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What is dreamfeeding? How do I do it? Will it work?

What is dreamfeeding? How do I do it? Will it work?
I get asked about dreamfeeding a lot. No one gets more advice (a lot being unsolicited!) than a mother who's baby is "still" not sleeping through. A common remedy is to try introducing a dreamfeed.  A dreamfeed is the term used for feeding a small baby very late at night (normally between about 9-11pm) with the aim of having the baby sleep a longer overnight stretch without waking up for more food.

For some people it can be a lifesaver; bubs goes down for the night around 7pm, mum then rouses her enough to feed her but not to wake her up fully around 10pm (before she goes to bed herself) then hopefully baby sleeps through until around 5am which means mum has enjoyed a blissful 7hr sleep.

So that's the theory, and for lots of mums it works. There are two ways this technique can fall down though...The first part of the night is when babies (and children over 4 months of age) sleep the deepest, so it may be difficult to get them to even want to feed. My personal philosophy (in most cases) is to let sleeping babies lie and I fear that if we get babies up and try to feed them in their sleep we risk mucking up the sleep routine that they've already established. The other problem may be that even if you manage to get your little one to have a good feed, it just might not work. They might still wake up at their usual time (1am? 2am?) demanding room service. No explanations, babies just kinda like writing the rules sometimes.

So while I certainly don't oppose the philosophy of dreamfeeds (some people think that it goes against demand feeding by forcing a meal on the baby), it's not something I usually recommend. It's great if it works but it's not reliable enough for me to give mum's what could be false hope!

If you would like personalised help with any sleep issue for a child, newborn to 5 years, contact Katie Forsythe at The Baby Sleep Co today on 0457 473 725 or click here to send us an email.

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