Baby Hints & Tips

Dream Feeds – Helpful or Not?

What is a dream feed?

Dream feeds are intended to help extend a baby’s ability to sleep through without waking.  This can be done with breast fed and bottle fed babies.

dream feeds do they workHow to dream feed

  • Keep the room quiet and dark.  The idea is to keep baby asleep.
  • Before you go to bed, or around 10pm, pick baby up quietly without waking them
  • Quietly feed baby without waking them.  Reflex will help them feed while asleep
  • Once baby is fed pop them back in their cot

How does a dream feed help baby sleep longer?

Many babies need to feed through the night.  The point of a dream feed before parents go to bed is to fill baby up, help baby keep their wake times to when mum and dad are up and help them to learn to sleep longer.

Are dream feeds helpful?

Dream feeds work for some, but not all.  This time of night is when baby sleeps the most soundly, so they may not wake enough to be able to feed.

In some babies a dream feed may have the opposite effect and start encouraging baby to wake up more regularly.

Community experiences

What are people’s thoughts and experiences of dream feeding? Not sure if I want to force baby to feed when she’s sleeping peacefully and if it would even help her to sleep through the early hours of the morning.

Dream feeds helped my baby

  • If you try introducing a dream feed, they will only feed if hungry. I found it helped keep mine asleep for longer. Started it around 10 weeks. Stopped around 6 months I think. Rachael
  • I love dreamfeeding. Sweetie gets to eat before she eventually wakes up and cries for a bottle, then cries even longer while I have to prepare the bottle. I don’t see how this is selfish of the mother, if baby takes a good feed and continues to sleep peacefully what’s the issue? Since I started a dreamfeed at 10 30-11 before sweetie wakes she sleeps until 3 or 4, wiggles around, I quickly feed her and she sleeps again until 7-8. Only have to get up once during the night. It’s the next best thing to sleeping through the night Catherine
  • The idea of a dream feed is if baby is waking at 2 am for a feed then if you feed them when you go to bed at 10-11pm that the baby will give you their 6-8hour block of sleep before the next feed instead of having their 6-8 hour block before you go to bed. Teressa
  • Dream feed = BEST THING WE EVER DID! At 7 weeks we tried and second night we tried he slept through from 7-530 then after about a week he started sleeping 6pm till 730-830am and still does now at 5 1/2 months! We still dream feed at 1030 coz too scared to stop! You don’t wake your baby you just pick them up gently and the feed in their sleep! I’m all for it! Stephanie
  • I too was apprehensive to dream feed however it has worked for my boy, it doesn’t work for every baby though, it’s definitely worth a go Natasha
  • I have heard dream feeding does make the bub sleep that little bit longer but like you I am anxious to wake sleeping bub up… I have a 2 week old and it haven’t tried it just due to anxiety that I won’t be able to settle him again Emma
  • My baby is 10.5 months old. I dropped dream feed at 4 months but reintroduced it at 7months as she a very small solids eater and dream feed allows for to go through the night. The aim of dream feeding is not to wake baby up. I find it improves my little ones sleep quality. I’m bed at 6:30/7:00, dream feed at 10:30/11pm and sleeps through to 7:00/7:30am. We attended sleep school and they highly recommended it until at least 8 months of age. Danielle
  • I fed both my girls up at 10pm so that they would sleep through the rest of the night (at 8 weeks sleeping 11pm-7am). I preferred to stay up later than get up earlier :)- Josie
  • Dreamfeed is great. Have done it with both of my babies and they sleep beautifully. Everyone has different opinions but when You do it it’s not a massive disruption for the baby. You don’t barge in flip the lights on grab them up and chat. It’s more relaxing than when they’ve woken up for a feed. I dreamfeed my 3 month old at 1030 and she sleeps till 730am. One night I thought I’d give it a go letting her decide when she wanted to eat and she woke at 2am crying like she was starving. The next night I dreamfed her again and she slept 730 again. Lisa
  • Have done dream feed from 4 wks, bub has done well on it, hasn’t disrupted her sleep etc, and gradually stretched out length of sleep from 4,6,7,8hrs, now sleeps 7/7 with a 10pm dream feed, bub is 17wks and has done this from 9wks. It’s worked for me, but I know friends who it hasn’t worked for. It definitely gives me a nice 8 hr sleep/night, will start to phase it out when bub is eating 3 solid meals/day. Julie
  • Dream feeds are awesome. I started when my bub was about 12 weeks and he barley wakes. It means I get a solid few hours before he wakes for his next feed Sally

