Our daughter just turned 2 and it has been since 8 months since she has been weaned off breast milk. She now drinks whole milk. On some nights she sleeps through the night but on some nights she wakes up crying between 1 and 3 AM. We usually have to give her a bottle to put her back to sleep.

In this post, it suggested that we feed her more during the day to prevent her from waking up at night. But if she does wake up, is it better to let her cry (so she gets used to not getting the bottle at night) or better to feed her or better to try and put her back to sleep without feeding (this last option is not easy for us or her).

I feel sorry for her to let her cry in the night but at the same time, my wife and I would like a good night's sleep as well.

  • Did u try to offer her water instead of milk? she might be thirsty not hungry, even grownups would wake up thirsty at night and drink some water.
    – Zeina
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 9:39

3 Answers 3


If you should or should not let her cry it out is completely up to you (obviously). There is a lot of research on crying out loud, most of what I hear lately tells that crying out loud is harmfull ( https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201112/dangers-crying-it-out ) Ofcourse a lot of people tell something different, but my opinion (personal experience) is that most of them only say because they don't want to hear the opposite.

Most of the toddlers don't need the calories, so you can try to change the milk with water and see if that works to make her sleep. Even if she keeps waking up sometimes it lowers the chance of cariës.

And it will get better with time :) My daughter woke up every night when she was 2. With 3,5 it suddenly stopped. We never let her cry herself to sleep :)

  • I know so many adults with no ill effects from having cried for a few minutes at night for a few days until they learned to fall asleep on their own. Obviously, excessive crying for many days, and parents not going to comfort their child at intervals, is not recommended.
    – Rachel S
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 18:07
  • Turns out that it's not so "obvious", with "Let them cry until they fall asleep, even if takes them hours" going around as advice in many places. I would only wish it were that obvious to everyone that letting your baby cry that long is a terrible idea...
    – Erik
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 18:11

At age 2, she almost certainly doesn't need the calories to get through the night. Most babies reach that point at about 6 months. She needs to learn how to soothe herself to sleep, and you need to give her the opportunity to learn.


Agree with swbarnes2. At that age, eating more by day will not help her not be hungry at night. Does it make a difference to you at night whether you ate more by day? No. Because your body was taught to not require feeding in the middle of the night. Children at that age do not need to drink milk in the middle of the night. There will be occasions where your child may need an extra drink or two such as during the summer, or after a salty dinner, but not every single night.

She needs to be sleep trained to avoid waking up at that hour. Personally, I'm a fan of controlled crying. I let my child cry for up to five minutes, at which point I go in there and calm him down without picking him up. Then I leave. Repeat as needed. From my own experience and those of my family and friends, following this approach generally worked after 3-5 days. The end result? You taught your child how to fall asleep on his own without needing a bottle.

You can also try a pacifier, if she takes one.

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