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What is dream feeding?

Trying to get the baby to sleep longer stretches at night and getting more sleep for yourself is an elusive luxury as a new mom. Parents try any number of things to get their babies to sleep longer stretches – swaddling, noise machines, aromatherapy, etc. ⠀

While there are a lot of factors that go into baby sleep, longer stretches of sleep essentially come down to child development and calories. The more milk your baby has in its stomach, the less s/he will wake to eat at night. ⠀

We recommend nursing your baby on demand, however, some parents choose to give the baby an additional feeding in an effort to get the baby to not wake for another middle of the night feed, and garnering a little extra sleep for themselves. Dream feeding is when you rouse your baby—without fully waking—to feed one more time before you turn in for the night. Babies who go to sleep between 6 and 8 p.m. often wake out of hunger in the middle of the night. ⠀

Dream feeds should be administered approximately 2-3 hours after you put the baby down for the night but before you go to sleep. Some health providers advise that the ideal time is around 10/11pm⠀

Image Credit @mrspatels on Instagram


Gently rouse your baby so that s/he is still half-asleep and pick them up to nurse or to give a bottle.

Is Dream feeding dangerous?

Dream feeding is considered to be a safe practice as long as you take your baby out of the crib, wake him up enough to eat and avoid feeding him flat on his back, especially if you’re giving him a bottle. It’s best to dream feed your baby in a semi-upright position, with his head cradled into the crook of your arm.Be aware of baby’s suck and swallow to avoid baby choking or spitting up ⠀

Dream feeds are not recommended for infants. It is advised to add them in after 4 weeks (ideally 6-8 weeks) and then stops around 4 months, or after your baby no longer wakes every 3 hours to eat at night⠀

Note that dream feeding doesn’t work for all babies. For this article, we are referring to full-term physically healthy babies.

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Also, if you have a baby who is a light sleeper then you should probably let your baby sleep rather than risk waking them up. Also, some babies will still wake up to nurse/drink milk despite the additional dream feed.

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rojeanne
rojeanne
7 months ago

Do you burp baby after a dream feed?

Posted By Claire

Claire is our Community Manager here at New Moms Forum. A mom of two (almost grown-up babies), Claire has been building and operating community-based websites for almost 20 years. In her downtime, Claire enjoys spending time with her family and drinking copious amounts of red wine!

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