Thursday, January 3, 2008

Dropping the "Dream Feed"

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The dream feed is that feeding that happens around 10-11 PM. You get baby up, feed him, and put him back down. He often doesn't even wake up for it! For more on what a Dreamfeed is, see Dreamfeed FAQs.

When To Drop the Dream Feed You know it is safe to drop the dream feed when the following are true of your baby:
  • Baby is sleeping through the night (STTN) consistently. By that I mean that he is staying asleep from the dream feed until your desired waketime in the morning. Many babies start doing this, then wake in the night, then back to sleeping through, back and forth. My babies ALL did this. Wait to drop the dream feed until the baby is sleeping through so consistently that you would be surprised for baby to wake early. Once you drop the dream feed, you don't want to wonder if baby is waking early because he needs the dream feed or because it was just one of those days.
  • Baby has been STTN consistently for 2-4 weeks. This is for your own confidence. If baby has shown that STTN is his thing now, you will have a solid foundation if you need to problem solve after dropping the dreamfeed.
  • Baby doesn't wake up for the dream feed anymore. You have to wake baby up every night. Note that this is one of the signs. If your baby does this but does not sleep through the night, it does not mean baby is ready. 
  • Baby is old enough that the appropriate number of feedings will still be met if you drop the dream feed. You don't want to drop the dreamfeed if that means baby won't be getting enough feedings for his age in a 24 hour period after you do so.
Strategies for Dropping the Dream Feed
  • Move the time for the dream feed back by 10-15 minutes slowly. This could be each day, every couple of days, etc. Decide what is best for your baby. Move it back until you are too close to the evening feeding. So if you dream feed at 10 and the evening feeding is at 7, move it back until you reach 9, then drop it altogether.
  • Drop it cold turkey. Just don't get baby up and see what happens.
  • Slowly decrease the amount eaten at the dream feed, either by fewer ounces or less time nursing. Decrease amount daily or every couple of days.
Any one or combination of the three ideas can work. You can first decrease the amount, then move it back, or decrease the amount then drop it. You decide. Your baby's age will likely be a factor in how you go about it. I personally like the decreasing the amount eaten over time. I breastfeed my babies, so to decrease it means my body adjusts to the amount eaten slowly. Then I have a better chance of sleeping well because I won't wake up at 5 AM engorged.

When dropping the dream feed, you need to be sure your last feeding of the day is about 12 hours before your baby's waketime. So if you wake at 7 AM, start the last feeding anywhere from 6-7, depending on your baby's needed sleep at night. You could even do 7:30. Just be sure it is late enough baby won't get hungry in the night.

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Reader Questions:
  • Mom2Cohen said...
    I was just reading about "dream feeding" and it sparked a thought. We started late (as you know) with Cohen and since we have started he has actually done quite well...at night anyhow. Basically where we are right now is: Go to bed at 7:30, wake at 12:00 (he wakes up consistently every night at this time), feed him and put him back down. He usually sleeps until about 5:30 after that feeding. I would obviously like to NOT have to get up at midnight to 1:00 every night so I was wondering if I should wake him for a "dream feed" instead. Or should I just try to wean him from eating at all? I am confused...any advice. BTW...he is three months old and we have been doing Babywise for about 2 weeks.
    January 7, 2008 4:26 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    It is worth a shot, but don't hold your breath.Kaitlyn didn't dreamfeed. She ate at 8:30 then went to bed. Over time that feeding moved back and became a dreamfeed. When she was about 8 weeks, I decided to try a dreamfeed. I went in, woke her up, fed her. She woke earlier in the night than she usually did, and twice instead of once! It then took her a week to get back to where she was before I tried the dreamfeed.That is just a warning to you that it might not work, but I do think it is worth trying. At three months, 7:30 is an early bedtime in that he won't make it until the morning. He will definitely need a night feeding in there. If you try something at 10 or 10:30, it might work. Let us know how it goes!
    January 8, 2008 11:09 AM
  • Dyers said...
    I need some advice... I am a first time mom and my daughter is 10.5 weeks old. She has slept through the night since 6.5 weeks. Now she is currently sleeping from 9-930pm to 7 am. I am questioning what to do about her schedule. Currently I feed her at 7a, 1030a, 130p, 4p, 7p. I consider her bedtime 730p. I then wake her at 9-930pm for a last feeding. For the past several days she will not hardly wake up at 9 to eat. I think she would be satisfied with 5 feedings per day (I am exclusively breastfeeding). But the problem is that between naps she can only stay up 1.5 hours max. My first question is is it to early to drop the 9p feed. And how can I adjust her schedule so that she gets 5 feedings daily but so that I am not having to wake her at 9p to eat? I can't figure out what to do. I would love any advice or comments. Thanks!
    February 6, 2008 1:08 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Dyers,You are right at the age where most babies move down to 5-7 feedings a day. This information is found on page 123 of Babywise. This page also says most babies drop that late-evening feeding (aka dreamfeed) between weeks 12-15. You are very close. You are the parent--if you find that she is ready to drop that dreamfeed, give it a go. You can maintain your same feeding schedule and just eliminate that 9:00 feeding. See the dropping the dreamfeed post for information on that:http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/dropping-dream-feed.html
    February 6, 2008 2:37 PM
  • alicia said...
    My 3 month old daughter usually eats at 6:30 and is asleep by 7:30. I wake her up to eat at 9:30 for a dreamfeed, otherwise she wakes at 2 a.m. With the dreamfeed, she wakes up at 5:00. I would like her to wake at 6:30 and eventually eliminate the dreamfeed. Right now she sleeps the entire time and eats very little then. How can I adjust her routine to get her to sleep later? Should I wake her up later for her dreamfeed? Or should I try to adjust when she eats her last meal? Thanks for your help!
    March 8, 2008 9:44 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    I would try adjusting the dreamfeed time. Maybe move it back an hour. You might have to experiment with the time. You could start with moving it 30 minutes. It isn't a guarantee that it will work, but it is worth a shot!
    March 9, 2008 4:19 PM
  • Karen said...
    I have a 12 week old and I am trying to figure out when to start dropping the dreamfeed. She starts her day with a 6am feeding and her last feeding of the day is 10pm...we all enjoy sleeping through the night. She does well on a four hour schedule but I am wondering how to make sure she gets enough ounces in a day if we drop this last feeding. She was unable to breastfeed so I pump my milk for her and I'm able to monitor how much she eats pretty closely. How do I work towards dropping this last feeding but still make sure she is getting enough to eat?
    March 18, 2008 7:02 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    You might need to wait for a bit. Typically, dreamfeed is dropped before you move to a 4 hour schedule, so since you did the 4 hour first (which is fine), you might need to keep that dreamfeed around longer than usual to ensure the right number of feedings are in a day. My guess is you have 5 feedings a day if you start at 6 and end at 10 on 4 hour schedule. The earliest she could move down to 4 feedings a day would be 16 weeks, perhaps as late as 24 weeks (some babies need 5 a day longer). So you should hold on to the dreamfeed for another 4 weeks at least. One option would be to shorten your feeding schedule so you could end the day sooner, but not drop a feeding. Remember a combo 3-4 hour schedule is okay. You want to keep 5 feedings for now. If you do move the schedule up, be sure right now (until 16 weeks) you don't let more than 9-10 hours go between pumping sessions for you.
    March 19, 2008 10:01 AM
  • david, blair, and sadie beth said...
    Hi! Thanks for your recent posts...I've enjoyed them! I've been debating what to do about the DF with my daughter, who is now almost 6 1/2 months old. We still do a DF at 10:30pm. She rarely will wake up during it and goes right back down now problem. My guess is she would sleep through without it, but I'm concerned about keeping my milk supply up if I'm only nursing 4 times a day. It seems that I have read that to have a reliable milk supply you need to nurse at least 5 times a day (or pump). Unfortunately, my body simply won't pump, (and I have a good electric pump). I really can't risk losing my milk because formula is expensive and we'd like to avoid that cost if at all possible. I'd like to drop it though, simply so my husband and I can go to bed before 10:30! Recently, we've been dealing with some early waking due to illness, not eating solids, and being on 2 very strong antibiotics that are messing with her poor little body...so I probably wouldn't even think of dropping it until we move past all this. Any thoughts?Thanks, Blair
    March 29, 2008 8:17 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Blair,It is hard to say. I do fine with four feedings a day, but some women really do need that 5th. One thing you could try is to move the DF back a bit. It would give you a slightly earlier bedtime :) Have you tried the tactics of looking at a picture of your baby or thinking of your baby while pumping? You might want to see if you can contact a lactation consultant for ideas on how to successfully pump.The hard thing is that at some point she is really going to need to not have the DF--it will likely start to become a disruption for her. I would see if you can solve the pumping thing. I would also wonder if you could pump and get the stimulation even if no milk comes out. That would be something to ask a LC. Good luck!
    March 29, 2008 10:54 AM
    david, blair, and sadie beth said...
    I've tried just about everything to resolve the pumping issue, but I might try again since it's been awhile. I've talked to LCs before and didn't have too much luck, but I just switched to an OB that has one on staff so I might try to set up a time to meet with her. You mentioned that you expect the DF will become a disruption...did that happen for your kids? How do you think it would be disruptive?
    March 29, 2008 11:37 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Blair, The dreamfeed gets disruptive because you want your baby to have 10-12 hours of consecutive sleep without disruption. If she is in bed after the DF by 10:45, then she would need to sleep until 8:45. The dreamfeed disrupts that full nights sleep. Often babies will start to not sleep as soundly with that disruption.
    April 2, 2008 10:49 PM
  • momtobobby said...
    I have an 11 week old and he eats at 7pm and goes to bed at 8pm. I wake him at 10:00 for a dreamfeed and he then sleeps until 5:30 or 6:00. Recently, he has been difficult to wake for the DF and he only takes 3 oz. when he normally takes 6oz. Is this an indication that he is ready to drop the dreamfeed? If so, how do I do that? He is on a 3 hour schedule and usually gets 30 oz. a day. Also, should I let him CIO until 7am? Thanks for your help!!
    March 31, 2008 10:16 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    I wouldn't drop the DF until he is sleeping until your desired waketime. Your baby is still young and actually sleeping well for his age. If you think he can make it to 7, you can try CIO. Otherwise, I might give him a few weeks to see if he does it on his own. Here is a post for more ideas:Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/early-morning-feedings-before-waketime.htmlGood luck!
    March 31, 2008 11:20 AM
  • misty said...
    my baby is 10 weeks old today. she has been STTN for about two weeks. her feed schedule is as follows:
    6:45-7:00am feed
    10:00am feed
    1pm feed
    4pm feed
    7pm feed
    10pm feed
    the 10pm has become a dream feed. i have to wake her for this feeding. i am breast feeding and it takes a few minutes to get her to latch on and then she pulls herself off after about 8 minutes or so (I usually take her off after 10). I try and get a burp out of her then I have to struggle to get her on and feed for 5 or 6minutes. I know she is sleeping during this feeding time. So my obvious question is...what should i do? And when should i do it? I'm a first time mom so this is all very new territory for me. I constantly refer to the book, but can't quite find a clear answer. I have started at 9:45 and 9:30 on occasion and she has still slept anywhere from 6:30-7:00am.
    March 31, 2008 5:11 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    BW says WEEKS 9-15Baby can gradually move to 9-10 hours of continuous sleep if breastfed, 11 hours if bottlefedSo, for the next five weeks, the longest she should sleep at night is 9-10 hours. You don't want to cut back because of milk supply. You could move it back a bit if you want to go to bed earlier, but be sure to be within the hours suggested.While it sounds like she is ready to drop the dreamfeed, I would continue to do it until she is closer to 15 weeks. At that time, pick your favorite method of dropping it described in this post (or one of your own) and go for it. It sounds like she is doing very well!
    April 1, 2008 2:19 PM
  • Rachel said...
    At what age do you drop the dreamfeed? My baby is 5.5 weeks old and I feed her about 630,930,1230,330,630,930, and sometimes another time in there if I switched to a 2.5 hour schedule. Do I put her to bed at 7pm after the 630 feeding and then wake her up for the 10pm feeding? Right now she stays awake most of the time from the 630 to the 930 feeding. When do I establish that as bed time?Im so confused... :(
    April 6, 2008 5:51 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Your baby will be much older when you drop the dreamfeed. See this post:Poll Results: What Age (Approximate) Did You Drop the Dreamfeed?: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/poll-results-what-age-approximate-did.htmlI would put her to bed at 7, wake for the 9:30 feeding, then put her right back down.
    April 6, 2008 10:36 PM
  • kim said...
    thanks for your prompt response. i'll definitely try moving up her dreamfeed by 15 minutes tonight. caitlin woke up this morning at 5:30 instead of 6 am. should i wait till she wakes up consistently at 6, before pushing up her dreamfeed time? if i want to push back her wake time to 7 by 15 minutes, what do you suggest i do. at 2 months, caitlin's napping b/t 1 hr 45 minutes to 2 hours. is this too long? her waketime is pretty consistent at 1 hour.
    April 7, 2008 12:03 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Kim, I was just organizing comments and saw you had a follow-up question I never got notice of. I apologize! Let me know if you still have questions. I wouldn't mess with the dreamfeed until nights are consistent.
    May 7, 2008 10:42 PM
  • Susanna said...
    Valerie-I'm contemplating dropping the DF for my 16 week old. How do I know he's getting enough calories to hold him over for the entire night? Also, how many feedings are recommended by BW to sustain a baby who is dropping the DF? I'll be taking my baby out of town at the end of the month. WOuld you recommend dropping the DF after we get back or starting now before our trip? I didn't know if trying to do too many things would be too much...Thank you!
    May 12, 2008 8:20 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    You would know there are enough calories if he continues to sleep well through the night. You just make sure he is taking a full feeding at each feeding and then give it a shot. If he starts waking up, you know he isn't ready for that move yet.In regard to the trip, I think it would depend on how long until you go. I would give yourself at least a week before traveling, preferably two. That way you can be sure an night disruptions would be from one or the other, but not both. Know that disruptions and seeming regressions might happen while traveling, but at least you would know it is because of traveling and not because of dropping the dreamfeed. Good luck!
    May 12, 2008 2:16 PM

