You’ve probably noticed that your baby is amazing at guzzling down breast milk, even when he’s asleep! Some babies are so relaxed while nursing that they fall asleep at the breast. Others will start breastfeeding while sleeping and stay asleep the entire time. Dream feeding is one method to extend your baby’s night sleep and allow you to get a few extra hours of sleep as well. Here’s the scoop on dream feeding:
What is Dream Feeding?
Dream feeding is when you feed your sleeping baby before you go to bed. Your baby will already be asleep but rather than wait for him to naturally wake for a feeding, with dream feeding you will nurse your baby right before your own bedtime. This may prolong the amount of time your baby sleeps.
The Pros of Dream Feeding
When your baby sleeps longer you will get more sleep time as well. For example, if your baby can sleep for a 7 hour stretch at night and you feed him for the last time at 7 p.m., he’ll be up by 2 a.m. to feed. But if you do a dream feeding at 10 or 11 p.m., your baby may sleep until 5 or 6 a.m. And that’s some great bonus sleep for you too!
Daddy can also do a dream feeding of pumped breast milk to allow you to go to bed earlier. This may mean daddy doesn’t have to wake in the middle of the night either, but rather do the dream feeding before he goes to bed.
Dream feeding may help your baby get into the pattern of sleeping through the night and for longer periods of time sooner. Even once your baby weans from the dream feeding, he may be able to stay asleep for the entire night based on this training.
The Cons of Dream Feeding
Dream feeding doesn’t work for all babies. First, some babies will still wake several hours later even if they were dream fed. If that happens continuously, dream feeding may not work for your baby.
Also, some babies refuse to eat during dream feedings because they are asleep. Newborns usually experience their deepest sleep early in the night so eating may not be on their agenda during that time.
Other babies will wake up during a dream feeding and be too stimulated to go back to sleep right away. This can be even worse if they are cranky from being woken up and/or they refuse to eat.
Additionally, dream feeding may backfire in terms of teaching your baby to sleep through the night. Some babies who are used to eating at a certain time will come to expect it and wake at that time on their own, even once you decide to terminate dream feedings.
What do you think? Is dream feeding heavenly for your baby?
Sources: KellyMom, BabySleepSite and BabyWiseMom