Dream Feeding – How it worked for us…
What is dream feeding?
A dream feed is where you feed your baby while he or she is still asleep, before you go to bed yourself. Some parents breastfeed and others or their partners can give a bottle without even picking up the baby. The theory is that you will get a bit more sleep, yourself. The question is, does this work and should you do it? For some people, a dream feed will be a Godsend.
How You Do a Dream Feed?
Experts suggest that baby goes to sleep around 7 p.m., you dream feed around 10 p.m. before you go to bed, and baby might sleep until 4 or 6 a.m. or later, giving you a glorious 6 to 8 hours of sleep straight. Go to bed early and have your partner/spouse give the dream feed and you can get even more sleep!
If your baby wakes up during a dream feed, soothe them back to sleep as you would at bedtime. When it works, a dream feed is a wonderful thing!! Honestly once you get the routine set and both of you have figured this dream feeding malarkey out, sleep will come naturally.
When did I start dream feeding?
Sebastian started doing this naturally himself, he was starting to drop the 2/3 am feed at around 11 weeks old. By 14 weeks he was sleeping through the night, all thanks to my mum suggesting that he has his last feed at 10/11pm. I didn’t know this was called dream feeding at the time, I was still learning the ropes at this stage! He eventually started sleeping from 7am-7pm from around 6 months.
Ophelia started sleeping through the night at around 7 months. I started trying to dream feed her from about 16 weeks old, she was a poorly baby with a bad cold and croup up until 14 weeks so I didn’t really want to start encouraging sleeping through any sooner.
It took a bit longer for Ophelia to fall into a routine but after a month she was starting to have the odd few nights she would sleep through. Then all of a sudden we noticed she had gone a whole two weeks sleeping through the night, I think Nick and I had realised after two weeks that we were getting a full nights sleep. We dream fed Ophelia until she was about 9 months. Ophelia was the hungriest baby!
Rosalie has by far been the easiest baby of the three. Be that she’s a more chilled out baby or that we just know what we are doing! Probably a bit of both, I have felt more confident third time around, even with 3 under 3.
We’ve been a bit poorly with colds and coughs, so Rosalie has had some nights where she will sleep through after her dream feed, and others where she is up all night. Such an unfortunate time to get sick!
Rosalie started having the odd night (maybe 2/7 nights) at around 10 weeks when she would sleep through, so I started doing a dream feed every evening from 12 weeks, two weeks later and she has started sleeping through from 11.30pm until 6.30/7.30am, depending on how snotty and chesty she is. Fingers crossed that once we are completely over this damn cold that this is her sleeping through the night, at least until the first sleep regression!
How did the first few days go?
From what I can remember, in my sleep deprived haze the first few days of dream feeding were a bit hit and miss, trying to create a sleep routine isn’t easy. Especially if colic or reflux is an issue. But stick with it because it will fall into place eventually.
With all three I would feed them at 6.30 pm, then they would sleep until around 10/11pm. Before I let them wake completely I would pick them up change their nappy quickly and then give them the bottle, praying they didn’t fully wake up! They took the bottle pretty well at that time of night, and went back to deep sleep quite quickly after. The only exceptions were if they were not feeling too good, or if they had slept for longer during the day.
Seb was the most difficult to feed at that time to start with as he didn’t like being woken up. Especially if he had spent the whole evening with colic and reflux, and had not long been asleep, he would fuss for ages before drinking the bottle.
Ophelia would take milk anytime of the day fine, she loved her milk and loves her food just as much now. We had a couple of rough months with colic and her not being very well, but we got through it. Often milk was the only thing that would settle her at night so she really liked the dream feed, and took to it so well. I think she went on having a dream feed u til 9 months because she loved it that much!
Rosalie can be a little fussy at that time of night, she fidgets a lot and likes to bury her head into your arm, so feeding her can be a bit of a fight! She takes it well eventually and hasn’t so far had any colic or reflux which I am so thankful for! I will be sure to up date you when she starts sleeping from 7-7 it will be interesting to see if she is more like her brother or sister. So far she’s more like Sebs (minus the colic)!
How do my children sleep now?
Sleep regressions aside (a whole other story), Sebastian and Ophelia generally sleep pretty well. I give them their dinner at 5pm, bath at 6pm and then right before bed around half 6 I give them a biscuit and either milk or water, then its brush teeth and bed. We started giving them a bedtime biscuit as Seb used to wake up at around 11pm (he was about 20 months) saying he was hungry, after a few weeks of him doing this we decided to try a little snack before bed which saw him through the night. As we were already doing this with him Ophelia just fell into the same routine, Rosa most likely will too!
I would love to hear your experiences with dream feeding, please let me know in the comments section below. x