202 comments:

1 – 200 of 202   Newer›   Newest»
Georgie Bellas said...

Hi,
My 4.5 month old has her last feed at 8pm and then sleeps until 3.30am where I feed and she sleeps until 7am. I haven't introduced a dream feed at say 10.30 because I feel we've already dropped this one and I don't want to reintroduce a feed that we've dropped. What would be your advice to extend her sleep time with a feeding schedule that looks like this:
7am wake
8am feed
11am feed
2pm feed
5.30pm feed
8pm feed and bed
and then baby wakes at 3.30am for a feed
thank you for all your advice. I'm so thankful to have found this site!

Plowmanators said...

Welcome! I would recommend this post:

Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/early-morning-feedings-before-waketime.html

threeangels said...

I am trying to figure out how much sleep my 10 week old needs at night. He is on a 3 hour schedule starting at 7am and napping 4 times. He gets up from his last nap around 7. Then I have been nursing him and playing with him until 8:30 when I give him a bath then nurse him again at 9 and put him down. He is waking up between 1 and 2 to nurse then back down un til 6:30ish. Should I be putting him down earlier? I feel like he should be able to have a longer stretch at night without getting up within 4 hours. (He has had maybe one or two nights when he goes 5 or 6 hours).

sherriedk said...

My 5.5 week old has a pretty consistent schedule of 6, 9, 12, 3, 6, 9, 12. I wake her for the midnight feeding, she sleeps through most of it and then immediately goes back to her bassinet. She then wakes at 3:30-4 am but does not require feeding and can be soothed back to sleep until 5:30-6. Should I drop the midnight feeding? Why is she waking early when she doesn't show signs of hunger?

LEM said...

My 9-week old has just started sleeping from dreamfeed to wake time (11pm - 7am). I need to give this some time to make sure it sticks. I was wondering though, I have to wake him at 7am usually and I know he is still tired cause when I wake him he cries and he doesn't usually cry when he's had enough sleep. Does this mean he may be able to drop the dreamfeed soon?

PS: I posted a question on "dropping naps" as well. Thanks for all your help!

Plowmanators said...

threeangels,

Sorry, I was never notified of your post. I would put him down earlier. I would put him down around 8-8:30. Then wake him up just before you go to bed (somwhere between 10-11). If you still have questions, let me know.

Plowmanators said...

sherriedk,

I also was not notified of your comment. She is likely still learning to soothe herself. I would actually recommend you move that 12 feeding back to 11. I know it is 2 hours, but you don't need to wake her at 12. Or I would just wait to wake her until 2. The 12 waking is likely disrupting her sleeping patterns. She isn't getting a long stretch ever and is basically being trained to wake every 3 hours around the clock.

Also be sure she isn't cold or hot. That can have an affect.

Plowmanators said...

LEM,

I would start to move the dreamfeed up for now. I would move it up in 15 minute increments every few days and see how he does. I would get it all the way up to 10 PM and then leave him for a few days to a week and see how he does. Then try moving it up some more. He is likely close!

LEM said...

Well my earlier comment was short lived. He is almost 10 weeks old now but after I dreamfeed him at 11 what tends to happen is that he wakes on and off between 4 and 7am. He doesn't really cry, just kind of fusses or babbles to himself, goes back to sleep and fusses again. I would really like to move the dreamfeed back to 10pm (his feeding before that was 7pm)but does he have to stop this fussing/talking before I can do that? It was originally supposed to be 10 but when I dropped the middle of the night feeding I changed it to 11 because I didn't think he could go that long. His waketime is at 7am.

Plowmanators said...

LEM, you can try moving it to 10 and see what happens. If it doesn't go well, you can always move back to 11. Remember that progress is a spiral. It is normal to sleep through, then wake, then sleep through, then wake, etc. He is still on the path to improvement.

sherriedk said...

I have made some adjustments to my now 8 week olds schedule. It is 6, 9:30, 12:30, 4, 7 and 10 dream feed. Everything seemed to be going well. She was extending her sleep until 3:30-4, requiring a diaper change and then back down until 5:30-6 to start the day. However, for the last several days, she wakes @ 1:30, fusses, can be put back to sleep. She continues to wake and fuss every hour after that. What's happening? My husband thinks we should drop the 10 pm already. He thinks it disrupts her sleep. I feel that we are going backwards at a time that she should be extending her night sleep.

Plowmanators said...

Sherrie,

My guess would be growth spurt.8 weeks is a normal growth spurt age. Since she keeps waking up, I would guess she is hungry. Try adding a feeding in the day or if you don't want to do that, just feed her at 1:30 until she gets past the growth spurt.

jake's space said...

My baby is 5.5 months and we are considering dropping the DF. Currently he feeds/wakes at 8:30 feeding every 3.5 to 4 hours finishing with his DF at 11:30 which we have to wake him for most of the time. He's also eating cereals, fruit and veggies (slowly introducing them)but his main source of food is still BM. Because he's only eating 5 times a day i'm worried about dropping the last feed. How do I know when to drop this last feed...thanks for the advice as to HOW to drop...just wondering WHEN!

Plowmanators said...

I think you could definitely start moving it back. That would be nice for you to have it earlier at least. I would start to slowly move it back by 15ish minutes every few days and see how it goes. Do that until you get to 10:30 and see how he does (unless you find he can't go earlier than say 11:00). Evaluate the 10:30 time and give him a week or so there to see how it goes. Then move back to 10. Then you will be close to being able to drop it.

Remember if you drop it and find he isn't ready, you can always reinstitute it. It is worth a shot!

If you are concerned about a milk supply with only 4 feedings, you can always pump before bed.

bonny1114 said...

Hi,

My baby is 4.5 months old, and I moved her to a 4 hour feeding schedule and 4 feedings a day about 2 weeks ago. She was sleeping through the night for the most part prior to the new schedule, but the past several days she's been waking up consistently at 1am, then again at 3 or 4, and then she's usually up at 5 babbling to herself. This week has also be extra tough because I've had to put her in daycare (normally her grandmother cares for her at home). Do you think her poor sleeping patterns is a result of me dropping her dreamfeed or is it more because of the daycare? Now, I think she's getting enough formula, as it's usually around 28-30 oz a day. So, I'm hesitant to add back in a dreamfeed. Any advice would be much appreciated! Thank you! And thanks for writing this blog!

Plowmanators said...

It is hard when more than one thing could be the cause. I would try adding more formula to feedings and see if that helps. If she won't drink more, I would try the dreamfeed again. It is something you can control, where the daycare isn't.

If it is the daycare, chances are she isn't getting as much attention as she was with grandma, so I would be sure she gets plenty of quality time with you when you are together.

See also this post:

4 month Sleep Problems : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/05/4-month-sleep-problems.html

joysephine said...

My 15-wk-old son has never been very consistent with his nighttime sleeping.
Right now, he eats abut 7p.m., then goes to bed, gets up about 1-2 a.m., eats, up again about 4a.m., then back up for the day at about 8a.m. The other night, he was too sleepy to finish his bottle at 7, so he woke up about 10 p.m. and ate and slept better, until about 4a.m. He then went back to sleep and didn't wake up again until time to get up for the day (about 8a.m.). I'm wondering if I need to add in a dream feed and he will consistently sleep until 4 instead of 1 or 2 before he needs to eat again. What do you suggest? Is he too old to start a dream feed? He's eating 5-6 times a day.

LEM said...

I need some help in knowing if my almost 13-week old son is ready to drop the dreamfeed. His last feeding of the day is at 7pm with a dreamfeed at 10pm and morning wake up time at 7am. He was doing well. Last night I thought I would try and drop the DF cold turkey. Well he woke up at 11pm, 1am and 5am crying. I gave him his pacifier and he went right back to sleep each time. This morning I thought he'd eat a lot since he went 12 hours without a feeding (he is formula fed) but he only ate an ounce more than he usually eats.

This was the first night that I tried this but I'm struggling with deciding if he's ready or not. Should I keep at it another day or two? Should I go back to the dreamfeed and do a gradual decrease in the amount fed? Is he too young for this? I need help deciding!

Kasey and Jessica said...

My son is 11 1/2 weeks old. His current schedule is:

7:00 - Nurse (Nap 8:00-10:30)
10:30 - Nurse (Nap 12:00-2:00)
2:00 - Nurse (Nap 3:30-5:30)
5:30 - Nurse (Nap 7:00-9:00)
9:00 - Nurse (Nap 10:00-11:00)
11:00 Nurse (then bedtime - he sleeps consistanly and I usually I wake him at 7:00)

He used to nurse 15-20 minutes, so I moved him to a 3 1/2 hr shedule and he did better for a while, but now usually eats 10 minutes, sometimes 15. I almost always have to wake him to feed him, especially at night. He wakes up happy after almose every nap. When do I go about changing his schedule and how? I see the his dreamfeed is what I remove next, but it sounds like the recommendation is to feed him last at 7:00-7:30, and I currently have 2 feedings after that time. How do I arrange it to move his bedtime up. I know that he could sleep longer than 8 hours. Do I squish my feedings? I know I need to not feed him too early in the evening because I nurse...

LEM said...

