . . we finally gave them to Santa Claus, just like I did when I was little). I'd agree with Cheryl that he's probably figured out that if he screams he'll get it. .

    Hopefully it's just a "phase" he's going through, trying to readjust to life after a trip, no binky, etc. I hope things change for the better soon. . .and hey at least he'll have strong bones right??
    posted by Blogger wendysue at 3/20/2006 07:23:00 AM  

  • Wow ksl. That's a crazy one. I'm so sorry about the sleepless nights. It's so hard to be a happy mom when you haven't slept. My neice was a milk girl too. Never took to food--just milk all day long. She was a TWIG!! But even with her food strike and skinniness her doc (like yours) didn't wig out over it. So, I'd be calm about your child's health, but I know the sleep issue will be harder to be calm about. For a while I was told to beef up DS's caloric intake so I added nestle quik or powdered milk to his milk. You could try that to see if the extra calories help him be fuller (maybe last longer between bottles). And I second the motions to try crying it out (though don't kill yourself/him over it) and watch for the teeth issues. Good luck--keep us updated.
    posted by Blogger Katie at 3/20/2006 08:33:00 AM  

  • I went through this same thing with my DS not so long ago (he is now 3). He LOVED his milk and whenever he had a meltdown or woke up in the night we gave him what made him happy - MILK. Once he hit 2 1/2 I decided to change our patterns with him and we let him "cry it out" - it took a few nights/mornings but he got it. We were finally the ones in charge again.

    As far as milk over food, I decided that I would only offer milk AFTER food had been eaten (this started a few months ago). Again, this took a few days but he learned that if he wanted his precious milk, breakfast, lunch and dinner would have to be eaten. Now he actually has an appetite for food and we have to remind him to drink his milk after a meal.

    Good luck - you'll figure out the right combination for Mr. milk-aholic!
    posted by Blogger chloe at 3/20/2006 09:58:00 AM  

  • Love all the suggestions so far.

    I have a few tidbits:

    1. Milk is an appetite-suppresent. This is what my doc told me. This is why having a glass of milk with my carnation instant breakfast in the morning, actually makes me feel full for quite a while. I agree with Chloe's suggestion of milk after food. Even if you only serve him one food (his favorite) for a while to get him used to eating. After all, he isn't getting any variety with JUST milk. Also, maybe sitting down and making more of a ritual out of meals might help him. Sit down for all three meals, and even if he doesn't eat at first, he will see a pattern and want to eat with you eventually.

    2. I am a full blown convert to the Ferber Method. I agree to let him cry, but I know this is hard for you drama queen quilter, so see #3.

    3. Click here for a great article on the non-crying training thing. I saw super nanny use this and it worked.

    4. I think consistancy is key here for you and the DH and the boy. Decide what the rules are: Binky or not? Milk or not? What time can he have his milk? What time will he go to bed no matter what? When is the earliest that we will get him out of his crib in the morning? Write the rules down if you need to, and buy ear plugs. No matter how much he cries (if you do my method), the worst that will happen is that he will throw up and none of you will sleep for several hours. This is ok. Just stick to your ground rules and think of the future.

    5. Give DS some credit. He is smart...and VERY trainable. He just needs you to stick to your guns....

    6. Sleep tight.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 3/20/2006 10:32:00 AM  

  • My girl had a milk addiction, at 18 months she never wanted food just milk so the Doc said only three cups of milk a day with the meals and no juice. It was harder on us than her but we survived that battle. ( The cups of milk are actually a "cup" not the suv size sippy's). I feel for you and wish you luck on this one.
    posted by Blogger Heather at 3/20/2006 01:00:00 PM  

  • On a brighter note..I must commend you for at least getting your son to take a sippy cup...My sweet Milk-aholic tosses the sippy cup at me and screams ba-ba...I fear that we may be heading for a stand off soon.....Good Luck!
    posted by Blogger Tri Mama at 3/20/2006 01:03:00 PM  

  • Errr....would it at least be comforting to know that he's getting enough calcium? I can't force enough milk down my 22-month-old (though I admittedly wouldn't want to go where you are with the addiction!)
    posted by Anonymous Amber at 3/20/2006 01:09:00 PM  

  • This is a control issue, not a milk-loving issue (although I will admit he does seem to like the stuff). He's testing you, to see how long he can stay awake and how much milk he can get. And since it's late at night, and you're tired, he's winning.

    Also, a lot of milk increases urine production at night,(take it from a mother of a bedwetter) so decreasing the milk might help with the soiling issues.

    I agree with the sleep training comments, and maybe you could take him to a dentist or a doctor, and if he hears an authority figure (other than his parents) tell him he can only have water at night, he might comply. My girls often won't listen to me, but if their dentist tells them to stop, then no problemo. It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy, knowing how much they respect me....
    posted by Blogger The Wiz at 3/20/2006 01:36:00 PM  

  • Ahhhh ksl, I'm so sorry. Having been in the trenches of a major sleep war myself for the past 4 months, I feel your intense pain.

    The truth is that all of these things might work, and then again none of them might work. Sometimes the problems are things we can fix by changing something we're doing, and I think I'm figuring out that sometimes it just comes down to something your little guy has to work out. I'll keep my fingers crossed for that first one! It's worth trying everything you can.

    That said, here's my advice on the evening portion of yoru problem!

    1. Put him in footed jammies, on backwards (you can twist the feet around or cut them off). And if the neckhole is loose, use a diaper pin to close up the opening a bit. That way no matter how long you leave him in there, you know he won't be pulling any diaper houdini manuvers. Those just make EVERYTHING worse. Also, I swear by Huggies Overnites diapers - they really and truly are more absorbent, so you don't have as soggy a little boy.

    2. I am a big fan of the cry it out as well. If your little guy is as strong-willed as Max, it might not work, but as kage says, the worst that happens is that he throws up. Yes, you'll feel awful, but it is okay and he is okay. And if not, then the other method she mentioned is a good one as well (I saw the same supernanny episode). I've tried this one as well, and it takes just as much patience and willpower as the crying method, you just have to be in the room with the little guy and keep yourself together! (for that reason, I find the first method easier, but whatever works for you...)

    3. I know that living in an apartment makes this hard, but especially in the middle of the night I think you've got to let him get himself back to sleep. You can do what Chloe did once - go knock on your neighbor's door with a plate of cookies and apologize ahead of time as a warning that there will be some crying. Tell them it means 4 days of pain and then it's all over (you desperately hope).

    4. Also I second Kage's call for consistency. Whatever path you choose, you and DH have to be on it together, and try to stay with a single method for 3 or 4 days before giving up and moving on to the next one. Trying something new every night will just confuse things.

    I know that most of this is stuff you have heard already, so if nothing else just know that you are not a bad mommy and that we all suffer these phases with our kids.
    posted by Blogger marian at 3/20/2006 04:31:00 PM  

  • Thanks for all your advice ladies. I am in the process of trying a few and things are getting better. He has now slept through the night four out of five nights this past week (yes, this post is old) I gave him back his binkie but have very strick rules that it can only be used in his bed and he is very good about leaving it there. The other issue i think is his bed time. I think he really hasnt been tired and has a lot of time to sit in his crib, cry scream and take his clothes off. All of which get him more worked up. Tonight he went to bed at 9 ish and was asleep by 10:30. Only an hour of waiting (but no crying!) and only one cup of milk. We will see if he sleeps through.
    I really thought I would have more know-how, and control when raising my kids, but i see now i was just a DUMB FOOL...
    posted by Blogger ksl at 3/20/2006 09:31:00 PM  

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