You may have heard the term mentioned by other mums, or seen it appear on the internet, but what is dream feeding?
Dream feeding might be exactly what you and your baby need to encourage them to sleep through the night, or to sleep for longer stretches. Get to know what dream feeding is, and whether it would work for you and your baby.
What Is a Dream Feed?
A dream feed is pretty self-explanatory. It is when you feed your baby while they are asleep. It involves feeding your baby while they are dreaming, by gently rousing them enough for them to latch on to breastfeed or to take a bottle.
This is done to get your baby to nurse, in order to reduce the number of times they wake up in the middle of the night to feed.
Most parents choose to dream feed between 10 pm and 12 pm. This does depend on the time you are going to bed, as you would want to dream feed while you are still awake, but pushing it till just as you are about to go to sleep yourself.
The point is to feed your baby without waking them, to give them enough milk to stay full enough to sleep for a longer stretch. Often, this results in them sleeping through their usual 2 am – 3 am feed.
What Are The Benefits?
Most mums say that this does help their baby sleep for longer periods at night, which allows mum to sleep for longer as well.
Some experts say that you should look to introduce dream feeding at around 3 months old, which is the ideal time for your baby to start dream feeding.
At around 3 or 4 months of age, your baby should be eating 8-12 times throughout a 24 hour period. They are also capable of going for 7 hours without a feed at this age.
However, many babies at this age still wake up multiple times a night to feed out of habit. Once you have begun to wean night time feeding, you can start dream feeding, and hopefully get them sleeping for longer periods.
Once your baby is able to sleep for 7 hours without a feed, dream feeding can really help. If your baby has their last feed and goes to sleep between 7 pm or 8 pm, they will still wake up between 2:30 am and 3:30 am. By dream feeding at around 10 pm, you can hopefully get them to sleep until 5 am-6 am.
Should We Dream Feed?
You will only know whether dream feeding is right for you and your baby by actually trying it. Dream feeding might be a problem for some babies, but it might be just what another baby needs.
Don’t expect dream feeding to work on the first go, your baby might still be in the habit of waking up in the middle of the night. To help them break this habit, try to get them to self-soothe themselves back to sleep.