Dream Feed or Not?

Updated on March 13, 2011
G.T. asks from Canton, MA
10 answers

Hi all. I've got an 8 week old that sleeps 8pm-2am and then is up every 1-2 hours to eat all the way until noonish. I do not expect my 8 week old to sleep thru the night. I would like to just see if I could stretch it out some more.
I;ve gotten recommendations to dream feed.

The Baby Whisperer Book also recommends it, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child says not to as it disrupts their sleep rhythms. I'd love to hear from your expriences. Thanks!

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answers from Boston on

I totally did the dreamfeed, as well as the tanking up, recommended by the baby whisperer, although as I recall it took awhile for me to get the hang of it. It worked great for me as I like to go to bed later so would feed around 11PM and then she'd sleep til 6 or 7. It was such a peaceful feed too as she would totally stay asleep and just nurse. As I said, it took several tries for me to get it right so if you decide to do it don't give up right away if you can't make it work. My little one used to nurse every hour or two for the first few months too, it was quite demanding - so we never got to the three hr cycles baby whisperer describes - our cycles were much shorter as mine needed to eat no less than every two hrs during the day. Good luck!



answers from Houston on

It worked for me an my daughter to a certain extent, but she was sleeping 4 hours at a stretch. I guess it depends on what time you go to bed. If you generally go at 10pm I don't think you'll get much out of it. If you usually go at midnight, you might buy yourself a couple of hours.

Of course, once you find something that works, something will change and you'll be back to square one.


answers from Hartford on

Sleeping 8pm to 2am is pretty awesome at only 8 weeks old. If the baby is already going six hours regularly at night, then I wouldn't try to stretch that any longer. The baby needs the nutrition of feeding frequently at this age. You could certainly try one extra feeding before putting the baby to bed, but it might not make a difference. You might still only get 6 hours but if the baby isn't really hungry at the "dream feed" then you just might get far less than the established 6 hours and mess up the nice routine you currently have. I would personally be grateful that your breastfed baby is giving you such a nice stretch and giving you the chance to sleep 6 straight hours.



answers from Honolulu on

Many times, a baby will do what is called "cluster feeding', which reflects their needs for more intake and/or growth-spurts. And at these times, feedings can even be every single hour.
So thus, at these times, they do need the intake.

Every 3 weeks, in an infant, is a growth-spurt.
Then from 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and every 3 months.

For me, I breastfed. Just on-demand day and night 24/hours a day.
I did not do dream feeds. I went by my kids cues, when they were babies and that young.

I know some who do dream feeds. And it seems fine.

When they wake and feed like that, it also serves a purpose: that being that your milk supply, keeps up with your growing baby and that your milk supply mirrors that and their intake needs.

Maybe ask your Pediatrician? Since your baby is so young.



answers from Spokane on

I tried dream feeding, it didn't change anything - my son was still up when he originally would have been, all that meant was that I was up one more time that I didn't need to be! I tried all the tricks in the book, and it just turned out that I should have just followed his cues, we would have both been happier and better rested :(



answers from Dallas on


I have not heard of dream feeding, but my girls are older. Both my daughters slept through the night at 8 weeks (thank goodness) but I remember my pediatrician telling me NOT to wake them if they are sleeping. Now if she gets her days and nights mixed up then a gentle nudge to wake her up during the day will not harm her. :)

All the best!



answers from Charlotte on




answers from Philadelphia on

I dream fed my daughter but it wasn't until she was 4 1/2-5 months old and it was part of the sleep training program we were doing. I made sure to figure out her feeding schedule at night by recording the time she'd awake to feed over a few days. Then I'd wake up and feed her a 1/2 hour before her set wake up time. I never had a problem with it and it seemed to help with the sleep training process but again, she was 4 1/2 - 5 months old at the time.
Good luck!



answers from Boston on

I would recommend feeding on demand around the clock at that age. It's hard, especially when the clusters end up at hours when you'd rather be sleeping. Cosleeping really helped me get through it -- when you cosleep, your sleep cycles synchronize with your baby's. Also, it means that you really don't need to wake up completely -- just enough to get the little one latched on and everyone supported properly, and then drift while the baby nurses. At 8 weeks, they really do need to nurse that much.


answers from Providence on

Some resources for you to check out:

First, the book "The Vital Touch" by Sharon Heller. Your local library should have a copy or you could grab one off of Amazon.com.

Also some websites that may help - http://www.DrMomma.org , and http://www.AttachmentParenting.org .

Those pages all have additional resources that you can check out as well.

Good luck.


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