Is Dream Feeding Right for You and Your Baby?

 
Dream feeding
Image via Mindi Stavish

Have you heard of dream feeding? It's when you breastfeed your baby when they are still asleep. Many moms dream feed their baby before they go to sleep so mom can get some extra hours of sleep before baby needs another feeding. Dream feeding doesn't work for all babies, though. In my experience only 1 out of my 3 children could stay fully asleep and successfully dream feed, to give me extra hours of sleep (a 4-hour stretch of sleep vs a 2-hour stretch).    

According to the Baby Sleep Site, after a baby is four months old their deepest part of sleep occurs during the first few hours of the night. So a baby may or may not be able to wake enough for a full feed during a dream feed. Many babies wake up more frequently after their first feed of the night, so dream feeding may backfire. In my experience, every baby is different and every stage of development and growth is different. What works for your baby at 4-months of age may not work at 8-months of age.  

Dream feeding is also perfect for co-sleeping, allowing both mom and baby to get more rest than if your baby was in a crib. I had more success dream feeding while co-sleeping, with 2 of my babies.  When they were newborns, I used a co-sleeper right beside the bed, so they could have their own sleeping space.  I could reach them easily when they were hungry.  After they fed, I could lay them back in their co-sleeper and drift off to sleep quickly.  

{ MORE: Sometimes Babies Just Don't Sleep and That's Not Your Fault }

Here is what other moms had to say about dream feeding:

 I cosleep and dream nurse. It allows me to get some sleep and I can get my [little one] to sleep for about 12 hours.

     – Heather Divelbliss

My boy dream feeds a lot, and not always at night. Sometimes he goes almost all the way to sleep, and then makes that “I'm hungry, feed me or I'll cry” face so I switch sides.

     -Lucille Hernandez

I loved dream feeding. That's what finally made my son able to sleep through the night. Since he wouldn't fully wake up to eat, he learned to drop that feed easily and then slept through the night. I also changed his diaper (if poopy only) during the dream feed and he never woke up.

     – Alyssa Mitchell 

We do that! Didn't know it had a name. It's the only way our breastfeeding would've survived!

     – Shannon Stone

Been dream feeding and bed sharing since birth. I love how my babes would scoot over to me in their sleep and shake their head back and forth with their mouths open until they latched. If I woke up for them it always made me giggle. I got more sleep and so did baby and dad.  

     – Tiffany Amber Horty

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What was your experience dream feeding your baby?  

What do you think?

Is Dream Feeding Right for You and Your Baby?

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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