What is a dreamfeed?
Why Should I Offer a Dreamfeed?
Ah, the dreamfeed. The dreaded feeding around 10-11pm that you offer when your baby is still asleep (under 8 weeks, you may need to wake them).
The question is, why would you offer this feeding? Why wake your baby when they’re finally asleep and you have time to yourself?
The answer is, to extend their MOTN (middle of the night). Our goal with the dreamfeed is to make it so that their longest stretch of sleep is when you’re also sleeping, so that everyone can get some sleep!
The thing is, you’re already offering this feeding when your baby comes home from the hospital, since you’re feeding every 2-3 hours anyway. The key is to not drop it as feeds start to get further apart and you get into more of a routine.
So how do you actually go about offering this feeding? Continue reading for our tried and tested tips:
- You may need to wake your baby, if they’re under 8 weeks old. I did this by turning on her light, rubbing her belly and gently stimulating her awake. Then we would bring her to the living room where there were some dim lights on and give her a few minutes to wake up. Once she was awake, I would feed her as I did at any other time. My daughter was often sleepy at this age, so I saved the diaper change (if there wasn’t a poop) for halfway through the feed to get her to wake back up.
- Burp very well, especially if your child is prone to gas. I used the slide burp to gently burp my daughter at the dreamfeed. Thankfully, my husband was very focused on burping her, so he always made sure we worked on it until she burped, I always wanted to go to bed right after.
- Share the load if you can. Once my daughter was a few weeks old, I started pumping before we got her up for the dreamfeed, made the bottle and went to sleep. Once I was in our room and resting, my husband got her and offered the feeding. I basically never knew anything was happening for the rest of the time we did the dreamfeed.
- Don’t drop it too early. I know you want to go to sleep by 10pm, I’d be asleep at 8 if I could, but we don’t want to drop it too early. Hold on to the dreamfeed, until your baby is sleeping from the dreamfeed to the start of your day for a few weeks and then work on dropping it. If we drop it before they’ve moved the milk to the daytime, it can cause more night wakings, which no one wants. As hard as it is to stay awake until 11pm, waking up at 2, 3 or 4am is harder.
- Work to get a full feeding. As Kelly always says, half feeds get us half sleep so you want to make sure the dreamfeed is full. If your baby takes 6oz during the day, we want to try and make this feeding 6oz as well. If they have 3oz, they’re more likely to wake for the second half of the feeding later in the night.
- Find what works for you, your family and your baby. I breastfed my daughter when I was with her but we found that she ate better at the dreamfeed from a bottle, so we went with that.
We believe that the dreamfeed is an essential part of getting consistent overnight sleep earlier. If you don’t want to try it, you don’t have to! It just may mean waking up overnight for longer, which is fine if that works for your family.
If I have convinced you, we always recommend trying it consistently for at least 1-2 weeks before deciding if it’s ‘working’ or not, as it can take some time to find your rhythm.
Full Feedings members, be sure to check out the OTHER INGREDIENTS below for more help with this:
THE ENTIRE DREAMFEED SECTION
ALL FEEDS SHOULD BE FULL FEEDS
WE MOVE FEEDS, WE DON’T DROP THEM
If you are a member and experiencing dreamfeed issues, reach out to INFANT@FULLFEEDINGS.COM for email support.
If you are not yet a member, check out our NO CRY IT OUT sleep method HERE! We have super affordable online programs that will teach you an easy 3-step method to get your little one to sleep!
To eating & sleeping well,