I have an update to my situation: After my last post I decided to keep the dreamfeed. A few days later, he ended up waking around 8:30/9m, crying. I fed him and he ate a full bottle despite having eaten just 2 hours prior. I assumed this was a growth spurt situation. He ended up sleeping just fine from 9pm(after his feeding) to 7am. The next night the same thing happened. The following day was his first day of daycare. I noticed he was extremely exhausted when I put him down for bed so I didn't wake him for a dreamfeed (which had at this point turned into a 9pm feed) and he slept wonderfully.

So, since he slept without a dreamfeed no problem, I thought we were good. But the next night proved to be different. At 10pm he awoke crying and hungry. I fed him, he took a full bottle, and then took and even bigger bottle at 7am. Maybe he's still going through a growth spurt?

With all these changes I don't know what to stick with. I have a few options: feed him at 10pm, feed him at 9pm, don't feed him at all and let him CIO, or don't feed him at all unless he wakes. He is 14 weeks old. What do you suggest? I would like to drop the DF but don't know if these are legitimate signs of not being ready. Thanks for your help!

Plowmanators said...

joysephine, you can always institute it if you want to and see how it goes. He is at the age you usually drop the dreamfeed, but if it means you all get better sleep, go for it!

Plowmanators said...

LEM, My guess would be he isn't ready to drop it. A lot of times babies can be fine the first night or two, but then the lack of food catches up to them and they wake again. I would feed him at 9:30 or 10:00 (unless he wakes earlier). Another option would be to give him more food in the day so he needs less in the night.

Plowmanators said...

Jessica,

I would first drop the 11 PM feeding and see how things go. BW says to wait until 13 weeks before dropping below 6 feedings, but you should be about there by now. After a couple of weeks if things are going well, we can work out another schedule, but he might need to keep 5 feedings for a while.

sherriedk said...

Mt 12 week old is on a 4hr schedule: 6, 10, 2, 6 (then bedtime @ 7pm), and dream feed at 10. I moved her @ 2weeks ago to 4 hr because I was waking her for every feeding and she was not happy to be woken up. Now, she wakes on her own or is happy when I wake her. She still is not sleeping through the night. She is up @ 3 am, consistently. Usually, I can give her the pacifier and she goes back to sleep. But then she is up every hour until 6. Do I feed her @ 3am?
She also has trouble with her 3rd nap after 2pm feeding. She tires after an hour and goes down by 3:15. However, she wakes between 4-4:30.

Plowmanators said...

one of the trade-offs you will have to being on a 4 hour schedule so young is that she will take longer before she sleeps through the night. That is just something for you to be aware of.

It sounds like the pacifier might be contributing to your problems. But also be aware that 3 months is a growth spurt age, so she might be waking in the night so often because she is hungry. I would try her at 3 hours for a day or two and see if that helps things.

As for that third nap, that is totally normal and nothing to worry about.

sherriedk said...

So, going back to a 3 hour schedule with 4 naps? 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm with 7pm bedtime, and keep 10 pm dream feed? Thanks for your help!!

The Greenfields said...

my noah (4 months in 2 days) sounds a lot like your kaitlyn so i thought you could offer some helpful info. we just survived a growth spurt (he actually woke up 3 times in the middle of the night at one point... this is from a boy who has been sleeping through the night for 2 months) noah is a GREAT sleeper. Most days he takes 3 2 hour naps and he was taking a catnap before his last feeding of the day, but there are times he goes without that now if we are out and about.

his current schedule is
7:15 eat
8:15-10ish- sleep
10-11 eat
11-1 sleep
1-2 eat
2-4 sleep
4 eat
usually up until 6ish and might take a quick nap before 7 o'clock feeding
7:45-8pm bedtime
11:00 dreamfeed

I know BW says that they could drop the dreamfeed by now (17.5 weeks) but he doesn't seem in any rush to drop the feeding. he still guzzles. i give him a pumped bottle and it's about 4.5oz.

i don't mind the dreamfeed because i want to make sure he drops it when he's ready and i don't just drop it because i want to. i probably won't start solids for another month because we will be traveling overseas in the next few weeks and i want to wait until we are settled back into a routine before.

here's my question. since he obviously still eats quite a bit at his DF, babywise says that by now he should be able to go 10-12 hours. should i start by assuming he can only go 10 hours and move his DF back little by little to eventually get to 9 oclock (which would be 10 hours)?

also, i know that you recommend NOT moving to a 4 hour schedule until the DF is dropped but I have started to notice he doesn't wake up starving and, in fact, sometimes he sleeps 2 1/2 hours. this is just since the growth spurt ended. so he could probably move to a combo schedule now depending on time of day.

i am just curious what schedule you had your daughter on at this time (17.5 weeks) since they seem similar. he's a VERY happy and content baby so i am almost at the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" state!! :) :)

thanks!

Plowmanators said...

sherrie, I would try it. It is worth a shot! Good luck!

Plowmanators said...

Greenfields, I would wait before messing with his schedule. After the eating part of the growth spurt is over, the sleeping part comes. That is when they need to sleep more. So wait until that is over before you mess with the schedule (it should be a couple of days). Then you can do a combo schedule, but don't drop a daytime feeding.

I would try moving the DF back and see how it goes. You all could get more sleep :).

Here is the link to the post with Schedules:

Sample Schedules : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/03/sample-schedules.html

Brynn said...

I have a 3 month old little boy and have really been working on nighttime sleep. I feed him at 7:30 and he is usually in bed by 8:15-8:30. I usually wake him up for a dream feed at 10:15 or so and he barely wakes up, eats, and goes right back down. He then usually only sleep until 3. For a while he could go until 4 and a few times he has gone until 7, but lately it has 3 am. He then goes right back to sleep and wakes up at about 7 Last night I decided to skip the dread feed to see what would happen. He slept from 8 to 2 am and then went right back to sleep and slept until 7. I feel like he (and me) is getting more sleep if I skip the dream feed because then I can go to bed earlier. What would you do? Would you just skip the dream feed and start extending nighttime sleep or stick with the dreamfeed. I hope this makes sense!

Plowmanators said...

Some moms have found sleep to be better without the dreamfeed. If that is true for your LO, I would drop it. However I would caution that one night of it doesn't mean that is how it will be every night. After a few nights, you might find he wakes up more often, but he also might not. It is always worht a shot in trying and see how it goes, you can always go back.

smalles said...

my son is 10.5 weeks old. i haven't been doing BW but feel like my son would benefit from it. he's a very active and alert little guy. even though i haven't been following BW, he has put his own self on a schedule it seems. generally feeds at 8a, 12p, 3p, 6:30p, 1a, 5a. i tried at dream feed maybe 4 weeks ago when he was sleeping 5-6 hours and he ended up waking up more. would you recommend i try it again? i would love to get rid of the midnight feed but dont know how. and if i were to start doing BW, where do it begin and is it too late? thanks!

smalles said...

i know i just posted a comment/question, but after reading some of your other posts i do have a better idea of what i should/could do. but, i still would love your input and wanted to provide you with more details for a better understanding of my situation. my son does already do the eat/wake/sleep routine from the day he was born -- mostly in 3 to 3.5 hour stretches (i dont have a set waketime, i usually wait for his lead which is generally the same time every morning). also, a few weeks ago, i decided to make his last feed between 6-7p and letting him sleep until he wakes, which is around 1a b/c he would be too tired to take a feed after 7:30ish. also to note, he has gone from 7p to 3-4a a couple of times last week, but hasn't since which made me hopeful that he could STTN soon. hope this added info helps you better understand my situation and whether or not you think it's too late to put in a dreamfeed around 10p to eliminate the midnight feed, even though he's almost 11 weeks old. btw, i love your blog and found it very helpful! i already used your suggestions for est naptime routines and though it's only day 3, it's been going well. thanks again!

smalles said...

a quick update...i tried the dreamfeed last night and my son wouldn't take it. i read that your daughter rarely work for her dreamfeed, so what did you do instead to help her sleep through the night? did you feed more often during the day? cluster feed before her last feeding? just wondering what you think i should try since it's likely the dreamfeed wont work with him. thanks!

Plowmanators said...

Smalles, it is never too late to start. See this post on starting late:

Starting Babywise Late: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/12/starting-babywise-late.html

Plowmanators said...

I fed my daughter every 2.5-3 hours until she was STTN. Your son is really still young--I know things drag on while you are in those early months getting not enough sleep, but he is young in the grand scheme. He is even young enough to not be sleeping through the night yet.

Be aware that initially for BW sleeping through the night means 7-8 hours of sleep. It then moves up to 9-10. At your son's age, he could be in either, but more likely the 7-8. So he is really quite close (and some nights making it) by those standards. So you can feel happy about how things are going.

If he won't do a dreamfeed, be prepared that he will most likely hit sleeping through the night later than most babies who do take a dreamfeed. Try to get another feeding in during the day to see if that helps.

smalles said...

thanks for your response and suggestions. i think will try to feed every 2.5 to 3 hours during the day and see what happens.

Connie said...

Hi There,
I recently found your blog and am very excited to know that I have such a great resource! I am new mom and has been doing BW since my son was born. He is currently 15 weeks-old and has been STTN since week 11. I am still breastfeeding him. His naps have been ranging from as long as 2.5 hours to as short as 45 minutes. His feeding schedule is as follows (roughly, it deviates sometimes because his naps may be shorter/longer on certain days):
7:30/7:45 am
11:30/11:45 am
2:45/3 pm
6/6:30 pm
8:30/9 pm (he does not nap after this feeding)
10:30/11 pm
My questions:
1. Should my son go down for a nap after the 8:30/9 pm feeding? He seems to enjoy being awake after this feeding, and usually will go right to sleep after I feed him at 10:30/11 pm.
2. Right now he is sleeping about 8 to 8.5 hours at night, how can I stretch it longer? Since he has a pattern of not napping before the last feeding of the evening, should I keep him awake for as long as I can after the 6:30pm feeding and feed him at 9pm (in hopes to drop the 10:30/11 pm feeding)??
I will be returning to work in about 2.5 weeks and I am wondering if I can better adjust his schedule before that time.
Thank you so much!

SweetSweetBaby said...

I am so glad I have found you. I just started BW last Tuesday. My daughter is 4 1/2 weeks old. I have her on a 2.5 hour schedule starting at 7:30am. I have not been able to wake her for her 10:30pm feeding the last two nights. She is very difficult to wake in the middle of the day sometimes. I feel like I need to get that last feeding in so she can sleep through the night eventually. She likes to do her 4.5-5 hour sleep from 8:45 until 1:15 approx. I am starting to think I should let her sleep then so I can at least get some sleep. It would just be the reverse instead and her df would be at 4:45am instead for awhile. Does this make sense to you? And, of course, do you think it would work? The problem could be that it takes her so long to get to sleep at naptime, so she only gets 30 minutes mostly. I lay her down between 45-60 minutes of waketime including her 30-40 minute feeding. Maybe she is just so exhausted by then. Is this normal for them to cry so much before nap??

Chavela said...

First of all I would like to express how grateful I am that you are willing to take the time to share your wisdom and experience with all that are in need of your advice, it's VERY "otherish"!-Rare in this day and age!

My son is 14 mos old. He is mostly on a three hour eating schedule. I must have missed the importance of keeping the DF as the last feed to eliminate. So he eats at 6:30pm, goes to bed at 8pm, and I usually wake him at around 2am to feed him because otherwise he might sleep until too close to his first feeding of the day at 6:30am. He was waking on his own @ 2am but has recently found his thumb so I had to start to wake him. Also, he is showing signs that he is ready to have longer, less frequent naps in that I often have to wake him during his first three naps of the day and he often doesn't take his fourth nap at all. I know that I am not supposed to extend his daytime feedings until he is sleeping 9-10 hours straight and since the longest stretch with no feedings has the first 1.5 hours spent awake I don't know how to get through to the next stage. My question is... should I try to initiate a dreamfeed and replace the 2am feeding? I hope I haven't messed things up too bad. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

The second and much less complicated issue I am wrestling with is that in a little over a month we will be taking a ten day trip to Disneyworld and I know he will get his schedule messed up then. So, would you wait to do any adjusting until after the trip?

