You are finding yourself waking up frequently at night because of a baby with a rumbly tummy. It’s getting tiring, it’s getting draining, and you are feeling desperate. Dream feeding is here to save the day! No literally, it will.
Think of dream feeding like topping off a gas tank before a long trip, except you are topping off your baby.
Dream feeding has definitely changed my sleepless nights into bearable nights and was the first baby step on our journey to sleep training.
What is Dream Feeding?
Dream feeding consists of feeding your baby while they are sleeping, just as the word itself explains.
Dream Feeding lets your baby fill up its tummy without crying and waking up during the night, resulting in better and longer sleep for both child and parent(s).
Typically, this is done between 10 to 11 pm at night, or right before you go to bed. This enables you to get the maximum amount of sleep before your baby is hungry again.
How Do I Properly Dream Feed?
Start by putting your baby to sleep like you normally do.
Follow your routine and get them to sleep. Right before you go to bed, offer them the breast or a bottle.
Babies have a natural instinct to start sucking when given a nipple or bottle. They can easily do it in their sleep.
Now, this might take a few tries. My baby did not drink anything the first few times I tried. After giving up and starting again a month later, she did it perfectly and slept for longer than ever before! The victory was ours!
If your baby is particularly sleepy, try rousing them a little bit by stroking them, tickling their toes, or singing them a song quietly.
Reduce any stimuli that might wake up your baby completely, as this could cause more sleepless hours for you.
Try to be as quiet as possible, do not turn on any bright lights, and don’t talk to your baby. I always try to be like a ninja, sneaking in some more milk for her young one without being seen.
Remember, dream feeding might not always work! Some babies do not do well with being slightly disturbed at night.
If your baby is waking up shortly after you dream fed them and is not sleeping longer, it’s not working for you.
Your sleep schedule can also impact this. If you tend to go to bed with your baby or within the hour after, this might not work for you as well.
Give it a try for a few days and see if it will also be your saving grace!
Do you need to Burp?
Yes, you always need to burp your baby after a dream feed. Not letting a baby burp can cause great discomfort and gas for your little one!
Gently and slowly burp your baby. Most likely they will be “milk drunk” at that point and won’t wake up from being patted gently.
When can I Start?
As soon as you want! Even newborns can benefit from dream feeding.
When you dream feed newborns, they get used to sleeping through the night instead of waking and crying to feed, this can greatly benefit them to teach them to sleep throughout the night.
Pediatricians recommend stopping dream feeding at around 8 months old. At this time, their bellies are large enough to have enough milk to sustain them through the whole night.
However, my 11-month-old still dream feeds. She needs one bottle during the night as she always drinks a little bit, more often throughout her day.
Dream feeding is working for us and we will continue doing it until we see it not necessary. Find what works for you and stick to it, you know best!
Whether you are starting dream feeding to get more sleep, help your baby gain more weight or you simply want to improve your baby’s sleep.
Dream feeding is a simple and easy way to reap amazing benefits!
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or if you have tried dream feeding, and if it worked for you or not. I would love to hear your input!