should I dream feed?

Should I Dreamfeed?

Does dreamfeeding really help baby sleep longer? What is it and why are they done? Today we are answering one of our most common questions, "Should I Dreamfeed?". Moms on Call partners with families all around the world to support them where they need it most! Sleep! This question is sent to our inbox over and over, so today we are breaking down what a dreamfeed is, why they are done and what we've found is most helpful in achieving those long stretches of sleep! Lets dig in.

What Is a Dreamfeed?

  • Dreamfeeds are feedings that are done when you, the parent, feeds your newborn without fully waking them. After they've gone to bed and prior to you going to bed.

Why Are They Done?

  • Sometimes they are done in those first few weeks to get feedings in and to get baby back to their birthweight.
  • They may also be done with the hopes that a longer stretch of sleep happens more aligned with the parent’s long stretch of sleep.
    • Some believe that if you feed them later at night, they will sleep longer.

What Does Moms on Call Believe?

  • We do not recommend dreamfeeds.

Here is what we have found:

  • Infants tend to get their longest stretch of sleep in that first stretch, right after you put them to bed.
  • Disrupting their sleep cycle can result in it becoming a habit. Which can cause some issues down the road.
  • If waking to feed, they tend to not eat very well.
    • In turn, we also “wake" their digestive system with a dreamfeed.
  • We've found baby will typically still wake at a time in the middle of the night that they would have without the dreamfeed.
  • It usually does NOT result in a longer stretch of sleep

So, What Do We Recommend?

  • If you are doing dreamfeeds and they are working, then great! No need to change anything.
  • If you are currently doing dreamfeeds and you feel they are NOT working and you're struggling to get them back to sleep or they are waking more frequently, we can help!
    • There isn’t any magic way to get rid of dreamfeeds. We simply just don’t do them anymore.
    • Remember, according to age and weight, we may still expect a feed or two in the middle of the night. See our Typical Day Schedules for more.
      • The first few nights you stop offering a dreamfeed, you may find that baby wakes at that time because they are already in the habit of getting that feed.
      • Follow the soothing guidelines and feed if needed.
    • After 2-3 nights you will find they will get that longer stretch of sleep without interruption.

If you feel you need more personalized support to help you navigate this and any other transitions then we recommend connecting with one of Moms on Call Certified Consultants.

At Moms on Call, we provide simple, sensible parenting resources to sleep, feed, laugh and love birth through toddlerhood. You can find tips and recommendations like this and more in our books and Online Video Courses for 0-6 months where we cover everything from feeding and sleeping to schedule transitions and typical days at each stage.

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