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Dreamfeed Basics

Updated: Feb 7, 2022

Dawn Whittaker Dreamfeed Basics

What is a dreamfeed?

It’s a parent lead feeding, offered between 10-11pm in deep sleep also known as stage 4 sleep. It can not be given at any other time, and the latest you can start the DF is 11pm.

Who should have a dreamfeed?

Babies who are under 14lbs in weight, under 6 months and eating less than 2 X a day should have a dreamfeed, however, please note that it is best tied in with sleep training NOT where it is the most beneficial.

How does a dreamfeed work?

A dreamfeed works by filling the babies tummy prior to the entering of active sleep | light sleep, so that you can more confidently, work on removing feeds through active sleep until the morning cut off time, which is 6am or later. Active sleep runs from 11.30pm all the way through to 5am, it’s this stretch of sleep that babies have to sleep through to qualify as sleeping through the night, however, this can not be achieved until they are at least 12 lbs in weight.

How big should the dreamfeed be?

FOr a bottle fed baby, it should be in the range of 4-8floz, and for a breastfed baby it usually levels off around 8-12 minutes. Please remember that these are averages.

When should I stop doing a dreamfeed?

I find that parents struggle to stay up to do the dreamfeed, but when it’s time to let go, they feel sad, as it’s such a quiet cuddly time with a baby - it should be removed though, around that 6 month mark, as solids are introduced and

How should I remove a dreamfeed?

There are two ways to remove it, you can phase it out, by reducing down how long you breastfeed for until you hit around 3 minutes, or you can reduce down how much you offer in the bottle until it’s around 2floz -

You can also just cut it out cold turkey

You should remove it in the way in which you feel the MOST confident.

What can I expect to see when it’s taken away?

You may see some stirring but more of the time you won’t hear or see anything as it was already being done in a deep sleep. In some cases babies will wake up in anticipation of it, but this often goes away on its own.

IN what circumstance should I not remove the dreamfeed.

If your baby is not gaining weight well, has had feeding issues or if you have had milk supply issues, then you can hold onto it until 9 months of age, in these circumstances.

Have a question about dreamfeed? Ask me in the comments below.

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