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A mother breastfeeding her baby

A mother breastfeeding her baby

Your little bundle of joy can give you a tough time sometimes by making you sleep deprived. Though it is a very common problem that most newbie-parents face, there are various elusive ways of trying to settle your baby at night that you may have come across. You may have heard about various ways and means of inducing a good night’s sleep for your baby, and one of the recommendations may have been, dream feed. For some parents, this practice is God sent and works really well. Does dream feeding your baby really works or is it just an urban myth? We will talk about everything that you need to know about dream feeding your baby or how to dream feed a breastfed baby.

What is Dream Feed?

A dream feed is a way of feeding your baby in his sleep. You can either breastfeed or give a bottle to your sleeping baby so that your baby will sleep peacefully at night. The theory revolves around the belief that by practising dream feeding your baby may get better and longer periods of sleep at night. If you are wondering whether or not to dream feed newborn, you may consult your doctor for the same.

Why Should You Dream Feed?

Here is why you should consider dream feeding your baby:

  • It provides extra feed or calories to your baby while he is still sleeping. This will make him less hungry and thus he will not wake abruptly for feeds during the night.
  • As you feed your baby before he asks for it; this may help him feel better without fussing.
  • A dream feed is helpful for the parents as well because the parents may get a better sleep at night too.

Why Should You Dream Feed while Your Baby Is Asleep?

There are many benefits of dream feeding your baby in his sleep. By dream feeding your baby, he will not associate feeding with sleeping, which means we may not ask for feeds every time he is feeling sleepy. Also, you are not waking him from a deep sleep just to feed him and yet somehow feeding him. There is no requirement of settling your baby after the feeds as the baby is already asleep.

What Age Babies Does Dreamfeeding Work for?

It is often seen that infants or babies who are less than 10-weeks-old, sleep too deeply to be woken up and fed. At the same time, babies who are nine months or older usually sleep peacefully at night because they may be already on solid foods and thus may feel more satiated. Therefore, the best age to try dream feeding your baby is between three to nine months.

How to Dream Feed a Baby Safely?

If you have decided to give dream feed a shot, here’s how you can safely try to dream feed your baby:

  • Make sure that your baby is not in deep sleep otherwise he will be unable to suckle. Your baby’s lips or mouth movements may help you establish the same.
  • It is also important that you raise or elevate your baby’s head while feeding him. Refrain from feeding your baby in a completely flat position as it may lead to choking.
  • Though your baby may not swallow much air while feeding in his sleep, it will be a good idea to help escape any air that may have entered your baby system. You may try to gently rub your baby’s back in an elevated state to help release any trapped air.

How Should You Dream Feed if Baby Is Drowsy?

After you put your baby to sleep, the first few hours are the hours of deepest sleep, and you may find it difficult to dream feed your baby. However, you may try the following ways of dream feeding your drowsy baby:

  • You may try to put some drops of milk on your baby’s lips.
  • You can try rubbing a wet washcloth on your baby’s cheeks.
  • You can gently tickle your baby’s feet or cheeks.
  • You can try changing your baby’s diaper too.

What to Do if Baby Wakes up During Dream Feed?

Sometimes your baby may wake up during a dream feed session. It is suggested that you put him back in his crib and refrain from feeding. Babies develop patterns very fast at a younger age; therefore you do not want your baby to associate feeding with sleeping.

What Is the Best Time to Do a Dream Feed?

Many parents may wonder what is the best time to dream feed their baby. Ideally, you should give dream feed to your baby right before you settle for the night that is anywhere from 10 to 11.30 at night. It is recommended not to delay beyond this time as then it would become night feed and not the dream feed. However, it is basically a try and error method, and therefore you should try whatever is best suited for you and your baby.

Can You Offer Dream Feed With a Bottle?

Yes, you can try dream feed with a bottle as well. For feeding your baby with a bottle, slightly elevate your baby’s head. You can try putting few drops of milk on your baby’s lips for him to begin. Make sure you place the bottle correctly and do not let your baby swallow any air while feeding. When you dream feed your baby with a bottle, you won’t have to lift your baby. Thus this may cause the least disturbance to your little one.

Dream feeding a baby with a bottle

Does Dream Feed Really Work?

Are you are wondering whether dream feed is a sure shot way of putting your baby to deep, uninterrupted slumber? The answer to this is that every baby reacts and responds to dream feed differently. There are not much substantial scientific proof or evidence that supports the same. However, you can surely try this technique for a few weeks and see how your baby responds to it. For some parents this technique really does wonders, and therefore, you can give it a try too.

Why It May Not Work?

Where for some parents dream feeding is a blessing and boon, other parents may find dream feed not working. This is because of some of the following reasons:

  • Your baby may not be hungry and thus might refuse to feed.
  • Your baby may not like to be disturbed in his sleep and may get irritable and cranky.
  • You may find it difficult to feed your baby in his deep sleep.
  • Your baby may wake up even after a dream feed.

Does Dreamfeed Cause Your Baby to Wake Up More?

If your baby is waking up in the middle of the night after being dream-fed, then there is a likelihood that your baby may not be comfortable with this kind of arrangement. Every baby responds differently and therefore, you should not feel that you are making some sort of mistake. It is also possible that your baby might wake up to due to a habit or due to some other problem. Give your baby some time to settle to this new dream feed routine.

Should You Wake Your Baby to Breastfeed Again?

If your baby shows the urge to feed even after being dream feed, you should opt for breastfeeding your baby. Refrain from feeding for longer durations at night because your baby should be feeding more during the daytime rather than the night time.

When Should You Stop Dream Feeding?

If your baby has adjusted well to the dream feed schedule then the next thing on your mind will be when to stop it. There are no hard and fast rules regarding when to stop dream feeding your baby. Ideally, a month after your baby feels settled and sleeps for most of the night, you may stop dream feeding your baby. However, it is entirely up to you to make this call.

A baby in deep sleep

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about dream feed that will help you make an informed decision.

1. Is It Too Late to Start Dreamfeeding?

If your little one is not settling in his night-sleep routine, you may try dream feeding. Though it is recommended that whatever you plan to try for your baby, you should keep it going for at least a week to see how your baby responds to it. The same rule applies to dream feeding as well. When you notice that your baby is sleeping peacefully at night, you can stop dream feeding your baby.

2. What If I Try Dream Feeding and My Baby Still Wakes at Night?

If your baby is getting up even after being dream fed, it does not mean that he is hungry. You may try to settle your baby without offering him to feed. The other reason for your baby to get up is out of habit. However, sometimes it could be due to developmental issues or if your baby is feeling sick. Whatever be the reason, if dream feed is not working after a week’s trail then this may not be for your baby.

3. Should I Dream Feed Baby or Not?

It is entirely up to you to decide if you want to try dream feeding your baby or not. As discussed earlier, every baby is different and may respond differently to such feeding techniques. However, there is no problem in trying to see whether it works for you and your baby or not.

There are pros and cons of dream feed, however, if it works well for your baby, then there is no reason why you should not continue doing it. If you have any concerns or doubts regarding dream feeding your baby, consult your doctor before you proceed with the same.

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