Something I say all the time when it comes to my kids is, "It's not a problem until it's a problem." Well when it comes to my littles taking sippy cups to bed at night... MAMA, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!
My little girl went straight from nursing to using a sippy cup (she was a real peach and never took a bottle), and you can pretty much always see her with a sippy in her hands. One of the first words she said was "ju-juice!" because she's constantly drinking something.
Both my kids are good sleepers and when we stopped nursing, they both slept through the night no problem. Buuuuuuut, since Sienna girl is such a nasty teether, we got in the habit while she was teething (which is literally every couple of weeks) of giving her something to drink when she would wake up at night to help her fall back asleep.
I just went on a trip to my parent's house last week and she pretty much took a sippy to bed with her every night. Now we're home, and she has woken up twice a night every night and I am losing. my. mind.
So I've decided to go back to the basics and work on ditching the sippy at night!
One of the main problems with putting our little girl to bed with her sippy cup is that whenever she wakes up at night and sees it there with her in her crib, she'll expect it to be full. But the chances are she's already drained it right before she fell asleep, so she's going to cry just because she was expecting some night midnight refreshment and she's being let down.
I'm going to try a couple different things to help her "replace" the comfort that she gets from her sippy so that when she wakes up at night, she'll be able to use those to help her sleep and not miss the sippy.
Plushies are a great way to give your little something to cuddle and squeeze if they're waking up at night, and you can get them in basically any animal, shape, color that you think your babe will like most. Our babe is obsessed with babies lately, so getting her a dolly will probably be my move.
I also need to consider that she's using the sippy cup when she's cutting teeth and they're bugging her at night. So replacing her cup with a teething toy that she can keep in bed with her all night long might do the trick. Something like the Oli and Carol teething toys will be perfect for this! Using one that she can easily hold on to (like the adorable Sky the Flamingo) will make it easier for everyone, because she hopefully won't throw it out of the crib... hopefully.
Something that worked when we were nursing our kids was "tapering off" when we went in there at night. Meaning that when they would wake up at night, we would go in and soothe them for a few minutes, then lay them back down. We wouldn't give them anything else, like a bottle or anything, just a hug, song, kiss, and back in bed. Starting out, we did this every time they woke up, but then only when they first woke up, and then eventually not at all. With both our kids, it really didn't get to the cry-all-night situation. After a day or two of not getting anything to eat at night, they decided it was better to just sleep instead. Thank the Almighty.
But my little girl is old enough to know that we are capable of coming in there and hanging out with her. She also shares a room with her older brother who is more than willing to let us know that the baby is crying and for us to please do something about it. *sigh* She's a lot more vocal than a newborn.
I think the best practice for us will be to let her cry it out at first but not exceed 30 minutes. Once that hits, we'll go in, soothe and lay her back down. Then we'll increase to 1 hr., and so on if need be. If worse comes to worst, I'll pull our son into our room to sleep and I'll head to the family room and watch re-runs of Queer Eye for the night. Sacrifices must be made mamas!
A lot of parents are a fan of the cold turkey method, taking away the cup (or the binky in a lot of parents' cases) and just deal with a few nights of non-stop crying. That method works for some kids, and not so much for others, but if after 3-4 days of her waking up at night with our best efforts, and she still hasn't gotten the hint, then it may just be a couple drops of melatonin (Bless you, Wink Naturals) to help calm her down before bed (and hopefully throughout the night) and we'll see you in the morning sis! Get yourself some noise cancelling headphones if you plan to use this method, because you are going to need them if you want to get any sleep.
Taking something away from your littles that helps them sleep at night can be tough, and can make you feel like a bully, but when it affects the sleep of everyone else in the house, sometimes you've got to make some changes.