Baby Hints & Tips

Dream feeds

What are dream feeds?

Sleeping baby is fed before their parent goes to bed to minimise the need for feeds during the night and reduce the number of times parents need to wake up to feed baby.  We all know that a well rested parent has more capacity to nurture their baby during the day.   So a dream feed is definitely worth considering to see if it helps you get a few more hours sleep.  

Why do a dream feed?

A dream feed for baby aims to reduce the number of times that parents need to get up during the night by filling up baby’s stomach before mum goes to bed.  

How to do a dream feed?

Dream feeds can work for bottle and breast fed babies.  Before mum or dad goes to bed, pick up your sleeping baby and offer them a bottle or breast.  Baby will feed, while staying asleep. 

Keep the room as dark as possible, consider a night light to allow you to see enough without waking baby.  Consider setting up a feeding chair close to baby’s bed to minimise moving baby around too much and risking waking baby.  Don’t forget to get the temperature right in baby’s room.

What are the risk of dream feeds?

Some parents find that dream feeds mean that their baby starts waking and wanting feeds more often. 

Another issue can be that baby doesn’t wake enough to be able to complete a full feed.  If baby stops their dream feed feeding consider unwrapping baby slightly, or exposing their feet to the air to stimulate them just enough for them to keep feeding.  

Remember every child is different and not everyone finds this works.  Read our community advice below to read parents’s experiences with dream feeds.   Our community share opinions on whether dream feeds are helpful or not.

Should we try dream feeds with our baby?

If your baby is sleeping well or you have no concerns with your baby’s sleep then this may not be for you.   

If you are looking for options to try and help baby sleep longer then a dream feed is worth considering.  It is also important to consider other factors with regards to baby sleep.  Consider

dream feed to help baby sleep

Community questions about dream feeding

  1. What age did others start and when did you stop dream feeds? Is it hard to stop once you start?

  • I give my 7 week old boy a dream feed and he is bottle feed I give it to him at 11 at night which makes him sleep to 7 in the morning..
  • Dream feed is a feed when they’re asleep and yes of course bottle fed babies can
  • Put babies to bed, then pick them up at about 11 (don’t unwrap or chat to them) and feed them in a quiet room to get them to sleep til later in the morning.
  • It is simple to stop dream feeds, I reduced the time I did them by half an hour each week my son never woke up so I kept reducing it by half an hour then when I got to 8:30 I reduced the amount of the bottle by 50mls once a week he still didn’t wake so I kept reducing till it was all gone. By the time he was 6 months old he was able to sleep 7-7 with no dream feed
  • I’m just starting now and my son is 5 months old – I just got the book called ‘Save Our Sleep’ by Tizzie Hall – it has all the information about dream feeds and routines in there – well worth getting 🙂
  • Yes dream feeding bottle fed babies is easy done. Pick up baby, give bottle, gently burp baby by leaning against your chest on a slight angle, pop baby back in bed. They don’t generally take in as much air during a dream feed as they are asleep/drowsy.
  • Dream feed is usually done around 10-11pm at night to encourage sleeping through the night. I am still currently dream feeding my 8 month old. We just pick her up out of bed keep them in a dark quiet room still wrapped (if they are wrapped) you gently rub the bottle on their lips and they will start sucking they don’t usually burp in a dream feed once finished the bottle they will push it out and still be asleep then put them back in bed. I’ve been doing this for my dd since 3 weeks and she has slept through ever since. Not sure when we are going to try and drop it ! Soon I think 🙂
  • I dream fed my DS from 4 weeks til 7.5 months. With both breastfeeding and bottle. With bottle he just stayed in his cot and burped himself. When he was 7.5 months my mum was looking after him and forgot his 10.30 dream feed and he slept all night (better then with a dream feed) so we stopped then!
  • I still dream feed my 17 month old

3. Can someone please explain ‘dream feeds’ to me, I’m keen to try it, anything better than still getting up 4-5 times a night with 7 mo DD

  • I think it is when you wake bub up well not wake just hold them while still somewhat sleeping about an hour before they are meant to and feed them. Its meant to prolong sleeping time. . . I tried it a couple of times, I didn’t see much difference but could be different for you 🙂 Sari
  • I dreamfeed my bub 13wks. I feed her at around 7pm, the before I go to bed, about 10.30 I get her out of bed, lay her next to me and put my breast to her mouth, she responds without waking, triggers the let down reflex and has a nice old feed whilst remaining asleep. She will usually sleep through till 6am after that 🙂 Tania
  • I used put my son down at 630 after his feed then just get him up and give him a bottle at 10 he slept the whole time and went till 6am. Danica
  • Dream feed is usually 10-10.30 whichever suits you best I gently pick up my little one put the bottle to his mouth & he will drink it they are seamy sleeping whilst doing this after he is finished I gently pat his back to get a small burp as have constant issues with reflux then he gets put back down & sleeps till 6-7am. Sarah
  • This is what I think it is… Say you feed her at 7pm before bed and then she goes down for the night. You would then go into her room before u go to bed say 10pm and feed her without waking her. If she is bottle fed just put it in her mouth while she is still in her cot and if breast pull her out, feed her and put back. Don’t even change her nappy. Good luck!  Sarah
  • My scenario was similar to Tania’s, however I was able to stop the dream feed by 6 months as when I would try to wake him a bit he wouldn’t be hungry and would quickly go back to sleep. I’d try giving solids and making sure enough was being taken in during the day. Like we do with ourselves, but still expect a wake up call or two during growth spurts or when teething. Good luck!  Rebecca
  • I have never been able to master a dream feed with either my bottle fed first baby or my breast fed second baby haha they always seem to wake no matter what I did!! 🙂  Kristy
  • I give my son a dream feed at 12 and most nights he sleeps through to 6-8 i have found even when he has been sick he drinks this feed better than all his others 🙂  Laura
  • Dream feed has worked for all my 3 boys. They Feed at 6.30pm & bed at 7pm, then at 10 pm gently get them out of there cot & feed. My boys would then sleep through till 7am. If you can get your hands on the book ‘Save Our Sleep’ by Tizzie Hall, she explains it & has some routines that may help you with Bubs sleeping habits. 🙂  Dimity
  • wow 4-5 times a night?? surely bub cant be hungry every time. That’s a lot of times to get up at that age you must be buggered. have you spoke to your child nurse to see if maybe there is something else going on.maybe bub just cant stay settled.  Kristy
  • Definitely look at Save Our Sleep to explain dream feed & to get rid of that many wakes!! Cold is a huge factor in multiple night wakings even though most don’t realise bubs is cold till u start to add more layers. Tizzies bedding guide is avail on her website for $9….best money spent, it’s a big eye opener.  Krystal

Did you try using a dream feed for your baby? Did it work for you?
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