What Is A Dream Feed? (And Guide To Do It Successfully)
Do you find the term dream feeding confusing? Individuals who have heard this term for the first time or new parents often find this term confusing over who is feeding and who is dreaming. Want to know more about what is a dream feed? If so, read on to know more about what this technique is all about, whether it is right for you, how to implement it and a lot more!
What is Dream Feeding?
So, what is a dream feed?
A dream feed is a method of feeding your little one while he is asleep to reduce disturbances and night wakings caused by hunger. It can be done for babies who are being breastfed or bottle fed. Beside dream feeding, there are also other methods called cluster feeding. We have written a post about it too. To read more of it, follow the link.
The process includes picking up the little one who is already asleep gently from the bed, placing him on the mother’s arm and feeding him. During this time, you are not going to change his diaper, tickle his hands, toes or stimulate the baby to wake him up. You can start dream feeding as early as two weeks. However, every child is different, so make sure you do what you think is right for you and your baby as well.
Dream feed technique is simple. Here is a quick guide and some dream feed tips:
- You can start to dream feed at 11 pm. Slowly pick up the sleeping baby and breastfeed him as you would do normally.
- However, make sure he is slightly elevated as feeding lying down baby can increase chances of choking.
- If you are unable to feed the baby in the first attempt, do not give up hope. It may take a couple of attempts to make it a part of your routine.
- Once fed, try to burp the baby gently. Babies tend to be very relaxed during this time, therefore don’t gulp much air.
If you are bottle feeding your child, the dad can also get involved in the night feeding process.
- The baby stays in the crib and the nipple of the bottle is gently slipped between his lips.
- The taste of the milk will be enough to induce the baby to drink the milk.
- However, make sure there is plenty of milk in the bottle to avoid waking the baby.
- The baby will sleep through the night and you can dream feed without burping.
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Can Babies Suck When They Are Sleeping?
One of the biggest question moms generally have whether their little one will be able to suck when they are asleep? The answer is yes, but here again, some babies are better at sucking as compared to other babies.
Some babies are so deep in sleep that they can’t rouse themselves to suck the milk and thus dream feeding remains ineffective. However, others are better feed during dream feeding than when they feed while being awake.
Why Should I Dream Feed my Baby?
Sleeping and feeding are the two biggest work of an infant. Therefore, it is no surprise that your little one just wakes up when he is hungry and doze off as soon as he is fed. However, a baby brain is not mature enough to separate day from night.
With small stomach, they need to be fed regularly. While cluster feeding can be extremely difficult for new parents, dream feeding your little one will leave you with some energy to indulge in other chores as he will he enjoy his sleep comfortably.
In certain cases, the babies don’t feed well during the day and thus may wake up frequently when they feel hungry at night. This is when dream feeding can make it easy for them to enjoy a longer sleeping period.
Here the parents must remember that more milk the baby had at night, less will be the demand during the day. Therefore, you need to be in control when feeding your baby at night. You still need to strike a balance, though. Always consult your pediatrician to get the best advice that suits you and your baby.
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What Age to Start Dream Feed?
There is no perfect age at which you can introduce dream feeding. However, you may choose to consider having a dream feed schedule if:
- The baby has been sleeping for a few hours and you are looking forward to going to bed yourself. For instance, if the baby has been last fed at 8 pm and now it is 11 pm, a dream feed may be useful.
- The baby has started enjoying his continuous long sleep at night. This can happen from 6 weeks onward.
- You are breastfeeding your baby and your breasts have been uncomfortable and heavy.
- If your milk supply is low and you need the stimulation for doing more breastfeeds.
How Long to Dream Feed a Baby
Most parents look forward to dropping the dream feed as soon as their little ones start a solid diet which is around 7 or 8 months. However, the transit should be gradual rather than immediate. Choose to wean from the dream feed 15 minutes earlier every 3 days and gradually increase the time. The baby will be less hungry with the earlier dream feed and thus will not drink much.
Is It Too Late To Start?
If your baby is waking up every hour or so through the night, it is always better to give the dream feed a shot. You have nothing to lose here. However, just remember to maintain the new routine and never give up before continuing it for a week. One or two nights are too soon to tell if dream feeding is working for you. However, as your little one gets older, you can always drop it gradually.
Dream Feed Pros and Cons
People must have suggested you to dream feed your 6-month-old to help him sleep for longer periods without waking up. Yes, this is true, but dream feed comes with its own set of pros and cons.
- Dream feeding often helps the baby sleep for a longer stretch.
- Even fathers can get involved in bottle feeding the baby without disturbing their sleep cycle.
- Parents have observed that their little one sleep longer through the night if they are dream fed.
- There is no need to rouse your baby to dream feed him.
- Mothers have observed that it is easier to drop a dream feed than dropping a night feed in the early hours.
- The deepest phase of sleep occurs before midnight; therefore, there are high chances that you may wake your baby with the slightest movement.
- Your baby may not enjoy bouts of long sleep once he is woken up.
- Dream feed can induce nighttime feeding habit which may be hard to drop.
- The baby may still wake up as it does not make much difference to how long they have slept.
- If your baby has reflux, it is better to avoid dream feed as it could mean that the baby will wake more often in discomfort rather than sleeping peacefully.
To Dream Feed or Not To Dream Feed?
It is up to you to decide whether you want to dream feed your baby or not. However, you must remember that there is no harm in trying it out. If it doesn’t seem to be working for you, you can drop it anytime. On the other hand, if it suits you and your baby, you may end up getting long and peaceful night sleep.
Now that you know what is a dream feed, will you be trying it out? Let us know whether it worked for you or not in the comments below!