Today I am going to talk about dream feeds and how you can introduce one to your baby's routine. It is important to note not all babies like dream feeds, you'll know after a few days if a dream feed works for your baby or not.
For some parents it works wonders so try it & see if it works for you too.
Regardless of breastfeeding or formula feeding I always recommend feeding on demand during those early months. Naturally, your baby will fall into a feeding routine as their stomach grows which can be anywhere from every two to four hours on average throughout the day.
Once your baby begins sleeping less during the day and more at night you will notice their time between feeds lengthens during the night which provides longer blocks of sleep for both of you (Yay)!
Once your baby has fallen into a slight feeding routine you can try to introduce a dream feed before you go to bed.
I have included the most common questions I receive regarding dream feeds below to help you choose if a dream feed is right for your baby or not:
What is a dream feed?
A dream feed is partially waking your baby to offer a milk feed during their night, usually before you go to bed at around 10pm or 11pm generally works best. As all babies will have their individual routine, aim for around 3 hours after their initial bedtime.
Why do parents offer dream feeds?
A dream feed is mainly used when a parent is going to bed and wants to achieve a longer block of sleep. An example of this could be your baby is feeding every four hours, the last feed was at 6pm and the next feed is due at 11pm but you want to go bed at 10:00pm. At 10:00pm you can offer a dream feed so you both sleep for a longer block until baby's next feed.
When can you introduce a dream feed?
From around 2 to 3 months or once your baby no longer needs to feed every 3 hours during the night.
Should I burp my baby after a dream feed?
As with all feeds, your baby will need to be winded before returning to their crib to sleep.
Where do I offer a dream feed?
Within baby's same nighttime environment in your bedroom, avoid any additional stimulation.
After a dream feed my baby is awake for hours?
This is a clear sign dream feeds do not work for your baby and have the opposite effect as your baby is now unsettled during the night. If this happens, stop offering the dream feed.
How do I know if a dream feed works for my baby?
I will use the same example as above, if your baby is due a feed at 11pm and you offer a dream feed at 10pm, your baby then sleeps through until 3am meaning you both achieve a longer block of sleep then it's working for you. On the other hand, if you're offering the feed at 10pm and baby wakes at 12pm then baby is still waking for their usual feed so it's not working.
In addition, if your baby is wide awake after the dream feed and difficult to settle back down to sleep then your baby probably is not a fan of being disturbed during sleep (even with milk) which is absolutely fine.
I hope you have found the information above useful.