Thank you ahead of time! What a relief to have someone to glean from.

Chavela said...

I just realized that I should probably add a bit more information to my first post in "Dropping the Dream Feed". I am breastfeeding exclusively and know that your milk supply can be decreased if you go too long without adequate stimulation, thus my aprehension to just let my son sleep all the way till the first feeding of the day. Thanks again!

Plowmanators said...

Connie and SweetSweetBaby, sorry I missed your comments! If you still have questions, please let me know.

Plowmanators said...

Chavela, do you mean he is 14 weeks old? Or is he 14 months? I will assume weeks, but if it is months let me know because adivce would differ.

I would try dropping the 2 AM feeding without instituting a dreamfeed. If that doesn't work, go for the dreamfeed to see if that helps.

Since it is a month until your trip, I would try to drop the 2 AM feed now, but know he might regress while or after the trip. He can get back.

If you are concerned about supply, you can pump some milk right before bed to help get stimulation.

SweetSweetBabies said...

I still have questions. Too many to ask. But, the dream feed is giving me the most trouble and I don't want to give up on it. Do I need to make sure she gets a full feeding at every dream feed? Sometimes it is so hard to wake her up and she only gets 5 minutes of a feeding. It is a lot better than nothing, but I want to know if she doesn't get a full feeding at her dream feed can I expect her to start sleeping through the night? Currently she has a df at 10:15 and wakes around 4:30am. Her wake up time is 7:00-7:30 which I have to wake her for.

I have noticed her 4:30am feeding is becoming less and less ravenous. This might be because she is eating better in the day and actually getting naps instead of crying the whole time. Yeah! What do you think?

Mandy said...

Hello

Question for you

We are doing great with our daytime routine. She wakes up at 6:30-7am and stays on a 3hour routine throughout the day right now. She is 8 weeks old. But our longest stretch of sleep has been 4 hours for her. And it only has worked when we DON'T wake her for a dreamfeed around 9:30-10pm. The nights we have woken her at that time to eat, she wakes up MORE during the night and still wants to eat at 1/2 and 4. The nights we just let her sleep after her evening bottle after waketime (7pm usually), she sleeps 4-5 hours, and goes back down very easily.

Any tips? Should I just let her let this go and then eventually she'll drop another middle of the night feeding?

Aaron said...

Hi there, my 9 month old has been having issues with severe reflux and allergies. My first baby was a "text book" babywise baby. My second is a different story. He currently is only on formula with a bit of rice cereal (not much)...he is growing well, but doesn't sleep well at all yet. He eats at 7pm, then goes to bed till his "dream feed" at 10:00, then he wakes anywhere from 1-4:30 to eat again and then again at 7am. I never did the "dream feed" with my first child, since he never needed it. So, I am not sure if I should consider dropping this feed now or just wait till he sleeps through the night? I was thinking maybe if I dropped it I could feed him at 7pm, then maybe just once in the night and then again at 7am. Sometimes, he doesn't want his dream feed (won't drink anything). I don't think he wakes in the middle of the night out of habit because it is always at a different time and he usually wakes choking from reflux. Anyways, my question is...should I drop the dream feed now, since I don't see him sleeping through the night anytime soon, or should I wait till he is sleeping through?

Plowmanators said...

SweetSweetBabies, If she doesn't take a full feeding, it is unlikely to get her through the night. I would test and see how it affects her. If she sleeps better with it, even with a small feeding, then stick with it. If her sleep is relatively the same either way, I would just stop. She is close to the age many drop it anyway.

She is likely needing the 4:30 feeding less these days. She should drop it before too long, or she might need help from you if she doesn't quite do it on her own.

Plowmanators said...

Mandy, if it were me, I would stop doing the dreamfeed if it disrupts her sleep at night. It might take her longer to STTN, but at least everyone will be getting better sleep overall.

Plowmanators said...

Aaron, tough call. Usually the advice is to wait to drop it until baby is sleeping through. But at that age, I would say give it a shot. Try not doing the DF for a few days and see what happens.

Mich said...

I'm so glad to have found this website! Here's my situation:
I have a 16 week old baby boy. A "textbook" night is the last feed at 6pm, asleep by 6:30, dreamfeed at 9pm and he sleeps through till 5:30-6am. This has been happening for a couple of weeks now. We are still on a 2 1/2 - 3 hr feeding cycle during the day. I have two questions:
1) When do I drop the dream feed? I'm nervous as we really enjoy this sleep we're getting!! He doesn't "sleep" through the feeding anymore but has no problems getting back to sleep afterwards.
2) He still seems tired at 6am (yawning through feeding) so I put him back down and he'll sleep through till 8am or so, which is when I start my day. Should I be starting my day at 6am even though I don't think he's quite ready?? I find it difficult to keep him up past 6:30 or so at night.Thanks in advance... Michelle

Kelly said...

My daughter is just about 15 weeks. Within the last week she started taking 1/2 of her DF. I can't get her to talk the other 1/2. Then she wakes at 12:30 and 5. I'm guessing the DF is interrupting her sleep. However if I drop it she'll be sleeping 12 hours at night. BW says not to go longer than 10 hours until 16 weeks when breastfeeding. It also says the DF should be dropped by 15 weeks. How is this possible if baby is STTN?

Kristi said...

Thanks so much for this very helpful website! I have a question about dropping the dream feeding. My twin boys are 16 weeks old. We are still on a 2.5 hour schedule eating at 7, 930, 12, 230, 500, and 730. I try to get them in bed by 830, but it is hard to do two baths that quickly, so bedtime is usually closer to 845 or 900. I was doing a dream feed at 10 and 1030 (they were too sleepy to nurse at the same time then so I had to do it seperately), but in an effort to drop the DF I have decreased the amount of time nursed to 10-15 minutes (it used to be 25-30) and moved the DF earlier so they are now doing a DF at 930 and 945. Both are in bed by 10 and sleeping until I wake them at 7. They did this successfully for a week, so I thought I would try to drop the dreamfeed. They have both successfully slept from bedtime (9pm) until waketime (7am), but they are not doing so consistently. Last night they both woke up at 3am. So my question is do they seem ready to drop their dreamfeed or should I bring it back? I was trying to get them to the 9-10 hours of sleep suggested for their age. I would also eventually like to move past the 2.5 hour schedule, but I know they need their nighttime sleep first. Suggestions???

Plowmanators said...

Mich,

1-You want to give it 2-4 weeks of STTN before dropping the dreamfeed. You can try it anytime it sounds like. I wait on the longer side just because I also enjoy the longer sleep :)

2-I would wake him when you want his eventual start of day to be. If you want it to be 8, continue doing what you are doing, being mindful that once you do drop the dreamfeed, you can't expect more than 12 hours of sleep from him.

Plowmanators said...

Kelly, If you think she needs to not have the DF, then you can pump 10 hours before her next feeding.

She also might be waking twice in the night because she isn't getting a full dreamfeed in anymore and gets hungry, so keep that in mind.

Jeanne said...

My DS eats 5 times during the day, every 3-3.5 hrs- 4 nurse and 1 bottle of expressed milk at 7:30 pm. Sometimes, the last nursing is at 6, making it so close so 7:30, that he only takes half a typical bottle. I then dreamfeed at 11 (but about 4 out 7 days, he wakes between 10 and 10:30 pm and I let him CIO), he eats again between 3 and 4 and then we start ove at 7:30 am. I have a couple questions. 1) Should I move the dreamfeed to 10:30 since he wakes up around this time most of the week? I've let him CIO for 3 weeks now at this time, hoping it would resolve and it hasn't. 2)How do I avoid getting the last to feedings of the day too close together? Am I being too inconsistent going between a 3 and 3.5 hr schedule?

7:30 eat
8:30/9:00-10:30-11 nap
1030/11 eat

The rest of the day his awake time is closer to 1.5 hrs and 1.5 or 2 hr nap- therefore his 4th feeding gets pushed really close to the 5th. But he doesn't STTN, so he's not ready for only 4 dayime feedings.

Ella's Mom said...

My baby is 11 weeks old today and she has a schedule of 6:30, 9:30, 12:30, 3:30, 6:30 and then dreamfeed around 11 to 12 pm. She wakes up consistently at 3 am and then up for the day at 6:30am. We do the feed, wake, sleep cycle during the day. She usually has less wake time in the morning than in the afternoon (about 1 hour with a 2 hour naptime). Her early afternoon nap is usually only 45 minutes. By the late afternoon she doesn't sleep at all until she goes down for the night. I would very much like to see that STTN thing! She can't seem to get off the 3 hour schedule even at night. I was exclusively breastfeeding until she was 8 weeks and began supplementing because, despite taking Fenugreek and Mother's Milk tea, my supply just wasn't enough for her. Please tell me what I should be doing!!!

Plowmanators said...

Kristi, I think the best thing to do is to add the dreamfeed back in and see if that makes the nighttime sleep return to what it was. If they then sleep through, then you can assume they aren't ready to drop it. If they continue to wake, you can assume it is for another reason.

This age is a growth spurt time, so be aware of that also. Don't stress about dropping it if they aren't ready for it yet.

Kristi said...

Thanks. We added the dream feed back, and they are sleeping through the night again. I guess they are not ready. Part of me is glad because that feeding is my favorite. They look so sweet when I snatch them out of their beds to eat one last time. Thanks again for you wonderful website and helpful advice.

Plowmanators said...

Jeanne,

1-yes, I would move the dreamfeed up.

2-you would have to stick to a very strict schedule--eating at the same times each day to be sure the last two didn't end so closely together.

Plowmanators said...

Ella's Mom,

I would first move the dreamfeed up to about 10 PM. She is going from 6:30 to 11-12. That is her longest stretch. You would rather have a long stretch later in the night than in those evening hours. I would work on getting naps in the afternoon and evening longer and present. She is still in the age group that it is normal to not be STTN yet. Hang in there!

Plowmanators said...

You are welcome Kristi. I know how you feel. I hung on to that dreamfeed with Kaitlyn much longer than she even needed it just because I loved to hold her and have that quiet time. It is harder to come by when there is another child in the picture :)

NicoleRenae said...

My daughter is 5.5 months old and still hasnt STTN. I still get her up for a DF around 10pm.. and she will still wake up around 3am and sometimes around 6am too. She eats around 4 ounces for the DF and anywhere from 3-6 ounces at night. Im feeding her every 3 hours still all day.. I cant let her CIO since we live in a townhome and she shares a wall with our neighbors bedroom. I am at a loss of what to do. I am so tired.

momtobobby said...

Hey Nicole Renae,
I saw your post and thought that I would suggest moving your daughter into a different room, so you can let her CIO. A friend had the same problem as you and she ended up moving her son's crib into the dining room until he started STTN. It only took a few days for her to get her son to STTN once she could let him CIO. She then moved his crib back into his room. Just a suggestion--good luck to you...It's miserable when you are so tired:(
Tami

Plowmanators said...

Nicole,

If you are sure she isn't hungry when she is waking in the night, you can try as Tami suggested (thanks Tami!). You can also see these posts for ideas:

Baby Whisperer: Sleeping Through the Night : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/09/baby-whisperer-sleeping-through-night.html

Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/early-morning-feedings-before-waketime.html

and

Nighttime Sleep Issues: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/nightime-sleep-issues.html

Felicia said...

