First of all, let’s answer the most important question here, shall we?
What is the dream feed?
A dream feed is feeding your baby while they are still half asleep, and it is the last breastfeeding before you go to bed. In case you don’t breastfeed you can give your baby a bottle with the formula that suits them well.
Moms all around the world do it because they want to have longer stretches of sleep so they can get some rest as well.
For example, if you put your baby to bed and you feed them at 8. p.m. and you go to bed around 11 p.m. you should take your child gently out of their crib and feed them while they are still sleeping just before you go to bed. For most babies, it won’t be hard to do it since every baby will suck anything that gets into their mouths.
Plus, your baby will recognize your natural scent, so they will know that mommy is there and that they are safe. Babies should dream feed for about 15 – 20 minutes and after that, they will normally go to sleep again. But just before you put them down to sleep again, be sure to make them burp because you don’t want your baby to get cramps.
The most important thing every sleep consultant emphasizes is that you shouldn’t make a fuss about it. Do it as gently as you can, and make sure your baby continues to sleep.
If you see they are about to open their eyes, just start whispering a lullaby or put their head close to your heart so they could calm down while listening to the same rhythm they have been used to listening to during the past 9 months.
Another important question is:
How do I dream feed?
Okay, in case you are not quite sure how to dream feed correctly, just read further. I will show you how dream feeds work, and you will realize it is easier than you think. What most moms are afraid of is that they will wake the little one up, but if you do it gently, nothing will happen.
If you want to try it but you are not quite sure how to do it, try to watch your baby sleeping a bit. When you see that your baby is in a deep sleep, try to pick him or her up gently. Then you can rouse your baby a bit but make sure they do not fully wake up. Then you can start with breastfeeding or bottle feeding.
After you finish it, put your baby over your shoulder, tapping their back so they burp. After that, they are ready to continue sleeping. In case you didn’t know, you can dream feed your baby whenever you are ready to do it.
You can try it when they are one month old although experts recommend waiting until three months old. If you continue doing it, you will reduce night waking, and your baby will have a better sleep cycle. Your baby sleep is as important as your own, so use the time they sleep to get some rest as well.
Is dream feeding useful?
If your baby wakes in the middle of the night and you can’t take it anymore, it is normal that you will try to dream feed.
Not only will your baby be full, but dream feeding will help them sleep better. Your baby won’t wake up in the middle of the night, and you as a mom will also have more time to get rest.
Both of you will have longer stretches of sleep, and as soon as you try this method, you will soon develop a good feeding schedule. It will become a bedtime routine your baby will get used to, and they will be able to sleep longer during the night.
You probably know that a newborn sleeps in a way that is difficult for you because they wake up often. That’s why the dream feed is a great thing for both baby and mom. Every sleep consultant will confirm this statement, and no matter how old the baby is, a dream feed will do them good.
When to start and when to stop dream feeding?
When you are a new mom, you won’t have answers to all these questions, and you should seek answers in different places. For example, many moms I know would like to try to dream feed, but they are not sure when to start. Most pediatricians suggest you can start dream feeding when your baby is 3 months old.
Night feeding at that age is extremely important because their tummies are small, and they get hungry much faster. You can continue with dream feeding until your baby is 9 or 10 months old.
By that time your baby’s sleep cycle will become normal, and they will be able to sleep through the night.
In some cases, moms prolong the dream feed routine to better connect with their babies. Some babies simply get used to their mom feeding them in the middle of the night, and they want it to last longer.
If your baby has problems with teething, dream feeding will mean a lot to them. It will connect the baby and the mom much better which will make both of them more relaxed and happier.
What are the best ways to dream feed without waking the baby up?
Okay, this is a legit question. Every mom would come up with a question like this because it is hard to breastfeed the baby and expect them to keep sleeping. That’s why there are a couple of tips and tricks that can help you, so read further:
- Put some milk on your baby’s lips—they will probably start licking it and that is the right time when you can start breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.
- Kiss your baby gently on the forehead—when they sense your presence and your scent, they will be aware that their mom is close.
- Play with their feet until they start waking up—when you see that, stop it and offer them a breast or a bottle.
So, these are the most common tricks every mom uses to wake her baby enough so they can eat. Doing a night feed is already tricky, and making it more complicated is the last thing you need.
That is why it is better to read and find out how to do something properly. Also, another great tip is to keep your baby swaddled to prevent any further movements.
In case your baby starts waking up and you see them stop being drowsy, you can always use a pacifier or be a baby whisperer to calm them down. The most important thing is that your baby is full and that both of you get enough sleep.
Is the dream feed useful for every baby?
A dream feed is good for every baby because in that way they get more minerals and vitamins from mom’s milk.
Since their tummies are small, it is better for them to eat more often. Otherwise, they would get cramps. So, if you follow all the rules for a dream feed, it would be great both for you and for your baby to practice it. You can try it when your baby is a couple of months old just to see how it will work.
The only goal you have is to keep your sleeping baby like that—sleeping. You can have 2 or more dream feeds during the night, but most moms say they only get up once to dream feed their baby.
You should know that there are also moms who tried this method but it never worked out. They tried to dream feed their babies, and they could never make any progress with it. The babies didn’t want to wake up enough so that the moms could dream feed them. And when they would wake up, they would start crying and couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night.
That’s why it is better not to push anything. If a baby accepts dream feeding normally, then continue doing it. If not, don’t push it because it can get even worse. Not all babies are the same, and you should learn the way to make your baby feels his or her best.
Should I continue to dream feed even if my baby gets nervous?
Not all babies are the same. Some of them will get used to new things easily while others won’t. If you want longer stretches of sleep and you want to try this method, make sure that it is what your baby wants.
