What is a Dream Feed?
A dream feed is when you feed your baby at night in a manner that’s almost like topping your gas tank off before a big trip. You don’t really need that gas right that moment, but it’s nice to be able to travel longer without having to stop to fill up early in the trip. Feeding your little noodle when they are still sleeping at night fills up their little tummy, so with luck, they won’t wake you up as early as they would’ve without it. This practice means you can get a more significant chunk of that much-needed sleep that’s been alluding you.
Babies That Benefit From a Dream Feed
Babies that are under 10 weeks old or under 11 pounds are excellent candidates for dream feeds. These babies are those that typically can’t make it through the night without a feeding, and without a dream feed, will have you up sooner than you’d like.
When to Stop Dream Feeding
Babies that hit 11 pounds or are over 10 weeks of age are getting to the point where they don’t need a dream feed at night. Also, if your little one is already sleeping through the night without getting up, a dream feed isn’t necessary.
For some babies, a dream feed is too much work compared to the reward. Not all babies are easy to dream feed, and if it takes too much effort to get them to eat at a dream feed, it’s probably not worth it. In fact, you probably are going to stimulate them too much and end up with the opposite of a satisfied, happy, sleeping bundle of joy.
Basics of Dream Feeding
The basics of dream feeding are to get your little one to fill up their tummy without bothering them so much that you won’t be able to get back to sleep. A good time to try to dream feed is about 10 pm as this will give you a nice amount of sleep fingers crossed.
You’ll want to try to not disturb your little noodle as little as possible. Keep the room as dark as possible without bumping your head or tripping over the furniture. It’s a good idea to dream feed in the same room they sleep in to lessen the potential of overstimulation. You’ll also want to keep them swaddled and comfortable.
At this point, you don’t want to talk to them or try to wake them in any way. You should also avoid changing their diapers at this feed if possible. This waking is counterproductive to your efforts. You’ve got a simple mission: feeding, burping, and laying them right back down. This mission leads to getting your own Zs for the next day.
When it comes to the feeding itself, it’s best to use a bottle. It can often be harder for your baby to sleep and breastfeed at the same time. A bottle is easier as you can tap it, twist and turn it, and pop it in and out of their mouth to entice them to eat while sleeping. Plus, this can be a perfect opportunity to get Dad, another family member or someone like myself to help out with the baby while you get some much needed time to yourself.
Are you having sleep issues? It’s one of the most significant issues that parents can face, and the good news is that you don’t have to face it alone. Need some help with a dream feed or other sleep needs? Contact us today to get your baby on a great schedule to jumpstart beneficial sleep habits early in life.