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Let's Talk About Dream Feeds

babyfeeding babysleeptips dreamfeed nightfeeds nightwaking Jun 29, 2023
Let's Talk About Dream Feeds

What is a dream feed?
A dream feed is a milk feed that you offer your baby around 3-4 hours after they've gone to bed in the evening. Your baby would remain very drowsy whilst having the feed (the goal is to offer the milk feed then pop them straight back down so they can keep sleeping).

What is the purpose of a dream feed?
The point of this feed is so that baby can have a longer stretch of sleep from the dream feed (which is commonly when parents will go to bed).

What age is it appropriate?
Dream feeds can be offered from the 6-8 weeks through to 6 months of age. By 6 months of age, your little one is more likely to be able to sleep from bedtime to midnight or later without requiring a feed. In my experience, if you offer dream feeds beyond 6 months of age - baby can start to wake habitually for that feed around 10pm which can be frustrating for parents to then work on changing.

How do you know if the dream feed is working?
If you're keen to introduce a dream feed, you'd want to see a 3-4 hour stretch of sleep from the dream feed eg. 10pm to the next wake up for a feed. Try offering the dream feed for 3-5 nights and if your baby is waking sooner than 3 hours since the dream feed or it's difficult to resettle them after the dream feed - it's probably not a good fit for your baby. Dream feeds work well for a fairly small portion of babies. Around 30-40% in my experience.

I like to go to bed early - is a dream feed right for me?
If you like to go to bed early (before 9pm) then a dream feed might not be a good fit for you as you'd need to go to bed then wake up soon after to do the dream feed anyway. If you go to bed around 10/11pm then it could work well to offer your baby a dream feed and then (hopefully) get a 3-4 hour chunk of sleep from there.

How do I offer a dream feed?
Around 9.30/10pm, pick up your baby and offer them the breast or bottle. If they are swaddled - keep them swaddled. The aim is to keep them nice and drowsy and avoid waking them. Keep the lights off or very dim. Offer a full feed if your baby is receptive to that. Once they've fed - you could give them a few minutes upright and then pop them back to bed. If they aren't receptive to having the feed - don't stress, just pop them back to bed and feed them when they next wake up.

To recap:
Dream feeds are only suitable up to around 6 months of age. 
An effective dream feed would mean your baby has a 3-4 hour stretch of sleep after the dream feed.
If you like to go to bed early (pre 9pm), the dream feed might not be for you.

Keen for support with your little one's sleep? I'd love to help! You can either book in a 15 minute discovery call with me or fill out this super easy contact form and i'll be in touch with you within 2 business days.

Are you following me over on IG? Head to @lets__sleep and follow along for lots of helpful sleep tips and client stories :)

Jazz x

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