Hi,
Question for you . . . my son is 13 weeks and has been sleeping from 12-6am for 2.5 weeks. He has 6 feedings during the day - about 3.5 hours apart. The last week he's been waking up at around 4:30am just crying and not hungry. I've just been giving him his pacifier. Is that what I should be doing or should I let him CIO? Also, should I make sure he gets out of that habit before even thinking about dropping his DF (currently at 11pm)? Thanks!!

Mich said...

HELP!!! My 6 month old has been sttn for the last couple of months. 6/9/12/3/6 and a dream feed at 9pm. I dropped the dream feed last night and he woke at 4am. He wasn't really crying - but skwaking alot. i left him for 1/2 hr then went in and fed him. he fell straight back to sleep until 6:30 when we started our day. My question:
Should I go back to doing the dream feed? (I can't get back to sleep at 4am) or ignore the 4am wake up?? I feel as though at 6 months we should be dropping the dream feed, but it's working so well for us (sleep wise). I'm wondering if this schedule will evolve as we start our little guy on solids? Thanks in advance for your advice.

Plowmanators said...

Felicia,

Yes, wait until he is out of the night waking before dropping the dreamfeed for sure.

With the pacifier...I personally would stop doing it. This is one of those things you start doing and it works and is easy and you all get back to sleep quickly. Over time, it becomes obvious that it has become a prop and you are going to have to move on to something like CIO anyway.

I might try the paci for a week or two and if he doesn't start to sleep through, drop it. Good luck!

Plowmanators said...

Mich, I would start the DF again. While many babies can drop it by then, some go on longer. Follow his cues and bring it back.

TinyOne said...

Hello!! I am wondering if I should drop my son's (who is 6 months) dream feed. His current milk feeding schedule is 6.30am, 11.00am, 3.00 pm, 7.00pm and 11.00pm (dream feed). He also has solid feedings at 9.00am, 12.30pm and 5.00pm.

My son usually wakes up just before the dream feed and is wide awake during the feed. However, he puts himself to sleep about 30 mins after the feed and wakes in the morning around 6-6.30am.

Thanks so much for your help!!!

Care's Kids said...

Wow what a great website! I have been reading all night, by hubby thinks I am crazy.

We have been doing BW since 2 weeks old. Our daughter is now 4.5 months. However, she is a chronic 45 min napper. (Thanks for the posting on that!) She also had some issues for a couple months with refulx and woke often at night.

Yippy! For a few weeks she has been sleeping better through the night, she will take her last feeding between 7-8pm and go to bed. She sleeps until around 8am.

However, she stopped taking her dream feed a few weeks ago(just won't take it!) and started waking in the middle of the night now. She was doing her dream feed at 11pm and going until 5am, and back to bed until 8am.
Now she is going 8pm to 2,3, or even 4 depending on the night, and back in bed until 8. We have tried CIO (for about 30 min as she does this for naps, but she is hysterical and I know her hunger cry) and now are thinking about reducing the ounces we give in the middle of the night to wean this feeding.
I am wondering if she is hungry because she isn't feeding as well during the day. We are at 3 hour feedings because of her 45 minute naps and she doesn't want to nurse or often eat at all as she is very stimulated by all the children around. I have 7 other daycare kids she loves to watch! It is very hard to stretch to 4 hours, but she is often not very hungry at 3. Should I keep feeding middle of the night until she drops it alone or reduce ounces in the bottle?

Care's Kids said...

CONTINUED FROM POST ABOVE......
So we started reducing her ounces. She was used to 4, we did a week at 3(did fine), last night was our first night at 2, she fussed way more when my dh put her back in bed, was very surprised thats all there was, but after a few minutes fell asleep and went until her normal am wake time. While I was laying there listening, something dawned on me....we are trying to wean this middle of the night feeding. However at her age(4.5 months) can we expect her to go 12 hours w/o eating 8pm-8am? If not, should we stop weaning? try to reintroduce dream feed? aim for an early am feed and back to bed for a couple hours? thanks for the advice
Carolyn

Plowmanators said...

TinyOne,

Most babies don't need the dreamfeed at 6 months, but you could find it hard to drop it since he wakes up for it.

If you think he is ready, I would try the method where you slowly back it up. So 10:45 for a few nights, 10:30 for a few nights, 10:15 etc.

Plowmanators said...

Carolyn,

It is possible for a baby her age to be able to do 12 hours.

With your 7 daycare kids, I have to wonder if her short naps are due to noise from other kids. If you don't have some sort of noise machine in her room (even a humidifier), you might want to use one.

She might eat better if she had a four hour schedule, but to do that you would want to try to fix the early waking, or wait until her waketime can be longer. Some moms find that when they switch to four hours, the baby sleeps better. Not all, but some do. Good luck!

liz said...

THANK YOU so much for having this blog. I am a first time mom with many friends who seem to have "easy" babies so it's been hard get any advice!
I have a 17 week old son who has been sleeping through the night since we introduced the dreamfeed at 10 weeks. My husband and I have decided it is time to drop the dreamfeed. Our schedule is usually feedings at 7ishAM, 11AM, 1:30PM, 4:30PM, 7PM. Bedtime ritual starts between 7:30-8PM, bed by 8-8:30p. Dreamfeed between 10:30-11pm. My DH and I are going to try decreasing the amount of ounces and also do the 15 minute earlier increments for a couple of weeks. My question is that my son has been waking up crying between 9:30-10PM recently. Do we dreamfeed him at this time? Or do we wait until 10:30p? I'm guessing this is his way of saying he is ready to be weaned, but I'm not sure. We have tried to let him cry for 20 minutes...his crying escalates to uncontrollable sobbing by then. Then we pick him up, feed him and he sleeps till somewhere between 7-8AM. Any suggestions? Thank you!

Plowmanators said...

Liz, if he is waking at that time, I would just DF him then and call it good for the night. Leave it that way for a couple of weeks to see how it goes and then move forward in dropping the DF from there.

Alison said...

Hi there. I have a DF question. My son is a few days short of 17 weeks. You have helped me with so much over these recent weeks....thanks!! He has been STTN since 10 weeks. His DF has been at 1030 and he sleeps until 830 consistently. Since he has been doing this for almost 7 weeks I started cutting back the DF. I moved the time up gradually to 10 from 1030 and he did fine. Then I cut his bottle down to 3 ounces from 5 and he woke up at 8 which is 30 minutes earlier then I prefer. So the next night I added another ounce and gave him 4 at his DF....well he woke up this morning at 7:30 in the morning. Tonight I am going to give him a full 5 ounce bottle at 10 and see how we do tomorrow morning. If that doesn't work I will move the DF back to 1030. My question is is it normal at almost 17 weeks for him to still need the DF even after he has been STTN for 10 hours for almost 7 weeks. Do you think I am trying to cut it out to early? I have even tried increasing the amount of food he gets during the day but he won't take it. I am very consistent with his times and have recently gone back to work so my 830 waketime that i have implemented for the last 17 weeks is really important. Any thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated as always!!

AUBS said...

HI! My son is 6 months old and we're trying to drop the dream feed. He is taking in about 25-30 oz/day of formula and has just started rice cereal twice a day this week (about 1/4 cup per feed). The past two nights, we have discontinued the dreamfeed, whereupon he is waking up at 5am instead of his normal 7-730am. He eats around 730-8p and is usually asleep by 830pm. We do the dreamfeed at 1030pm. We are going to try to move the dreamfeed up to 10pm, in addition to slowly decreasing the normal 3-4oz he takes. Any other suggestions would be very helpful. How slow should we decrease the ounces he is taking in at his dreamfeed? What has worked for others? Thank you!

Mich said...

The exact same thing happened to me when I stopped the dream feed at 6 months the first week my son was on cereal. He woke about 2 hours early. Note, I was breastfeeding. I just tried it again about 10 days later once solids were more established and it was fine. Not sure if I was just lucky.

Kristi said...

Aubs,

My twin boys (now 7 months) just dropped the dreamfeed. I had tried to drop it much ealier, but they weren't ready. I then planned on dropping it by 6 months, but we had to wait because of some really bad colds and coughs. At their 6 month check up their doctor really encouraged me to increase their nighttime sleep to 10-12 hours. It's almost funny how often his advice is perfectly alligned with babywise.

Here's what we did. I started by moving their feeding 10 minutes ealier every 3-4 days until the dreamfeed was 2 hours after their last feeding before bed (for us the boys ate at 7:30, went to bed at 8, and then I eventually moved the dreamfeed from 10:30 to 9:30). Then, because I was nursing, I slowly decreased the time they ate by about 5 minutes every 2-3 days. After a few days of only nursing them for 5 minutes at 9:30, I took a deep breath, said a prayer (literally) and didn't do the dreamfeed at all. I waited for a weekend, so my husband could help in the middle of the night if there were problems. One of my babies did wakeup at around 11, but he only cried for about 2-3 mintues before going back to sleep and waking at his normal time. My other baby did the same thing the next night. After that it was smooth sailing. Now they both sleep from 8-8, and it is wonderful! It took us almost a month to do it, but I think the slow and steady approach really worked for us. I was never uncomfortable in the morning, and my babies really seem happier now that they are sleeping so long at night. They nap better now too! Hurray for babywise!!! Good luck on dropping the dreamfeed, Aubs. :)

Plowmanators said...

Alison,

He could be in need of more food. 4 months is a common time for sleep disruptions (see the blog lable "4 month sleep problems"). If he isn't sleeping well when you drop the dreamfeed, add it back in. He doesn't have to drop it yet. In fact, Hogg (Baby Whisperer) says to not drop it until 7-8 months. So do it when he is ready for it.

Plowmanators said...

Aubs,

I would take it really slowly. I would try to get as many ounces added in the day as you are taking away. But also keep in mind that if he isn't ready, he isn't ready. Like Mich suggested, you can stop and try again in a week or two.

Kristi als has some great advice. Just be sure he is ready before dropping the dreamfeed.

AUBS said...

thank you all for your help!

hopeful said...

hi,

could you please clarify a point about dream feeding that i am confused about. are dream feeds the feedings that take place during the late night/early hours of the morning after the bedtime feed?

also, i am confused about how to schedule these evening feeds. from what i am reading, i can schedule evening feeds like i do the daytime feeds--every 2.5 - 3 hours. so for me and my daughter, our feeding schedule is 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm (bedtime). do i wake her up for the 10pm, 1am, and 4am feeds?

i wonder this because in the bw book, in ch.6 page 112, point #3 states that you can feed the last late night feed (10pm), and then let baby sleep until baby wakes up to be fed--but no longer than 5 hours.

so do i continue my feeding schedule throughout the night, or do i let my daughter sleep and wake up to be fed when she wants?

by the way, my daughter is 4 weeks old.

thank you!

Kristi said...

Hopeful,

I'm not an expert like Valerie, but maybe I can help a little until she can get back to you. I think a dreamfeed is defined as a feeding during the late night/early morning in which you put your baby straight back to bed with no awake time. Often you might have to wake your baby up for this feeding. Right now your baby is really young so she shouldn't go more than 5 hours without eating. So you might try feeding her at 10pm and then again at 2am so that she can wake five hours later for her first feeding at 7am. Or you could do a feeding at 10pm and then let your baby sleep until she wakes or until the five hour mark of 3am (which ever comes first). Then put her back to sleep until feeding at 7am. Just remember that establishing that first morning feeding is really important.

To be honest I don't remember doing this for my twins because they were premature and had to eat every 3 hours around the clock for the first few weeks to get them up to a good weight. After that my memory kind of blurs. :) You should read Valerie's posts on newborns because she talks about when she wakes up her new little one in the middle of the night and her schedule. Her baby is about the same age as yours. Good luck!

Shannon said...