The last thing you need is a crying baby every night because you are pushing something. I know many moms who tried this method, but since it didn’t work out, they stopped doing it. All you need to do is to listen to your baby. If you see that they behave well and that they sleep longer, just bring it on. But if you see that neither of you is getting enough sleep, just stop doing it. I am sure you can find another useful method for both of you.
If you feel that you are exhausted from getting up every couple of hours, ask your partner to take care of the baby. You need to have some help, especially in the first two months after the delivery.
Not getting enough sleep and a bad diet can do you some harm which can cause a reduction of your milk. You need to care take of yourself so you can take care of your baby. I know it sounds strange, but a baby doesn’t need a mom who is tired and cranky. Every child needs a mom who has enough sleep and healthy diet habits.
I won’t lie to you—it will be hard at the beginning, but with some support of your family and your partner, you will be able to make a great balance. And what is most important—you will be the mom your baby needs.
Okay, dear moms, since this topic is wide, I would suggest that you check our FAQs. I am sure many moms asked the same thing that is currently on your mind. This is a list of the most common questions any mom can have about the dream feed.
All about the dream feed in one place – FAQ
- How long does a baby sleep before the next dream feed?
If you feed your baby at 10 pm, she will probably sleep for the next 5-6 hours. That means you will get some rest as well and that you will be able to recover from everyday tasks regarding your child.
- Should I sing a song to my baby while breastfeeding it?
Every baby is different, and if you feel your baby is calm while they hear your voice, then sing them a song. Make sure you sing pretty quietly because you are trying to make a baby go to sleep. Make a good atmosphere for your precious and enjoy every second of that unbreakable bond.
- Will my baby sleep after I dream feed her?
That is on you. If you are careful about how you behave with your baby, she will continue to sleep. You just need to observe her body language and her eyes so you can know if she is okay.
- Why is a night feed so important?
Well, all the calories and minerals that a baby gets during the night are extremely important to her. That is why most pediatricians insist on dream feeding.
- Is burping necessary after I finish a dream feed?
Burping is always necessary after you finish dream feed. If you don’t do that, you are taking a risk that your baby will get some serious cramps, and trust me, that is the last thing you want.
- Should I change my baby’s diaper after breastfeeding?
You know that saying: “Don’t touch a lion while he is sleeping?” Well, the same goes for babies. If your baby is calm after the breastfed, don’t touch anything. He would make some noise if something is not right. So, a diaper change is a big no-no in this situation.
- Do I need to have the same feeding schedule every time?
Absolutely not. You can’t program things like that. Just do it as you think best. Make it all be natural for both your baby and yourself.
- How to combine teething with breastfeeding?
Even if it sounds hard, it is simple to combine these two. I know it may be a bit hard at first, but just because your baby has teeth doesn’t mean you should stop breastfeeding.
- What is the best bedtime routine?
Again, this depends on the baby. But what most moms practice when it is time for bed is gentle bathing. You should focus on your baby and every move they make while you bathe them. After you finish bathing, have some time to warm them up and put on some comfy clothes. Make sure that you put them to bed in clothes that will make them feel comfortable. After that, try to breastfeed them while the light is shaded so they can easily fall asleep.
When your baby gets enough milk, they will pop out your nipple from their mouth, telling you they have had enough. After that, leave them in their crib, making sure that they are warm so you can have some you time.
- Can a pacifier help if a baby wakes up?
It all depends on the baby. Some babies will calm down if you give them a pacifier while others will want you to carry them. Babies that are one week old will probably cry, but as soon as you take them in your arms they will stop crying and continue to sleep in a normal newborn sleep.
- What is sleep regression?
Sleep regression is a term that shows that a baby who was sleeping well for a period of time stopped doing so now. It is like something happened, and they changed their normal way of sleeping. It can last from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
- Will my baby sleep better if I swaddle them?
Swaddling is good when you dream feed your baby to make as few moves as possible. But if you want your baby to feel good and sleep well, put them in some comfortable clothes.
- My baby has a poor sleeping cycle and I can’t dream feed her. What to do?
If your baby has a poor sleeping cycle, you should find out the reason behind that. Babies will cry only if they have problems. You should talk to a pediatrician and let them check your baby. After you solve that problem, you will be able to dream feed your baby.
- Some moms told me they would never try this method. Are there any consequences?
Every mom will do what is best for her baby. Some moms won’t try new things while others will try anything that could improve their relationship with their child. It is up to you if you will try something. Just know that there are no consequences if you use this method. The only thing that will happen is a full baby and a longer time to sleep for both of you.
- 15. Is it possible to try this method if I have twins?
If you have twins, it will be a little bit harder but not impossible. Just make sure that you don’t wake up the other baby while you are breastfeeding the first one. To make it simpler, you can feed one baby in one room, and when you finish, bring the child next to the other one.
Then you take the other one and repeat the process. In that way you will prevent waking up the twin baby if the first one wakes up during the process. Also, it would be nice if you have some help while you do this.
- Should I dream feed if my baby is sick?
If your baby has a cold or stuffy nose, it will be hard to do this. It is better if you feed your baby while it is completely awake because you will be able to see all the changes. Babies get nervous when they get a stuffy nose so you will have to clean their nose before feeding them.
That is the only way your baby will be able to eat well. Repeat the process before every breastfeeding, and don’t worry if your baby vomits during the feeding. It just means that all the cold is getting out of their system because of your milk. It is said that a mother’s milk is the first penicillin a baby gets, and the more you breastfeed, the better it will be for your baby.
In case you can’t breastfeed, you can always find the perfect formula for your little one. They are made in a way to provide your baby with all the minerals and vitamins a baby needs. So, don’t worry your baby will miss something if you feed him through a bottle.
That is completely normal, and I know many moms who feed their babies like this. The most important thing is a healthy and happy baby. Happy baby – happy mom!