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To Dream Feed or not to Dream feed …

To dream feed or not –  As many will know I’m not a fan of the dream feed. I feel that the Dream feed makes parents more tired while trying to stay up to offer the feed and babies tend not to sleep any longer because of it.
The reason I don’t love the Dream feed is that as a babies natural circadian Rhythm starts to mature babies tend to sleep their longest most substantial deepest block of sleep at the beginning of the night then cycle through some shorter blocks later.

Dream feeding is meant to interrupt this long block so that baby will hopefully then have their longer block of sleep after this feed, but because many parents offer the feed while their baby is still sleeping they just end up adding in a feed and baby will not sleep any longer after the feed thus they are just getting an extra feed overnight while you’re getting more tired.

There are however two ways that you can do this feed successfully.
For young babies
I would only do this method if you or your partner are still awake between 10/11 pm at night and if it is your partner they can offer a bottle of Formula or express milk
Wake your baby at 10 pm – properly wake them and bring them out to the lounge room
Offer the feed at 10.20 pm can be in the living area or their room with a lamp on.
After the feed and burp do the Bedtime routine and place them back in the cot and allow them to self-settle back to sleep
Use the core night method for subsequent wakes overnight. Once your baby is sleeping from 11 pm until morning, you can start to reduce the amount of milk you are offering for the dream feed gradually every few nights until you are only offering 80mls
Then offer the 80mls as a sleepy Dream feed for three nights at 10 pm
Cut it down to 60mls for three nights
Stop Dream feeding

For Babies over 10- Months and excessively feeding overnight.
I use this method to manage hunger while teaching an older baby to resettle at ALL wake-ups overnight without feeding.
By offering a dream feed you can be confident that your baby is not hungry when going through the Lullababay SOS Sleep Program and avoid confusion by feeding at some wakes but not others.

For this to be successful, your baby needs to be asleep when you offer the feed. If they wake and you feed them back to sleep, you will only reinforce the feed to sleep association. This feed is PARENT NOT CHILD INSTIGATED
If you pick them up and feed them sleepily, placing them back in the cot sleepily, they are none the wiser about the feed and will resettle without knowing that they have fed. For all other wakes you can resettle them depending on the stage you are at only settling plan
6 Days to no feeds overnight
At 10 pm – Pick baby up and offer a full feed while as sleepy as you can keep them but making sure that they are drinking. Place them back in the cot sleepy. You do not generally need to burp for a dream feed.
Offer full feed for two night
Move your dream feed to 9.45 pm and reduce by 1/3 of the time or amount if bottle-feeding do this for two night
Move your dream feed to 9.30 and reduce again by 1/3. They should only be on about 50/60mls now do this for two night
Stop all Feeding and no longer offer a dream feed overnight.

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