Tips on making the "dream feed" work...

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Tips on making the "dream feed" work...

Postby erinisle22 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:50 pm

Hi everyone

My baby girl is nearly 8 weeks old. She was a big baby at birth (9lb 3oz, ie more than 4kg) and I figure she is bigger than that now (although I'm a bad mum and since she is baby number 2 she hasn't been weighed since the last midwife visit)...

She is exclusively breastfed (currently refusing the bottle but that is a post for another time!) already regularly sleeps 5-6 hours at night but it is either from 10pm after a very awake and unsettled 7-10pm period (ie a last feed at 10pm) or from 7pm to midnightish...

So if she goes to sleep as we would like at 7pm, she wakes twice (midnightish and 4amish) and then 7:30am ish to start the day.

If she goes to sleep at 10pmish, she wakes once at 4am, and then to start the day around 7amish.

It seems to me that if I could get the dream feed to be successful, then we'd have a happier family :) The times I've tried it (even the full bright lights, wake her completely Gina Ford style) it made no difference and she woke for 2 feeds in the night.

Any ideas on why that might be or how to make a dream feed stick?? All comments appreciated! Thank you.
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Re: Tips on making the "dream feed" work...

Postby Deearnas » Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:56 pm


With the dream feed you are better off offering this in a bottle and giving it warm and go up a teat size, if baby hasnt started using a bottle yet i strongly suggest you start to the later you leave it the more difficult it will become even if only once a day.

Dream feed- lift dont wake dont nappy change and then just offer the bottle put a clean finger on the tip to open the lips, the natural reflex is to suck so she should then suck, much easier with a teat you can control than trying to get baby to suckle from the breast when sleeping, after feed lightly bounce on knee or pop over shoulder rubbing over left side if no wind after 10 mins- pop back down to sleep. hope this helps
Deearna- Maternity Nurse,Multiples Specialist,Feed and Sleep Consultants,Troublshooter, Expert Columnist,Lecturer PND,Multiples,Sleep,Maternity Nursing and Advanced Breastfeeding to ALevel standard
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Re: Tips on making the "dream feed" work...

Postby Bluebutterfly » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:15 pm

Hi, we used to wake our twins around 9.45-10.00pm and let them play for about half an hour - at that age, more like put under the play-mat, sit in bouncy chair with toys etc. We then fed them before settling them back to sleep. It was a real effort some nights when we were really tired, but it worked very well and they were then tired enough to sleep through to a reasonable time in the morning. We did this for at least a couple of months - basically the opposite of the traditional "dream feed" when they stay half asleep. It is a recommendation in the Gina book we had, as a solution to the problem you describe. It may not work for you but possibly worth a try if you can face not going to bed until 10.30pm?!
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Re: Tips on making the "dream feed" work...

Postby DDJJ » Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:37 pm

For us, it really didn't work to wake our baby. When we did she wouldn't take the feed and cried, we'd often only get a little bit of milk into her and then I'd know she'd wake again later in the night. We had a breakthrough when I was so sleepy myself I just picked her up and feed her in semi-darkness and whispered to her. She took the whole feed, gave me a lovely burp and slept really soundly. When we started the dream feed, she was breastfeed apart from this feed as the ultimate goal was getting my husband to do it...which we did very soon after this breakthrough. She was half asleep and just instinctively sucked. The milk was warm and available...and she got a nice cuddle in dark while she took it. I'm not sure there's an easy answer...maybe just try some options and fingers crossed something works, for us it was a total luck.
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Re: Tips on making the "dream feed" work...

Postby racheybennett » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:08 pm


When we did dream feeding with our daughter, we also didn't wake her up. We put the light on in the landing and gently got her from her crib and offered her the teat of the bottle. 9 times out of 10, she would take the bottle. We just made sure the room was as quiet as possible and she would always settle back in the crib. Again we did this, so dad could do this feed, especially at the weekends, when I was shattered :D

Hope it goes well for you and let us know how you get on.

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Re: Tips on making the "dream feed" work...

Postby AliB144 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:18 pm

My son was also a big boy, 9lbs at birth. When he was 8 weeks we picked him up out of the cot at 11pm, changed nappy whilst half asleep and then gave milk in a bottle. Burp etc then back to bed, whole thing took about 30 mins and by the end of it most of the time he was back to sleep on the bottle.
As he got older he would go back into his bed awake but fall asleep very fast.
He would then wake at 3am which i think i breast fed and then sleep until 7am.
Over the next few months we brought the "dream feed" to 10.30 by creeping back a few minutes every few days.
He dropped the middle of the night feed at about 12 weeks but i think i had introduced a bottle of formula by this point so that probably helped.

We only dropped the 10.30/11pm feed at about 7 months. He now sleeps 7 - 7.

Good luck.
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Re: Tips on making the "dream feed" work...

Postby erinisle22 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:08 pm

Thanks for your replies :)

We've managed to get her to take a bottle which is great (now to find the time to express for it!) so I think we are on our way to possible success. However, since I posted she has stayed up until 10pm every night except one and has had a cold (third one in her short life :( ) so I let her sleep on, the one time she was asleep from 7-10pm.

I think we've got a bit of work ahead to crack the evening sleeping first...
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Re: Tips on making the "dream feed" work...

Postby dancing_queen59 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:13 pm


I was in a similar position to you. I also have an 8 week old who was constantly feeding from 7-10pm. When I really looked at it I realised she was more comforting from this time as opposed to actually feeding. I decided to be strict with her and everytime she was comfort feeding I would put her straight down in her cot. I would wait until she was actually crying (as opposed to whinging) before I picked her up started to feed and then when she comforted again I would put her straight back down. The cycle would go on 3 or 4 times until she realised that unless she was feeding she would have to go to sleep. My day 5 she was settled after her feed by 7.30pm (my evening with hubby was back!). I started this at 7 weeks and she is almost 9 weeks and now going from 7.30pm until around 6am. I've never believed in the dream feed as I believe it will take longer for them to sleep through.

Try the above, it worked for me!