What Is Dream Feeding?…And How Do I Do It?

New child infants eat rather a lot. Breastfed infants eat about each two to 3 hours and formula-fed infants hit the bottle each three to 4 hours…and that doesn’t cease when bedtime calls. In actual fact, bottle-fed infants usually proceed evening feedings till they’re round 6 months outdated, whereas breastfed infants could proceed as much as a 12 months. However that doesn’t imply that there’s nothing you are able to do to tame night-waking. In case your baby wakes up hungry every evening, it’s sensible to extend daytime milk (analysis exhibits that infants who obtained extra milk or strong feeds in the course of the day are much less more likely to feed at evening) and enhance their night energy by means of a dream feed. Consider a dream feed as topping off your automobile’s gasoline tank…so there is not any must refuel in the course of the journey forward. Providing your child a dream feed will get rid of—or at the very least delay—one of many prime causes infants wake via the evening: a rumbling tummy.

What’s dream feeding?

Dream feeding is if you rouse your child—with out absolutely waking them up—to feed them another time earlier than you flip in for the evening. Infants who fall asleep between 6pm and 8pm usually wake out of starvation in the midst of the evening. However analysis has proven that sneaking in an additional feed between 10pm and midnight can scale back evening wakings, serving to infants keep asleep till a extra “cheap” time of the morning. This could develop into a part of your baby’s common sleep schedule.

How do I dream feed?

The aim of a dream feed is to supply your little another meal earlier than you hit the hay, so that you just and your child’s schedule sync higher…and also you each sleep higher. Able to strive it? Observe these steps:

  • Step 1: Gently take your child out of the bassinet or crib between 10pm and 12am, or every time if you go to mattress. Preserve the room dim and quiet, apart from white noise. Doing this throughout Child’s extra energetic REM sleep is right. Throughout REM sleep your child could flutter their eyelids, make little squeaks and squawks, or transfer round greater than common.
  • Step 2: Preserve your child swaddled. There’s no must unswaddle—or change your child’s diaper—in the event that they’ll take the feed that method and their diaper isn’t dirty. (In case your child is tremendous sleepy, chances are you’ll want to evoke them a bit by gently tickling their toes.)
  • Step 3: Contact Child’s cheek along with your breast or bottle. Putting your breast or bottle in your child’s cheek or decrease lip will get up their rooting reflex and get your child to start out consuming.
  • Step 4: Provide a short feed. Encourage nursing for five to 10 minutes on either side. For bottle-fed infants, strive for about 3 ounces.
  • Step 5: Burp your child. Many dad and mom ask: Do you burp a child after a dream feed? and the reply is at all times sure. You need to burp a child after a dream feed—or any feed—earlier than placing them again down on their again.

Tips on how to get a child again to sleep after a dream feed:

Oftentimes, a child who has simply loved a dream feed may be returned to their bassinet with nary a wakeup. But when your baby has woken up throughout or after a dream feed, you may get them again down with the assistance of the 5 Ss: Swaddling, Facet/Abdomen, Shushing, Swinging, Sucking.

First, if you happen to haven’t already, swaddle your child and placed on some rumbly white noise. I like to recommend taking part in white noise all evening, however you may flip up the quantity as you’re placing your child again down. The best white noise for sleep is steady, monotonous, and at a low-pitch, like my SNOO sounds obtain or SNOObear, Happiest Child’s white noise lovey.

On the identical time, light rhythmic movement can assist lull infants to sleep. In actual fact, a 2019 examine within the journal PLOS ONE discovered that the magical mixture of swaddling, white noise, and rocking “evokes a direct calming response” when caregivers soothe their infants and after they use SNOO, my responsive bassinet. SNOO makes use of womb-like white noise and movement (and a built-in swaddle!) to shortly settle infants again to sleep after a feed…often including sleep for the entire household.

Different time-tested tips to assist a child sleep after a dream feed embody rocking in a rocking chair, strolling along with your child in your arms, bouncing on an train ball, and providing a pacifier, which fulfills the Sucking portion of the 5 S’s. As an added bonus, analysis suggests a bedtime paci helps decrease the chance of sudden toddler sleep loss of life, or SIDS.