Hello! I'm desperately trying to figure out what to do with my dreamfeed. My main issue is that I just moved her to a 3.5 hour schedule which only allows for four feedings unless I feed her right before bed which I don't want to do. So I have been relying on that DF to give her that fifth feeding she needs. I've been DFing since she was about 2 months and she's now 4.5 months old. Anyhow, on top of wondering if I should feed before bed or stick with the DF I'm wondering if it's bad that she always wakes up for it now. Every night between 9:45 and 11:45 she wakes up for a feeding. This just started about a month ago and because none of my other Babywise friends knew what to think about it I just let it go. So I can let her cry through it to try and drop it but if I do I have to feed her right before bed. What do you think Val? Thanks so much for your time!

AUBS said...

Shannon,
I had trouble dropping the dreamfeed and moving to a 3.5-4hr schedule. My pediatrician loves babywise so he helped us through this. He suggested not moving my baby to a 3.5-4 hour schedule until he was sleeping through the night without asking for the dreamfeed. We tried dropping the dreamfeedat 6 months, but my baby woke up 4 nights in a row in the middle of the night for the feed. We reinstalled the dreamfeed for another month, then dropped it cold turkey at 7months when he was eating 3 solid meals a day and taking in only 14oz of formula. He did great the second time. Good luck!

Aubrey

Shannon said...

Thank you for your input Aubrey. It's much appreciated! The reason I had to move her to a longer schedule is because her naps were suffering from the shorter waketime (1 hr) and ever since I bumped it to 1.5 hrs she's been napping much better. She used to get woken up by the intruder at every nap and now it's only half, sometimes less and she usually can go back to sleep now when before she rarely could. I would be fine with keeping her on a shorter schedule if that's what was best for her but there are so many things to factor in that I get overwhelmed just thinking about it. I mean BW teaches that for MOTN feedings for instance that once they reach a certain point (which my DD is well past) that you're supposed to let them CIO. So I'm wondering do I wait until she's no longer waking for this feeeding (and the ones in MOTN) or do I try to nip it in the bud myself. Hopefully Val can shed some light on this too since I'm really torn about what to do.

Anyhow, thanks again Aubrey :)

AUBS said...

Shannon,

Best of luck! That is a hard call to make. I would also look at the amt she is taking in.. babies should have btw 30-35 oz at that age, from what I have read....

Ironically my little one was up 4 times during the night last night because he was starving... these little growth spurts sometimes mess everything up!!! :)

Take Care!

Aubrey

mgoodner said...

Hey!
My 13 week-old is on a 3 hour schedule and sleeping from the last dream feed at 10pm until 7am, when we wake him up. He has been STTN regularly for 3 weeks. Should I go ahead and drop this last feeding??
I am really nervous to do it!

Plowmanators said...

hopeful,

Dreamfeed is a feeding typically between 10-11 PM. You feed the baby right before you go to bed, but you don't try to wake baby up, you just feed and then put right back down. Some people don't do a diaper change or even burp, but I do both.

You feed at 10 PM, then let her sleep as long as she will by this point (she would be about 7 weeks now).

Kristi was right in that you don't let a 4 week baby go more than 5 hours if you are breastfeeding. This is to ensure you establish a good milk supply. Thanks Kristi :)

Plowmanators said...

Shannon,


Aubrey's pediatrition is right; you don't want to extend your schedule to the point of dropping a feeding until your baby is STTN. You also don't want to do it until your baby has dropped the dreamfeed. So, I would go back to three hours and see if that helps.

She can be awake for 1.5 hours and take a 1.5 hour nap if that is needed in order to see if she needs more feedings in the day.

You also can have some intervals be 3.5 and others 2.5 or 3. You don't have to do straight 3s or straight 3.5's all day.

Plowmanators said...

mgoodner, if you haven't by now, definitely give it a shot!

evans_mom said...

My little one is 15 weeks old. He is on a 3 hour schedule (7, 10, 1, 4, 7, and 10:00 dreamfeed). He hasn’t eaten at night for over a month now. He dropped the middle of the night feeding fairly easily. It kept getting later and later until he was waking at about 5:30am or 6am to eat. At that point I decided to give him a pacifier to hold him off till we started our day at 7am. He just fell right back to sleep. Now I am considering dropping the dreamfeed, but my concern is that he still usually wakes in the night. He has done that pretty consistently since we dropped the middle of the night feeding. He wakes up and I give him a pacifier and he goes right back to sleep. This past week we decided to try to get him off the pacifier… we felt like it was becoming an issue because it used to happen just once, but it started happening more often during the night. So we followed the babywise advice on dropping the pacifier and it worked really well. He no longer needs it for naps during the day. Some nights this week he slept through from the 10pm dreamfeed until 7am and some nights he woke once for pacifier insertion. I want to let him cry it out at night, but I need to wait until next weekend when our daily schedule will allow for a couple of rough nights. So, my question is do you think I should try dropping the dreamfeed now or do I need to wait until he never wakes during the night? Also, I thought about cluster feeding in the afternoon/evening (7, 10, 1, 4, 6, 8). That would allow him to still get 6 feedings but drop the dreamfeed. What do you think would work best? Thanks so much!

Meg said...

Hello. I have twin boys who are 4 months old. They have both been sleeping through the night for about 4 weeks now and I'm wondering what to do next. Their feeding schedule is: 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm then a DF at 10pm. If I drop the DF, do I increase the amount they are eating per feeding during the day? I read the posts about dropping the dream feeding and different ways to do it, which was helpful, but am nervous about doing it, hoping they will still sleep through the night. They will eat at the DF, but don't seem quite as interested in eating at their first feeding in the morning, which has made me wonder if they're ready to drop the DF.

Also, at what point do I move them to a 4-hour schedule? They don't quite seem ready to do that, as they are still hungry and ready to eat during the day. Is the feeding schedule I listed above okay to still follow?

These are my first babies and I'm just nervous about all of the "next steps". Any advice you can give would be very much appreciated.

Thank you.
Megan

Tyler and Shea Moses said...

Hi!

Thank you for your blog! I am a BW new mom, and your blog has served as a wonderful reference point for me! My daughter is 5 months and 1 week old. In following the BW philosophy, we had her sleeping through the night (10 hours) by 8 weeks. Now that she is over 5 months, we are on a 4 hour schedule, started solids, and she is going down at 7:30 pm and waking around 7 am. Is this ok? She has 4 feedings a day, with the 3 feedings of 6-8 oz of formula accompanied with half of a jar of baby food (she does not like to take very much). The last feeding is a 6-8 oz bottle right before bed time. She takes3 naps each day, and 1 cat nap in the evening. When do I need to drop the cat nap? Lately she has been harder to put down at night than usual. I feel its time for an adjustment, but I am at a loss. Any words of wisdom?

Thank you,
Shea Moses

Plowmanators said...

EvansMom

Cluster feeding isn't supposed to be effective at that old of an age, which I foudn to be true for McKenna.

My advice would be to wait until he has slept through with no wakings for two weeks (or at least no wakings that require your intervention), then try dropping the dreamfeed (if you haven't yet). Good luck!

Plowmanators said...

Meg, it sounds like they are ready to drop the dreamfeed. I don't bottle feed, so I can't give you a "for sure" answer on the ounces, but if they need more ounces in the day, then you will need to spread them among the bottles.

4 hour schedule--see the blog label four hour schedule (or it might be 4 hour schedule). It will give you guidelines. Give it at least 2 weeks after the dreamfeed. Your schedule is just fine. There is no need to rush the 4 hour schedule. Mine didn't go there until almost 7 months and they are perfectly fine :)

Plowmanators said...

Shea, it sounsd like things are great. Some babies go to two naps at 6 months. Most go to two at 8 months. Some take longer. You can see the blog index "dropping things" and see the dropping naps posts for more guidance on that.

Sandy said...

Hi, I love your blog and I read everyday (when I'm at work). My little girl is 10 weeks old. I know that she can go for 6 hours without eating because on the weekends, if we don't wake her at 4:30am, she'll sleep until 7am (her dream feed is at 1am). During the week, my husband and I wake at 4:30 to get to work, but we can't seem to get Claire to sleep from 9pm until 4:30 am. She always wakes at 1am, eats a full meal, then goes back to sleep until I wake her to nurse her at 4:30. Is there any way we can help her drop the 1am feeding?
Thanks.

Rebecca said...

Hi! My daughter (5 months tomorrow) started STTN at 10 weeks and has been sleeping well most of the time. About 20 days ago she got a cold. Two days before she got sick she started waking a couple of times during the night, but I thought it must have been because of the cold. However, she has continued to wake up at different times during some nights and she now wakes between 5-6 am and starts to cry. Our schedule starts at 7 am so I've tryed to let her CIO (she doesn't eat well at 7 am if I feed her between 5-6 am). She's still waking up. I've read about the 4 months sleeping problems and I am thinking it could be that. However I am also thinking she is past the age for dropping the DF and think I will try that. I know you recommend not dropping it until she is sleeping to the desired wake time, but she used to do it before. My question is - is it common to have sleep disruption problems several weeks after sickness? Or do you think this is something else? Any other comments? Do you think I should try dropping the DF? Her schedule starts at 7 am and I feed her every 3-3.5 hours (she can go four hours though). DF at 9.30 pm. Feed her some cereals - started just after her cold (4,5 months). I have also tryed adding formula in the evening, but it doesn't help (in fact I think it makes it worse!). I guess this means it's not a hunger issue. Another thought would be that I might need to move to a four hour schedule, but I guess I better drop DF first. Thanks!

Plowmanators said...

Sandy,

First, a 1 AM feeding isn't considered a dreamfeed, it is a middle of the night feed. Dreamfeeds are before 11 PM.

I would try having an earlier bedtime. 9 is pretty late, especially if she is waking up at 4:30.

Also, when she wakes at 1, try feeding her but feeding her a bit less than usual so she can get used to eating more in the day and less at night. Good luck!

Ashley, Ryan, and Liam Stinson said...

Hi! So glad that I found this blog! Okay... my son is 5 months old and just started baby cereal and oatmeal this week. I am feeding him cereal at 6:00 pm and breastfeeding him at 7:00 pm. He goes to bed at 7:30 pm. I have been going in at 10:30 and dreamfeeding him. He feeds pretty well on one side and then he's out! He wakes up fussing at 1 or 2 and even sometimes at 3, and my doctor told us to let him CIO. Then he wakes up again at 6 and that's when I go in to feed him because I worry that he must be hungry. I put him back down and he sleeps until 8 or 9 am. I know that you have said to wait until they are successfully STTN before dropping the dreamfeed. So, do I just let him keep crying it out when he wakes up in the middle of the night and eventually he will stop waking up? Should I continue feeding him at 6 when he wakes up, or let him cry it out then also? I am worried that when he is waking up in the night he may need a diaper change or is stuck on his tummy (he can roll onto his tummy but then can't get back over), but I also don't want to go in and disturb him or ruin the CIO method. I am a first time mommy and so confused! Help! :)

Plowmanators said...

Rebecca,

Since the sleep problems happened before the cold, I wouldn't attribute it to that. Unless you did a lot of things like hold her constantly or take her to bed with you, I doubt it is due to the sickness.

You can definitely try dropping the DF and see what happens. I have a BW friend who always says to give it a try. If it doesn't work, you can always put it back in. Good luck!

Cliff and Abby Tippens said...

My 5 month old has been waking in the middle of the night almost every night for the past month and a half (at first I considered this the normal 4 month early morning waking but now it has been going on for much longer!!). It is not hunger - he is just waking up to talk, babble, play, etc. He will do this for 1-2 hours so it makes it rather difficult for me to sleep!! And just this week he has been rolling over to his belly during this time too so I have to go in and flip him back over at least once. I know he is not waking out of hunger because when I feed him in the morning, he won't take the full bottle and doesn't seem very interested in eating. He eats at: 6:15, 9:45, 1:30, 5:15, 9:45...these are approximate and can vary by 30 minutes each day - especially when he's at the sitter (Unfortunately I have to work so it makes the whole BW schedule a little more difficult to maintain). He goes to bed at 7 or 7:30 and wakes at 6:15 (many times we will have to wake him). Since he's not really that hungry at the 6:15 feeding, do you think I should drop the dream feed? Or give him one last feeding at bedtime instead?? Also - do you think the dream feed is contributing to him waking up at 3 AM to talk??

