s/o bedtime question - explain dream feeds? — The Bump
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s/o bedtime question - explain dream feeds?

Right now DS goes to sleep between 6:30-7:00 depending on how tired he is. He then sleeps about 7 hours, wakes up for a feeding around 2:00 (DH gives him a bottle of pumped milk). Then he wakes up for another feeding around 5:00, where I nurse. After that we put him in the swing to sleep until around 7:30.

I guess my questions are: how do dream feeds work? Would they extend the time between feedings so that we would (potentially) only have to do one feeding after midnight? And at what age did your LOs drop down to just one night feeding?

Right now, when he gets up at 2 and 5 he is hungry (crying) and is pretty awake during the feeding, although he usually goes back to sleep easily after. I guess I'm worried that waking him up to eat would get him worked up and he would have a hard time going back to sleep. FWIW, he's 12 weeks now (but really 9 adjusted), and the schedule isn't terrible. I've been reading HSHHC, but I'd love to hear some experiences firsthand.

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Re: s/o bedtime question - explain dream feeds?

  • every baby is different, but for us I think the dream feed did get him over that midnight to 5/6am hurdle. And then after awhile when it was harder and harder to wake him up and get him to eat, we eventually dropped that late bottle. (but increased the amounts in his other bottles...he wasn't getting less food, just more less often). I was hesitant to drop that late bottle, but he transitioned to it just fine.

    you could try it and see how it works...when you get him up, keep the lights very low, don't do much talking, no playing, etc. Just keep things dark and quiet and see how it works for you. if, after a couple nights, it's not working, then you can always stop and go back to your old routine.

  • I've been wondering about this as well. I tried one night at 10ish, but he was too zonked out to even attempt to eat. He's always been a crappy nurser when he's tired, maybe I need to try with a bottle . . .
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  • We co-slept for the first eight months, so dreamfeeding was incredibly easy for us.  DS would start stirring, I'd whip out a boob, and neither of us would fully wake up.

    The idea of dreamfeeding is to feed him while he's still asleep, or just beginning to wake.  So if you nurse him at 7:00, then he needs to eat again at 11, you'd go up at 10:55, pick him up, and latch him on and hope that he just eats and goes right back to sleep.

    FWIW, we didn't drop the night feeds -- even after we stopped co-sleeping -- until DS was nearly a year old.

  • DD was up to eat every 3hrs till we Ferberized (at 9.5 mo). I did try the dream feed a few times but it did nothing. For ex: I'd nurse her around 8pm, she'd fall asleep and then around 10pm, I'd dream feed (nurse; she had no problems nursing while asleep) hoping she would not wake up at 11 but she still did. I only tried it a few times and stopped, since it didn't do anything for us. I did not try it till she was much older than your son though!
  • Back when DD #2 started to STTN (around 4 months old) we did our dream feed at 10 pm after putting her down around 7 pm.  Eventually we dropped it (maybe when she was six months old or maybe seven months?), but it definitely played a big role in having her STTN till 6 am or so.

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