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The Dream Feed

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
the dream feed, baby sleep, online sleep program, nurture sleep program

When to stop dream feeding baby?

I've had quite a few babies over 6 months old, having a dream feed still, and it's had a big impact on sleeping through the night.

Some parents swear by the dream feed but in my experience I've only seen it work really well in about 10% of young babies.

When I worked in the UK we never did a dream feed, I'd never heard of it until I came to work at Camperdown in new South Wales. Even in Victoria it was never mentioned/practised.

So before I go into why it causes issues for some babies I'd like to look at where it's come from.

Tizzie Hall talks about in Save Our Sleep as does Gina Ford.

She advocates giving them a breast or bottle feed at around 10:30-11pm when you usually go to bed yourselves. Its best not to wake baby hence the term dream feed and the theory is that it may encourage a sleep through till 5am or so.

Babies have their own circadian rhythms and I feel by doing a dream feed we are resetting their clocks and not always in a good way. Have a read at this link and you'll see it's a divisive topic.

After 4 months of age most babies definitely do not need a dream feed and by continuing you may be preventing a sleep through!

And after 6 months they can be sleeping 7pm till 6am without a night feed. Sometimes I find these babies are just waiting to be allowed to sleep through. By feeding them we are rewarding their behaviour, so they carry on waking as they think we wanted them to wake. And so we carry on...

I think we often make sleep and babies a very complicated topic and it needn't be. The more we feed them in the day the better they sleep at night. Full tummies are very important for sleep, i.e. a very good breast feed (offer the 2nd side after the 1st) or formula feed worked out at the correct amount for baby's weight.We need to teach them to self settle, as soon as we and they are ready.

I've read so many sleep books and they confuse me with all these different feed-sleep routines for different months so what chance have most parents?!

So if it's not broken don't fix it and don't feel you have to do a dream feed!

What do you think? Does it work for you and your baby or do you find it really messed their feed and sleep patterns?

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