One of the many tricks that parents use to get their children sleeping through the night is a “dream feed.”
This simply means that at sometime during the night — usually just before the parents go to bed themselves — they put a bottle into their sleeping baby’s mouth.
The idea is that the baby instinctively starts eating, and will “fill up” just before Mom and Dad turn in for the night, resulting in a few extra hours of sleep for everyone.
Does it work? Is it a good idea? Click the video below for my answer:
If you’re looking for a much better way to get your child sleeping straight through the night, check out The Sleep Sense Program.
And if you have any questions about YOUR child’s sleep, feel free to ask away in the ‘Comments’ section below!View the Video Transcript
In fact, I find that it really contributes to the whole idea of feeding and sleep associations. If you know anything about me, you know that I’m going to teach you that you really don’t want to encourage a feeding and sleep association with your baby. Because they will wake up repeatedly through the night and need your help either with the breast or the bottle getting back to sleep. It really ends up being not about the food but more about the sleep. What I always tell my clients is I get why people are tempted to do it. I’m with you. If you can buy yourself some more time, it would be worth it.
Because it so rarely works, most people find that there is no extra time when they do the dream feed as opposed to not. My concern around it is if what you’re trying to do is teach your baby how to consolidate nighttime sleep. That will naturally happen over time. Usually, by the third month a baby’s body clock is falling in line with consolidated nighttime sleep, but you want to do everything that you can to encourage that along.
What I worry about with the dream feed is you could go in to your baby’s room at 10 P.M., pick him up gently. Feed him. but there is no way any one could actually eat, if they’re in the deepest stage of their nighttime sleep. You’re essentially pulling the baby out of whatever stage he was in and getting him to the surface of sleep, so that he can actually physically eat. You’ve interrupted. You’ve come in and you’ve interrupted a cycle.
My advice to anybody who is considering it is to not bother. You’re much better off taking the steps you need to take to teach your baby to sleep well. Prop free, and just let the natural progression of consolidated sleep happen all on its own. I’m telling you you’ll buy yourself way more time that way, because you’ll teach your baby how to sleep through the night, than interrupting or interfering or encouraging a feed sleep association with the dream feed.
OK? That should be a little sigh of relief because now you don’t have to worry about it. Just teach your child some great sleep skills and you’re all set. Thanks for watching. Sleep well.
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