Dream feeds didn’t help my baby or made their sleep worse

  • I tried it twice. It wasn’t too successful and frankly not worth the effort. My dd was happy ‘skipping’ the feed and is perfectly healthy and growing well. It also caused no problems with my milk supply. Roselea
  • We never did the whole dream feed thing. If bub is sleeping they are content anyways. A baby that young generally won’t sleep through anyways, unless you’re a) lucky or b) they’re on solids already. Tegan
  • I started the dream feed with my bub thinking it would get her to sleep that little bit longer but she still woke the same amount of times so it ended being worse. So I tried dropping it but now it’s a habit and actually wakes at that time every night. I wish I’d never done it. In saying that some bubs it works for. I’d just really be careful with it. Kylie
  • I’m with others I can’t understand the whole silly dream feed thing!!! I have had a hand in raising all of my 5 nieces and 1 of my own and not a single dream feed had. And only one feed during the night with mine it was till around 11mths and she started through with out a feed at 2am. I just dont get the whole wake a sleeping baby thing KristyI personally do not understand the concept of disturbing a sleeping baby to feed them, they will wake if they are hungry. I never dream fed mine and they slept all night from 5 weeks and 8 weeks. To me it makes more sense to allow the baby to wake if they need to be fed. Amy
  • I didn’t actually know about dream feeds until it was too late but my bub fed at 8pm then again at 1am & 5am but by 13 wks he had dropped the 1am feed & by 15 weeks he would sleep till 6.30am anyways. Now I’m considering doing it for next bub but not sure if it’s worth it. Susan
  • Never did the dream feed. My daughter absolutely refused to open her lips while asleep. She was sleeping 6-8hrs on her own by 2-3 weeks. Melissa
  • I have never done a dream feed with either child. Both started sleeping right through the night between 4-6wks old. Almost 32wks with #3 and don’t plan on dream feeding. Lauren
  • Totally disagree with dream feeds. Your baby will feed when they want to, why would you wake a baby who wants to sleep. Most of the time they won’t have a proper feed anyway as they are tired and you are disrupting their natural sleep pattern. Or they wake up completely and want to stay up. I wouldn’t want to be woken in a deep sleep to be told to have a drink lol just my opinion though Naomi
  • My daughter is nearly 7months & we still dream feed ! Mind you she was 2.3 kilos when she was born so we had to feed her every 3hrs no matter what to get her to a healthy weight, the nurses suggested dream feeding as she wouldn’t wake through the night. She goes to bed around 7:30-8pm & now has one dream feed around 12pm & this keeps her settled until around 7:30-8am My daughter doesn’t get “disturbed” or “unsettled” from this, it actually gives her a better sleep as she doesn’t need to wake & get stressed waiting for food. On the odd occasion I don’t dream feed her because I haven’t woken or thought I would see how she goes she will wake around 2am & seems to be starving AnonAll babies are different, do what works for you & your baby & if your worried chat to your dr or midwife/ community nurse & they can ease your mind Hayley
  • I never did the whole dream feed. If baby is sleeping let them sleep, They will wake when hungry. Leigh
  • The dream feed is great if you can get it to work. You’ll need to give it a go for a good week though to see if it’s for you or not. Had my dd on a dream feed at 10pm and we were all in Bed asleep by 10:30 from 9weeks. She’d sleep 7pm – 7am no waking during the night. I really like the technique. Ellen
  • People saying they don’t understand the dream feed and why would you wake your baby to feed obviously really don’t get it… You don’t wake your baby hence the name dream feed! I’ve done it since my DS was young and he was sleeping through at 11 weeks from 7pm (last feed at 6) with dream feed at 1030 then he would wake 630/7am. Took him a little while to really start drinking a decent amount but I just kept doing it. Now he has a good feed and doesn’t even open his eyes the whole time (EBF). But also agree it’s not for every baby and some don’t need it to sleep through anyway. I would give it a try for a few weeks and if it doesn’t work for you or your baby then stop. Bella
  • I’m against dream feeds, as it’s all about the mother and not about the baby. Let the baby sleep and eat when it wants to. Sure it’s tiring as a mum having broken sleep but in my opinion that’s what we signed up for when we became parents. Elana

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