Plowmanators said...

Ashley, Ryan, and Liam Stinson,

I would try to get him to take a full feeding at the dreamfeed. Then you won't have to worry so much about him being hungry in the night.

It is also possible the dreamfeed is disrupting his natural sleep. If that is the case, I would either try different times or drop it and see what happens. McKenna slept much better with a dreamfeed before 10:30...after that and she woke up sooner in the night.

Plowmanators said...

Cliff and Abby Tippens, So is your dreamfeed at 9:45? This is what I would do:

I would feed him right before bed, then try dropping the dreamfeed and see what happens. You can always add it back in if that doesn't work.

Vita & said...

Hello, and thank you so much for this blog. i am so appreciative of all the time and effort you put into helping us (complete strangers!).

here is my situation as it relates to dropping the dreamfeed. my lo is 21weeks old, sttn fairly consistently from 8pm to 6:30am. i've moved up DF slowly over the last month from 11 to 9pm. 9pm is only 2.5hours after his last feed at 6:30, so there is not much more room there to move up. i understand my next step is to cut back on the amount i feed him. i'm BF'ing, so i'll try to only do one side. do you think this is a good strategy?

my other question is a bit more broad. i was sharing with my mother-in-law just yesterday what my next steps are (kind of as i outlined them above). and she thought i was CRAZY for expecting a 5mo old to sleep from 7pm to 6:30am. she questioned the validity of keeping to the 3-hour schedule and dropping DF. instead she suggested moving to the 4-hour schedule and keeping the DF.

now, i am a HUGE believer in BW and a huge fan of everything you recommend. so i would like to do it the BW-way (not my mother-in-law's way). But she got me thinking. Why is it that DF should be dropped next? (as in, what's the logical reasoning behind it. BW has been so logical to me, that's why i'm trying to understand) don't get me wrong, i would LOVE to have that whole 11hour stretch all to myself. but why is it better for the baby?

thanks so much!!!
Vita

Plowmanators said...

Vita, your strategy for the DF sounds great!

With McKenna, we went to a 4 hour schedule before dropping the dreamfeed. The reason for this is that she was ready for something and we were moving. I didn't want to drop the dreamfeed in the middle of a move. So we went to 4 hours. This is the order the baby whisperer recommends.

I think (this is my best guess) that the reasoning for dropping the dreamfeed first is that it allows for continual sleep. Continual sleep is important for brain development.

Also, many babies start to be disrupted by a dreamfeed. They just start not sleeping well.

So, I do think it is preferable to do it the BW way, BUT it seems they are often ready for both fairly close together when it is done at an "older" age (your baby would be older--some people drop the dreamfeed at 10ish weeks, which I haven't ever done). So you could probably do it either way and have them both accomplished within a month of each other.

Lori said...

Hello, This is my first time commenting and I'm not sure if you will see this cause its on an old post, but I can't figure out where else I would ask a question. Anyway, I have been trying to follow Babywise since my 15 weeks old was born. He was doing very well for a while. Then recently (in the last month) we started struggling with 45 minute intruder, falling asleep on his own, as well as getting overtired in evening and staying up for hours. Which messes up his entire schedule. Here is my question. I didn't really know anything about dreamfeeds until today and haven't really done one except when he was first born. But now this week he has been waking at that 10-11 period to eat. One of the yahoo group members suggested making it a dreamfeed. Is he too old to start a dreamfeed? From what I've read he is at the age to drop it not start it. When he does go to sleep at "bedtime" (9:00) he sleeps til 3:00ish when he is up all evening and finally goes to sleep at 10-11 after a final feeding or wakes up at 10-11 to eat after bedtime he sleeps til 5:30-6:00. So it seems like it would be good for him to have a dreamfeed, but I really don't know.

B said...

Hi!
I have implemented Babywise since my 20 week old was 2 weeks old, he still does not STTN... I am unsure what I am doing wrong and feel frustrated. His schedule is as follows

(sometimes we are a little off, but this is pretty typical.)

7:00 First feeding
10:00 2nd
1:00 3rd
4:00 4th
7:00 5th
7:30 is bed time and he falls asleep well

at around 10 pm, I Dream Feed him. He does not wake for this, I wake him, put him back and he is awake at 12:45am, 2:00 am 3:00am 4:00am and 5:00am where I eventually feed. Sometimes I will fed at 4:00. We used CIO and it isnt seeming to be working for the night time.
should I try to drop the dreamfeed since he isnt waking on his own for that?

I am sooooo tired and confused!
Thanks!
Bea.

Plowmanators said...

Lori,

One thing is you might want to move bedtime earlier. He might sleep better with an earlier bedtime.

I would add the DF if he sleeps better with it. Some babies drop the DF at that age, but others keep it long after, so do what you think is best for him.

Be sure he isn't experiencing a growth spurt. Also see blog label "wonder weeks."

Plowmanators said...

Bea, does he have reflux or gas pains? Is he warm enough?

How does he sleep in the day? Does he fall asleep well and stay asleep for his nap?

You might try dropping the DF and see how it goes. Some moms find it interferes with sleep rather than helps it. It doesn't look like you have much to lose by dropping it and seeing how it goes :)

Stewart said...

Okay, so we are trying to decide if its right to drop the dream feed at this point (we are pretty sure that we are getting really close).

But, most puzzling of all, we are trying to figure out how, and when, to move to a 4 hour schedule. Our sweet baby girl is 4 months old today. Here is our schedule now.

7AM - Wake and Feed
8:30AM - Nap
10 AM - Wake and Feed
11:30AM - Nap
1PM - Wake and feed
2:30PM - Nap
4PM - Wake and feed
6PM - Nap
7PM - Wake and feed.
8PM - Bedtime
9:30PM - Dreamfeed

For the dreamfeed I nurse her and then put her right back down. She does great with her naps and sleeps good for the last 1 1/2 of hours of her three hour schedule. We haven't introduced solids yet.

What does a 4 hour schedule look like? Are there any examples I can look at? And is this something we should "ease" into, or is there some point at which we should just go ahead full throttle?

Plowmanators said...

Stewart, see the blog lable "four hour schedule" for lots of help on that.

ClearTear said...

Hi, before i start dreamfeed, my 4mths old girl will sleep 1 shot 6hrs so if i feed at 8pm, she sleep 9plus will wake at 3am. Now i dreamfeed, she wake up constantly, 2hrs interval min.

Im thinking shld i stop the dreamfeed, but she only take so little milk, 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm (4feed x 150ml), tats too little, i figure she need a 11pm feed to be at least 750ml and will not wake up at 3am... but doesnt seems to work.

Plowmanators said...

If it is making things worse, I would stop it.

mary said...

My baby is 13 weeks. I had him on a 3 hr feeding schedule 7-7:30am 10:00 1:00 4:00 7:00 & 10:00pm. he has been sleeping through the night since he was 6wks. I wanted to move him to a 3 1/2 hr schedule cause every time it was time to feed him i would wake him from a deep sleep. So i started feeding him every 3 1/2 hrs dropping down to 5 feedings and moving the last feeding from 10 to 9pm. It has been two nights, the first night he woke at 4:45am and cried for about 5 min and fell back asleep till 7am and the second morning he woke at 5:30 and fussed on and off for about 30 mins and fell back asleep till 7am. I am wondering if I should go back to the 3 hr six feedings a day or keep letting him CIO

Jennifer said...

I've read quite a bit, and I haven't seen anything exactly like my particular issue. My baby is 12weeks old. He has been sleeping through the night since about 5.5 weeks. He has been on a four hour schedule, pretty much since day one. I tried to do it shorter by feeding him less each time, but he wasn't having it, so we did more ounces every four hours. His schedule used to be 6:30a.m., 10:30a.m., 2:30p.m., 6:30p.m., and 10:30p.m. I would wake him up to keep him on schedule, but he was pretty much consistently up around 6:30a.m. Lately, he has been sleeping until 7:00a.m. each morning, and I have to wake him up even then! I've started backing his DF up a little bit, and he's been eating at 10:00 every night, with the same result--we still have to wake him at 7:00a.m. Last night I fed him at 9:35p.m., and I still had to wake him this morning at 7:00. Should I continue to back it up, and maybe move the 6:30p.m. feeding to 7:00p.m. until they finally meet? Should I also decrease the amount as I move the DF further back since it's closer to his evening feeding?

Plowmanators said...

Mary,

If it were me, I would go back to the 3 hour feeding schedule.

Plowmanators said...

Jennifer, I am guessing that by now you have done something.

You can do it any way you want to--there are lots of options as outlined in this post. I think I would move the last feed to 7, but I wouldn't continually back up the dreamfeed until I hit 7. I would probably back it up to 9 or 9:30 and then decrease ounces and then just drop it.

Megan & Josh said...

I love your blog - it is so helpful! I am BF my almost 5 month old daughter and we've been doing a DF since she was born, but at that feeding we bottle. I am wanting to do what is best for my daughter but I also want to continue to nurse her even on days when she is at daycare. We start our day at 6am; she nurses or gets a bottle every 3 hours. I nurse at 6p and then 8p and to bed she goes - we wake for the DF at 10:30. This past week she started eating less at the DF. I am torn how to adjust the schedule so I can maximize nursing on daycare days but do what is best. Suggestions?

Plowmanators said...

I am not really sure what you are looking to do. I am assuming since you posted this on a dropping the dreafeed post that you are considering dropping the dreamfeed. Is that correct? If so, you won't be losing a nursing session. I would start with dropping the dreamfeed.

Then, when you move to a 4 hour schedule, you can feed at 6, 10, 2, 6 and possibly 8--but there is a chance she won't eat at 8 if she is on a 4 hour schedule.

Randi said...

Hi! I've been reading your blog FOREVER, but have never left a comment! It's a lifesaver :) Anyway.....
My daughter will be 5 months old next week and I am considering dropping her dream feed. She is eating every 3-31/2 hours during the day starting on average at 7:30 am (the window is 7:15-7:45). Her last feeding is always at 7:30 and she does down at 8 pm when I put my 2 1/2 year old goes to bed. I then do a dreamfeed at 10:15 which she never wakes for and is currently eating about 2 oz at, never more than 3. She has been trying to extend her day, but much like your daughter Mckenna's schedule, things are getting really crammed in the evening and she is not super hungry for at least one feeding a day. She is eating rice cereal at 3 feedings a day and I have just introduced veggies this week. Do you think she's ready? My older daughter had dropped her dream feed and was on a four hour schedule by now, but she was very predictable and by the book. My second seems to be more tempermental and I don't want to drop it before she's ready, but mydays are getting quite frustrating! We're also moving in two weeks, so I wonder if I should just bear it until then and do it when we get there. Thanks for any input you can give me!

Plowmanators said...

Randi,

Since you have two weeks (or 1.5 weeks by now) I would probably drop it. I think that is long enough to know if she starts waking when you move it is not because of hunger. It does sound like she is ready. Good luck!

Sin-2-Pun said...

My son just made 4 months on the 24th. He is 18 weeks from birth, 15 weeks from gestational. He has been STTN for the past 8 weeks. However, he has woken up in the middle of the night for the past two nights. I have so many theories: it may be a wonder week (lots of new learnings), too short of waketime (about an hour), not long enough naps (45 min intruder, so I have to rock back to sleep at times), or DF is interfering with sleep. So many theories to choose from! I do a combo schedule ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 hours depending on the situation. Most mornings he wakes between 6:30-7AM. Tomorrow I will def add more waketime, but am considering dropping the DF. You may not reply in time, but I am curious to see what your thoughts are on this. I love your blog and refer to it all the time!

