20 answers

Middle of the Night Hungry Toddler!

Ok Ladies Help!! My 20 month old is an unusual toddler--he eats! He eats all the good stuff--very balanced meals/snacks. He eats so well my friends with toddlers are jealous! So the last few nights around 5am he is awake and hungry! This also happened 2 nights in a row, 2 weeks ago. He normally wakes around 7-730am. I go in and try to rock him back to sleep--He's saying "momma mulk(milk), momma cheese, nana(banana), bapple(apple). It's like he is going down the list of things he wants. Only a full cup of milk makes things better. Some mornings he will go back to sleep with me, in the daybed, in his room. Sometimes we are up for the day.

We have tried: extra milk, Pediasure-he doesn't like, Instant Breakfast-he doesn't like. He normally eats dinner around 6pm and goes to bed 745 or 8pm. He is a big boy 95% hgt and wt. People think he is 2 1/2!! I have seen lately he is starting to stretch out taller and thinner--I have had to tighten down his adjustable waist jeans!! Is this just a major growth spurt or what???

Oh yeah--he is VERY active during the day!!

Any suggestions are appreciated!! We need our rest back and so does he!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My 19 month old girl did this a couple of weeks ago. I couldnt believe it. I gave her bread and water as she requested and it hasnt happened again.She went back to sleep. I dont have any advice, I just wanted to let you know that you arent alone.

I have a very large & active 19 month old boy. He has gone through stages where for a week or so, I assume at a growth time. He wakes up early and signs & crys for juice & a bannana. It is usually at like 5:30 or 6Am. You can see his belly is empty by how loose his diaper will be on his belly from when he went to sleep. My husband & I have not seen it as a problem to give him an early morning snack. He will usually either go right back to sleep or play for about 30 minutes and then go back to sleep. I can't see starving him if he is hungry.

More Answers

adding some healthy fats and proteins throughout the day will help him keep up with his appetite. we love a smoothie for a filling snack, maybe the bedtime one. full-fat plain yogurt (we use goat), frozen peaches or berries, a little honey, some flaxseed oil, and vanilla. dump in the blender and enjoy.

try adding in guacamole on his morning eggs or sliced on a sandwich. add nut butters on any baked goods or granola. hummus is high-calorie and very nutritious, my son LOVES it. it has that wonderful sesame-seed paste--tahini--with the seed oils.

hope you can sleep in again soon!

I must first say, that I would not start a bad habit of putting a cup in his crib....that is a bad habit to break. My son is 18 months and we eat around 6 and by 7 or a little after he is wanting a snack as he is hungry which he eats well for the most part at dinner. If you give him a snack around 7:30 I think you will notice a big change. perhaps a banana would be good before bed because of the potassium or a nutrigrain bar. My son makes it throught the night and is very hungry in the morning. He eats a banana or nutrigrain bar on the way to daycare and then eats breakfast there about an hour or so later. Good luck!

I have a very large & active 19 month old boy. He has gone through stages where for a week or so, I assume at a growth time. He wakes up early and signs & crys for juice & a bannana. It is usually at like 5:30 or 6Am. You can see his belly is empty by how loose his diaper will be on his belly from when he went to sleep. My husband & I have not seen it as a problem to give him an early morning snack. He will usually either go right back to sleep or play for about 30 minutes and then go back to sleep. I can't see starving him if he is hungry.

I'm not a nutritionist, but I think if you add a bedtime snack, you might try making it high in protein - cheese, milk, peanut butter, maybe even a hard-boiled egg. In my experience, protein (and fat) keeps you satisfied longer than carbs. When kids are growing, sometimes it's hard to keep up with them - count your blessings that he's a good eater and he's healthy! Good luck!

My girls are now almost 7 and 4. For many years, they have both eaten huge snacks right before going to bed -- often a sandwich or a bowl of oatmeal plus fruit, apple slices with all natural crunchy peanut butter, etc. They are big (but not overweight), active kids who eat huge snacks between meals. They are starving if they don't. I don't give them any junk food at all.

Just give your son a big, healthy snack before brushing his teeth and he should be fine.

Sounds like maybe a growth spurt. That should pass soon. IF not, you might want to try to give him a snack before bedtime. Yogurt, popcorn puffs (cheetos makes them), etc. And see if that will keep his belly content till morning!!

Good luck!
S.

My 19 month old girl did this a couple of weeks ago. I couldnt believe it. I gave her bread and water as she requested and it hasnt happened again.She went back to sleep. I dont have any advice, I just wanted to let you know that you arent alone.

J.--I have got three boys, one just a month younger than yours--the other two are 13 and 7--and a ten year old girl....but I find that kids are WAY better than adults about regulating their eating and if we would just let them handle it--they well. as a rule a child that young does not eat for anything other than hunger.---he is not mindlessly eating, or eating for comfort....like say, I would)

I think that kids handle "bad' foods better. My thirteen year old will still only eat a half bag of peanut m & m's and toss the rest. The same with all candy and junk.) So I let them have it if they want it, because I think that forbidden food is a bad thing.

Your little angel is eating early and going to bed; it is a long time for little people--with FAST metabolisms--to go without food.

It sounds like a growth spurt to me. So feed him. It will pass. Especially if he is eating good foods for that early meal. Make sure he has some extra protein and whole grain with that last meal of the day.

