Consider a dream feed which may help you get some more sleep during the start of your own nighttime slumber.

If you are having trouble getting a longer stretch of sleep at night, sleep specialists often recommend trying —a dream feed. Ideally a dream feed is giving your child a feeding when they are sleeping, usually done at around ~ 10-11 pm & shortly before you are heading off to sleep. The hope is that the baby will stay asleep through the entire feeding and then not awaken until you’ve had some sleep. Dream feeding does not work for every baby. The reason for this is that some babies will fully awaken during the dream feeding and then be very hard to put down to sleep again. Alternatively, some babies do not take in a good enough feeding to allow parents to get in that longer stretch of sleep. But it works for many babies, so consider trying it.  

Generally speaking you do not want to try a dream feed with a nightowl. So if your baby goes down for the night at roughly the same time as you have also gone to bed, it’s not worth considering. This is more of a method to try to align your baby’s sleep with yours. 

Let’s give you an example: Let’s say you put your baby to sleep at 7 pm, but you will not be headed to sleep till 10 pm. Most likely if you did nothing, your baby might awaken again an hour or so after you have fallen asleep. In order to avoid this and ideally give yourself a few more hours of uninterrupted sleep, you can consider giving them another feeding right before you go to sleep.

The principle here is that you have to try your best not to awaken them, and feed them while they are sleeping. Which means do your best to keep quiet, keep lights down, do not remove them from their swaddle and no diaper changes. If it seems like they are in need of a diaper change, do this before you feed them. And if they awaken a little bit, they probably will fall back to sleep pretty easily after being fed. Also, it is important that you try your best to get in a good feeding or it will not offer much benefit. 

Try it out, see if this helps you get more sleep. You might need to try it for 3-4 days to really determine if it helps. If it does not produce the desired effect, then you can simply stop the dream feed. If it goes very badly the first night, you can stop trying after that night. Maybe you’ll try it again in a month or so? Just remember about the dream feed in case you may want to reconsider this again in the future.

When should you drop the dream feed? Most parents will stop the dream feed b/w 4 to 8 months of age. Consider dropping the dream feed if your baby is sleeping long stretches at night, or if it was working well and then all of a sudden starts interrupting your baby’s sleep pattern.

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