What is a dream feed? Brace yourself, it’s a feed that you wake your baby up for. Yes, you didn’t misread that; you wake them up. Dream feeds are feeds that you wake your baby up for in that hopes that they’ll then sleep through the night.
My twin boys were 3 and 4 pounds when they were born, so it was suggested by their pediatrician that they have at least one feed through the night until they were around 9 months. My boys started sleeping through the night at 5 months (thanks to great sleep training) but the catch was, they needed to eat at least once in the night. So, our pediatrician suggested dream feeds. We put them to bed around 7pm every night and when we were ready for bed around 11pm, we gently woke them up, fed them, and settled them right back to bed.
Here are some tips if you’re considering dream feeds.
Make Sure Your Baby is Ready
Going to one feed a night is the idea behind dream feeds. Make sure you speak to your baby’s doctor who will consider their growth and development. If you get the go ahead, you might notice that your baby feeds more during the day. Babies are smart, they know how many calories they need in a day, if they don’t get them at night, they will balance things out by feeding more during the day.
The timing of your dream feed will be important. You’ll feed your baby prior to their bedtime so your dream feed can’t be too close to that. 3-4 hours from their last feed is usually a good time. Your baby will have built some hunger and therefore, they’ll have a decent feed. That said, you also want to make sure it’s not too late. The idea of dream feeds is to cut out middle of the night feedings. Prior to midnight is best; lets you and baby get a full night sleep after the dream feed.
How you go about your baby’s dream feed is very important. Don’t change their diaper unless it’s soiled with stool. Feed them in their room, keep the lights very dim, and don’t make too much commotion. Enjoy this feed, your baby will be sleepy and cuddly. Don’t make eye contact or talk to your baby. You don’t want to stimulate them; the idea is to settle them right back to bed after the dream feed.
Sleep training for the remainder of the night
If your goal is to get your baby sleeping through the night, apart from a dream feed, you may want to have a plan for the remainder of the night. We’re here to help! Reach out to a Mama Coach in your area for your a plan tailored to your and your baby’s needs. Within a few nights, your little one will be sleeping well while still receiving the feed they need for their growth and development.