My Michael is also HUGE...16 months and 30 pounds, he also looks like he is 2 1/2...and outweighs several three year olds that we know!

Good luck.

I would have to agree with the other moms. If he drinks the milk and goes back to sleep, then that is a good thing. My son was up before daylight most days until he was 10, so if he will at least try to go back to sleep, I would be happy with that! ;-) Sounds like you just have yourself a growing boy on your hands! :-)

Good luck!

Like everyone else, I agree this is a growth spurt in action. Try giving him more filling carbohydrates before bedtime in healthy forms, of course. I agree if he drinks some milk early a.m. and goes back to sleep, that's about as good as you can expect really, though. This will probably pass once he has gotten through this growth spurt and he will return to sleeping til later again.

hi J.,
some kids get up really early when they are napping during he day...unless you refuse the milk consistently, he won't stop asking for it...so either give him a cup of milk in bed at five, and leave him there to go back to sleep. (i know lots of moms will disagree...but if he's getting up soon anyway, it won't matter..)...their schedules change so frequently as they grow...the only other thing i could suggest is to make sure he has a filling snack right before bed...

Hi J.,
Your baby has very high metabolism which means he burns off a lot more fat than you and i would. It is just a growth spurt so yes i would feed him too. When children are more active they tend to eat more. Hope i helped.

Sounds pretty normal to me! Growth spurts don't follow any rules. My kids would sleep for days, eat like crazy-OR- act like they are starving and then I can'tkeep enough of ANY food in the house. Next thing I know, the clothes they wore last week are 4 inches short or stuck on their heads because they don't pull down over it!

With growth spurts, I've noticed my kids habits change. Not so much at 10 & 17 but when they were under 6/7 yrs, each spurt made changes...they would eat a little more, drink another gallon of milk, etc. Remember, too, they change their likes and dislikes frequently. A food they couldn't live without suddenly becomes YUCK- usually right after you've purchased stock in that particular food, too.

My 17 yr old has slept, eaten, slept and eaten for the last 2 years with no growth spurt attached. He has at least one more still to go and I'm dreading the day he wakes up and hits his head on the door frame- he's already 6' 3". I think, so far, he's only gained 1/2 - 3/4 inch in those 2 years. For the amount of food, milk and sleep he's plowed through, he should be 20 feet tall!

Be glad he's eating healthy stuff and gets plenty of excercise. The spurts do fade away, until the next one, and as long as the rest of him is healthy, relax and enjoy.

I second the small snack (toast or something starchy) before bedtime. We had to do something similar with our first son. We did it mostly because he was underweight. He would wake up crazy hungry in the morning. Always remember that their appetites will come and go as they grow.

Try putting a sippy cup with water in his crib that may curb his hunger for a little while. If that doesn't work and if he's not obese feed him. If a quick half bottle/cup will hold him over give it to him, he's gone 8-9 hours w/out food. Why torture yourself and him? (I don't recommend giving milk bottles in bed over night, don't want bottle-rot teeth.)
I have 3 girls and my boy is the youngest, now 5, he eats WAY more than my girls did. He even finishes the food off their plates at dinner and he's not overweight at all. You just have a growing boy and he's HUNGRY!

It sounds like a growth spurt to me as well. You also have to remember that they have very little stomachs and 10 hours is a long time to go without eating. Imagine you ate half a hot dog and then went 10 hours without eating something. That's a long time to go even for adults. Try a snack before bed and if your child still gets up then a glass of milk or a little snack won't hurt. That's what I did with my son. If he's hungry then I feed him. Case closed. My son is also active through the day. My son also was in the high percentile and has now averaged out. We eat when we are hungry, eat healthy that is. I hope this helps.

As long as he eats/drinks something and returns to sleep, I would not worry and assume it is a growth spurt. If he doesn't seem to want to eat/drink and wants to stay awake, he may just be "working you". More than likely, it is a growth spurt so I would not worry. Give him a snack and then right back to bed. My daughter has gone through this a couple of times (she will be 3 in January). It should pass in a week or so.

YES!!! feed that baby... LOL you should be happy he has a great appetite... If he is hungry feed him.. It is just a growth spurt.

Somewhere between 1 and 2 years old, we had hungry kids in the night. Our solution was to give them what basically turned into 2 dinners. We might backup their regular dinner to 5ish, whatever worked for our schedule. But then added a "bedtime snack" that often looked like a full meal just before bed. I think for us, it tended to coincide with when they were feeding themselves more, little finger foods, etc. They wanted to feed themselves, but then they would get tired or bored of it before they managed to get enough calories. An extra "meal" time was a little more work, but better than losing sleep! And my 4 yr olds and 2 yr old no longer require this schedule. I should mention that we are more of a 3-meal family with not a lot of snacks. If you already have 2 or 3 regular snack times through the day, this not work the same for you. Good luck, and I hope some of this is helpful.

Hi J.

I don't know if this will help but, my routine with my 2 year old daughters is to eat dinner around 5 or 5:30pm and then at 7:30 they get a full yogurt with some water. This holds them over all night and when they wake up around 6:30 or 7am, we eat breakfast as soon as I can cook it. They seem to be good with this. The yogurt is heavy enough to keep them full all night. I am not sure if it is the right thing to do but, it works for us. Good luck!!!

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