Posted by: Anon | 2010/05/26


Fluid intake

Please can you advise, I have a two and a half year old who is/was very attached to his bottle. The problem started due to him being quite sickly over a long period of time and a habit of drinking milk throughout the night was formed. At two and a half this is a huge problem as he wakes up once or twice a night demanding a milk bottle and I can see this is having an impact on his teeth even though we brush each morning and night. Up until three days ago he had a bottle before bed, one or two bottles during the night and a bottle when he woke up. During the day he has a cup or sippy cup but drinks very little from these. He is happy to drink water but will only take a sip at a time and during the whole course of the day he never drinks more that 100 to 150mls of fluid. I have tried tea, milk, nesquick, juices and it is the same unless it comes out of a bottle he just does not drink that much and never asks for anything to drink. Three days ago I went cold turkey with the bottle. I tried not giving him the bottle during the night at first but if he knows the bottle is there he will tantrum until he gets it so my only option was to get rid of all the bottles so there is no turning back. Since then he has asked for the bottle but strangely enough has not screamed or cried for it. I explain nicely that he is a big boy and has big boy cups now and give him lots of praise and hugs and kisses. He is fine and has not even woken up during the night but I can see he is a little sad or confused and I am feeling terrible about it and I am worried this is going to have an emotional or psychological effect on him? Can this happen? My other worry is that even without the bottle he hardly drinks. Last night we managed to get him to drink about 150mls of milk before bedtime but during the day if he had 50mls of water out of his sippy cup it was a lot. This morning he had a sip of milk and refused anything else. Is this healthy? How much fluid is vital for his age?
Just as a history - he is mostly a fussy eater as well and will never ask for food even if I know he is hungry. I am always walking behind him offering him snacks and meals. He eats a well balanced diet but with much effort on my behalf. Is he just lazy to eat and drink?
Thank you.

Expert's Reply



You have done a good job with your son's rather difficult eating ahabits to date. You have even managed to wean him off the bottles. He is taking too little fluid as he needs about 100ml per kilogram per day at his age. The main thing from now on must be to relax and not to try to give your son any food or drink that he does not want. He must join the family at all meals and feed himself. Give him his own cup of milk[200ml] in the morning and evening at the table.Do not say a word if he leaves any food or drink over.Offer him fluids during snacktime in the morning and evening. He should only be given anything to drink at these times and possibly one cup during the night which you also need to stop as soon as you can.

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