As you place your baby again into their bassinet, do my fast wake-and-sleep trick, which teaches your child to go to sleep on their very own. Right here’s the gist: Proper after you place your child down, gently rouse them with a delicate tickle on their ft till they barely open their eyes. After a couple of seconds, they’ll shut their eyes once more and slide again to sleep. In case your baby fusses, decide them up for a feed or a cuddle, then repeat the gentle-tickle-to-wake routine.

Set your child up for dream feed success:

As I discussed earlier, the one-two punch of including daytime energy and dream feeds can actually work wonders to assist infants sleep longer. Attempt providing cluster feeds from about 4pm until bedtime. Cluster feeds are a collection of fast milky meals given to Child each one to 2 hours. They’re meant to load your baby’s system with energy to maintain them effectively stocked with vitamin via the evening. On the identical time, put your baby down for night-night safely swaddled along with your trusted white noise on. Contemplate this one other “dream staff” to assist Child sleep higher! 

Why dream feeds are nice to your toddler:

A great factor about dream feeding is that doesn’t intrude along with your baby’s must feed at evening. As an alternative, dream feeding merely shifts your child’s feeding schedule only a bit in order that it’s extra conducive to your sleep schedule, too. Plus, dream feeding signifies that…

  • Your child will get the additional energy they should sleep higher.
  • Your child is consuming a meal at a handy time, so you may sleep longer, too.
  • You’re not responding to your child’s crying with meals, which is necessary as a result of reacting to cries with a feed can inadvertently encourage your child to eat extra at evening.
  • Your child will eat much less in the course of the evening and subsequently be hungrier within the morning, which can enhance daytime consuming.

Ought to I wake my child for a second dream feed?

In case your child often wakes round 3:30am regardless of having an earlier dream feed and utilizing robust, rumbly white noise, contemplate setting your alarm and giving another dream feed at 3am. Once more, it’s greatest to maintain the lights dim and to not speak or cuddle an excessive amount of at this hour. You need to be loving if you feed your child, however you don’t need your baby to suppose that it’s time to play! The thought is to select up and feed your baby earlier than they wake you, so that you’re giving your child the nourishment they want, however not rewarding them for waking and crying.

If you happen to should do that early-morning dream feed, each three days, scale back the 3am feed a bit extra by giving rather less milk than common. If you happen to’re nursing, simply feed on one aspect for the second dream feed. If you happen to’re bottle-feeding, you may strive doubling the quantity of water the formulation instructions recommend—for simply ONE feeding and ONLY for a pair days. This is essential: It’s harmful to dilute child formulation for meals. It may trigger critical well being issues. Diluting for this ONE wee-hour feed for a short time period is completely different. The aim of the additional water is to fill your child’s abdomen with sufficient ounces, however fewer energy. This can assist infants sleep via to morning…when they are going to be hungry and able to eat their full bottle once more. Once more, it is a momentary repair solely for use for the 3am dream feed—and just for a few nights.

When ought to I cease dream feeding?

All infants are completely different, so there isn’t a particular age suggestion for stopping a dream feed. My normal rule is that you could bid adieu to the dream feed 2 to 4 weeks after your child is sleeping effectively from the time of your dream feed on via to the morning. (Study when your child may begin sleeping via the evening.) After all, if the dream feed isn’t working for you, there’s no must proceed!

Closing Ideas on the Dream Feed and Different Sleep Suggestions

Providing a dream feed to your snoozing child earlier than you declare “lights out” could offer you an opportunity to catch extra treasured ZZZs, which, in fact, is incredible! Giving a dream feed may assist practice your candy pea to remain asleep for longer stretches…and that talent can carry over to higher evening sleeps down the street, too. Past dream feeding, in case your new child child is having problem sleeping, chances are you’ll want slightly additional assist lulling them to dreamland. That is the place I hope SNOO can assist exhausted households by mechanically soothing fussing with light rocking and white noise. You may study extra about SNOO and discover different nice sleep sources beneath:

  • SNOO Success Tales
  • All About Your Child’s Wake Home windows
  • What to Do When Your Child Will not Sleep in a Bassinet
  • Tips on how to Flip On Child’s “On Swap” for Sleep
  • Sleep Regression 101




Leave a Reply