What Is Dream Feeding? What are the Benefits?

4 min read

The primary job of an infant is to eat and sleep. In the early months, they tend to sleep most of the time. This sound sleep is also very important for their growth. They can sleep deeply if their tummy is full, but to feed them means to wake them up from their peaceful sleep. Well, not always, as you can dream feed your baby! Yes, you can feed them without waking them from their sleep. After dream feeding your baby, you can also take a 3 hour sound sleep without any worry. So how can you dream-feed your baby? This requires a bit of technique and practice. So let’s know more about dream feeding.

dream feed

What is Dream Feeding?

The meaning of dream feeding is to feed your baby while they are sleeping before you go to sleep so that both you and your infant can sleep peacefully at night. You can breastfeed or bottle-feed, the condition is the baby should not be awake.

The theory behind dream feeding is to give the parents a longer stretch of time to sleep at night. For instance, if your baby goes to sleep at 8 PM and can sleep 5 hours without eating, then he/she will wake up and cry at 1 AM and your entire night’s sleep will be hampered. To avoid this if you dream-feed the baby around 11 PM before you go to bed, then you get 4 to 5 hours uninterrupted sleep.

Dream feeding is a helpful process but the success depends on your baby. During the first half of the night, babies have their deep sleep. Feeding them at this time can be difficult and annoying. So you will have to be more gentle and careful while dream feeding.    

How do I Dream-Feed?

For dream feeding babies you need to follow these steps:

  • Put your baby on your lap. The time should be between 10 pm to 12 midnight when you go to your bed.
  • Now place your one breast or the nipple of the bottle close to the baby’s lower lip. If s/he is half awake and can feel your nipple then the baby will start feeding.
  • If your baby is in deep sleep then you can rouse them a little by tickling them on their toes, changing the diaper, or touching or cooling their face with a wet cloth.
  • Feed your child for five to ten minutes on each breast. And then gently put them back in his bassinet. Simple!
  • Also do not forget to burp your dream-fed baby after every feeding.

dream feeding

Why is this Great for Infants?

There are a number of benefits of dream feeding your baby:

  • Your baby will receive some extra calories that will be much needed for a tummy full of good sleep.
  • Your baby will get their food at your convenient time. So no more waking in the middle of the night to feed your child.
  • Here you are feeding when your baby’s tummy is already half full. So they are not crying with hunger. When you feed in response to a cry then inadvertently you encourage your child to eat more at night.
  • So by dream feeding, your baby is actually eating less at night. This means they will feel hungrier in the morning and you can thus feed them at the ideal daytime. Feeding at dawn is better than feeding at midnight.

When Should I Stop Dream Feeding?

You can start the dream feeding session as early as 6 to 8 weeks. And you can end this procedure when your baby does not require calories at night anymore. That means when your child can eat the amount of food that can stay in their tummy and give them a full night’s sleep. There is no specific age recommendation to stop the dream feeding as every child is different and eats a different proportion of meal at a time. After 6 months when your baby is not dependent on breast milk or milk for nutrition and gets other calorie-rich food, then you can try to end this session. Try to pause it for one day and notice if he/she is waking out of hunger or not. If yes then you will have to continue dream feeding for some time. And if not then you can pause the process.

Dream feeding is thus a very much helpful method of feeding your child. You only need to keep some points in your mind. Do not overfeed your baby as this can result in discomfort and wake them from their sleep instead. Use a little bit more than the usual amount of water while bottle feeding at night. This will fill their stomach with sufficient ounces with fewer calories, so they can easily digest the proteins and get hungry in the morning again.

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