Sondra Kay Allen said...

Hi there! First off, your site has been an enormous help to you me...thank you for all of the time you put into it.

My 11 week old feeds every three hours. The first feeding still varies a little, between 7-7:30. Then 10:30, 1:30, 4:30, 7-7:30 (sometimes he goes right down after this feeding). Then I wake him up around 10-10:30 for a DF. He barely wakes up and eats very little. Then he sleeps until 7 or so. Is it too early in your opinion to attempt to drop the DF?

Also, it sounds like you recommend dropping that DF before stretching him to 4 hours during the day? He's up for about an hour to an hour and half including feeding time before I put him down for his nap. That means he is still at 4 naps a day. Is that okay for his age?

Sondra Kay Allen said...

Hi there! First off, your site has been an enormous help to you me...thank you for all of the time you put into it.

My 11 week old feeds every three hours. The first feeding still varies a little, between 7-7:30. Then 10:30, 1:30, 4:30, 7-7:30 (sometimes he goes right down after this feeding). Then I wake him up around 10-10:30 for a DF. He barely wakes up and eats very little. Then he sleeps until 7 or so. Is it too early in your opinion to attempt to drop the DF?

Also, it sounds like you recommend dropping that DF before stretching him to 4 hours during the day? He's up for about an hour to an hour and half including feeding time before I put him down for his nap. That means he is still at 4 naps a day. Is that okay for his age?

Plowmanators said...

Sin-2-Pun, because the wonder week can mess with things so severely--especially at this age--I would just wait it out for a week or so and see if that is the reason. If it is a wonder week, changing the schedule isn't going to help fix anything.

Plowmanators said...

Sondra Kay Allen,

Yes, that is okay number of naps for his age. Most babies go down to three naps at 4 months old.

I also think it is okay to try out dropping the dreamfeed to see how it goes. Worst case, it doesn't work and you add it back. But I think he is old enough.

The Garrett's said...

My LO will be 8 weeks on Tuesday and we are on a great 2.5-3 hr schedule during the day. We have never done the dreamfeed, always just let her wake up on her own in the night.
The last real feed we give her is b/t 7-7:30pm with hopes of her being asleep about 8pm or so. She has usually/consistently slept until a middle of the night feeding (maybe around 2-3am) and then our waketime is 6am-ish. She sometimes wakes before 6, but not by much. There have also been nights where her only awakening is about 330 or 4am, which is very hard to handle when our wake time is 6am.
I am now at the point or wondering whether to institute the dreamfeed or let things go as is...it seems to be working and I know she wont be able to STTN quite yet, just want to make sure I am doing things right and what's best for her and our well being! So, should I do no dreamfeed as we've been doing and luckily she is just waking one time in the night with hopes that the older she gets and more she can stomach, she will just naturally STTN? Thank you & LOVE the blog!!

Plowmanators said...

The Garrett's,

She is at an age where it is a hard call.

On the one hand, you can leave things as is (which is totally fine) and wait her out.

On the other, you could do a DF and see what happens. She might be able to make it from a DF until 6 AM since she is going from 7 to 2-4 AM. That could be nice for your sleep. But it could also mess with the rhythm you have going on.

I think it is fine to not do a DF. As to whether or not you start it, I would go with your gut.

Amanda&Derek said...

Hi!
My son Hudson is 4.5 months old. He has been pretty consistently STTN since he was 2 months. Since he turned 4 months old he has been waking around 1 to 3 times in the night. He is breastfed and supplemented with formula and rice at night before bed. He eats on a 3 hour schedule all day long starting at 7:30am. and the last feeding at 10:30pm. I have never considered the 10:30 pm feeding to be a "dreamfeed" however, because he isn't sleeping between his 7:30 and 10:30pm feedings. Am I doing this wrong if he isn't "down for the night" at his 7:30 feeding?? Also his naps are as follows: He eats at 7:30 am, sleeps again til about 8:30, then awake. I feed him again at 10:30am, and he goes down for a 2.5 hour nap at 11. When he wakes at 1:30 I feed him and let him stay awake til 3ish, never a strict nap schedule for the rest of the day. He usually doesn't sleep very well for the rest of the day, so I have never made him take strict naps other than the one between 11 and 1:30. Is this wrong? Should he be taking 2 or more naps a day at this age? And should I drop his 10:30p.m. feeding to 9:30 at night and put him to bed then? I am a little confused because I never thought he should be actually going down for the night earlier than what he has been all along. The past 3 nights he has been awake about 2 times in the night, so Hopefully if I let him get to bed earlier it will help him sleep more resfully for the rest of the night... or maybe I need to give him other solids other than the rice???. I don't know anymore! Please help!

-Amanda

Kristen said...

Hi! I need some advice. My 16 week old eats 5 bottles a day, 6 oz each, starting at 7am, with 4 hours between feddings. We feed her at 7pm and then put her down for bed. We then dream feed her between 10:30 and 11pm. We would like to drop the dream feed. We skipped it one night (hubby didn't wake up for it) and she still slept throught the night. How do you go about dropping this feed? Will we need to increase the ounces of bottles during the day?

Any advice is MUCH appreciated!! I don't want to underfeed my girl or have her waking up again!

Thanks!

Plowmanators said...

Amanda, yes, you need to have him down for the night somewhere from 7:30-8:00.

A (now) five month old should be napping about 3 times a day. Two full naps and one other nap that will either be full or as short as 30 minutes. Nighttime sleep should be anywhere from 10-12 hours.

See also the label "wonder weeks" for more info

Katie Stephenson said...

Hi there! I have a question. I was wondering if you could give me clarification on dropping the dreamfeed and whether or not you can go straight from a 3 to a 4 hour schedule. I have a 2 month old who eats every three hours (7:30, 10:30, 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, and DF at 10:30). She just started sleeping straight through until her morning feeding so we will be staying on this schedule for quite some time but I just wanted to see what our eventual next step should be. I originally thought we would gradually move her DF back a bit and then switch to a 3.5 hour schedule and again move the DF back when ready for a 4 hour schedule. I didn't realize you could just completely drop the DF until this post! I know each of these options are possible and ultimately up to our family (longer time between feedings vs. earlier bedtime/time for my husband and I) but I had a couple questions. 1) If you drop the DF, going from a 3 to a 3.5 hour schedule seems undesirable as then she will then be up later, sleeping less at night (last feeding would be at 9:30 instead of 7:30). Is it possible to go straight from a 3 to 4 hour schedule as the times would make more sense as far as nighttime sleep? 2) If you go straight from a 3 to a 4 hour schedule, is it a more difficult adjustment as far as waketime and naps? Thanks so much, just trying to see if our goal should be to drop the DF, ultimately going from 3 to 4 hour schedule or a more gradual approach in moving back the DF to accommodate a 3.5 hr schedule then moving it back again to accommodate a 4 hr schedule. I appreciate your wisdom and I know we have time but just trying to learn so we can decide what is best for our little one!!!

Plowmanators said...

Kristen, I have never fed exclusively with a bottle, so I am not sure. For a breastfeeding mother, you just stop feeding. I don't know if the baby takes more ounces per feeding or what. I assume they do. So you might offer two extra ounces at each meal to see what she wants/needs.

Plowmanators said...

Larson's,

I think Jessica had some great points for you.

If she needs the food in the night (she eats well at breakfast), then try offering more food in the day.

The trick is to figure out her reason for waking and address that. See the "nighttime sleep issues: revised and updated" post for more guidance there.

As with the poor naps right now, it might just be the normal four month old issue (See also "wonder weeks" label). If it is a WW thing, she should be about over that by now.

Plowmanators said...

Thanks for sharing Abbi!

Plowmanators said...

Katie,

1) yes, you can go from a 3 to a 4 hour schedule. I basically have always waited until 4 hour was possible before switching.

2) if they are ready, it shouldn't be difficult. My kids never had a problem.

Like you said, you can do it however you want to. BW suggests dropping the DF before moving to a 4 hour schedule, which I tend to agree with. However, with my youngest, we did a 4 hour before dropping the dreamfeed because that is just what was easiest for us to do at the time (we were in the middle of a move). So do what you think is best.

Casey said...

Hey, I could use some help! My son, Taigan, is currently 10 weeks old. He's been sleeping through the night for a few weeks now, and we've been doing 7 feedings on a wacky schedule. He would feed at 7am, 10am, 12:30pm, 3pm, 6pm, 8:30pm, and 10:30pm - basically, two 3 hour, four 2 1/2 hour, and one 2 hour feedings. I've felt that he's able to move to a consistent 3 hour schedule (7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, 9:30 - 10pm) thus dropping a feeding, however I find I'm a bit confused. I've read that you can just drop the "dreamfeed", which would be my 10:30 one from the earlier schedule. However, if I drop that without adjusting anything, doesn't that mean he's taking in less milk? I thought when you dropped a feeding you were supposed to maintain the same amount of milk? Help, please! I'm not sure what to do.

jill. said...

Hi...my 8week old consistently wakes up at 1am or 2am depending on her last feeding and barely eats. She's on a consistent 3-3.5 hour schedule during the day. She wakes between 6:30 and 7:30 on average (however, sometimes she may only sleep 3 hours after the 1am feeding). Should I try soothing her through this 1a/2am feeding? I'm so ready for some sleep myself! Thanks for any help.

Plowmanators said...

Casey,

When you drop a feeding, the baby should start taking in more milk at other feedings. Also, breastmilk composition does change as baby gets older.

But if you go to a consistent 3, you won't so much be dropping a dreamfeed as you will be dropping a daytime feed. You should still have that 10 PM feeding.

Plowmanators said...

Jill, you can try it and see what happens. After a few nights, she might make it longer. It is worth a shot to see what happens.

Jessica + Jeremiah said...

Hi! My baby girl will be 17 weeks old on Monday. I am exclusively breastfeeding. She eats at 6, 9, 12, 3, 6 with a DF at 9. She takes 4 1.5 hours naps but the last nap is sometimes just 1 hour. She has been STTN since she was at least 2 months old. She goes down after the DF and wakes on her own at 6 or I sometimes have to wake her at 6 to start our day. I think BW said she should drop the DF by 15 weeks and since she has been sleeping all the way from the DF to wake time I thought it might be time to drop it. So I tried to drop it cold turkey about 4 weeks ago (at 13 weeks old) but she was very inconsistent and would sometimes make it all the way from 7pm-6am and sometimes wake at 2 or 3 in the morning eat and go back down til 6am. I was about to go back to work so I added the DF back and she went back to sleeping from 10pm-6am. At 16 weeks I decided to try to give it another try with dropping it because everything I've read says she should be sleeping 10 hours straight and with the DF she only sleeps 8 hours straight. She made it the first night from 7pm-5am, the next night from 7pm-6am, then 7pm-11pm ate and back down til 6am, and then last night 7pm-2am ate and then back down til 6am. Since she is not consistent it makes me think she might not be ready to drop the DF. When she wakes in the middle of the night I let her cry for 30 minutes but she doesn't put herself back to sleep. So I have offered a feeding and she eats vigorously. What are your thoughts?
1) Should I try to drop it or keep it around for a while longer?
2) If I should keep it, when would you recommend trying to drop it again?
3) Should I try backing up the time of the DF or decreasing the amount of time feeding?
4) Or should I try CIO in a different way?
5) Lastly... should I drop the DF before dropping the 4th nap?
THANK YOU!!!

Jessica + Jeremiah said...

Oh one more thing... She does not wake at 9pm for the DF on her own. I have to wake her for it every time.

Jessica + Jeremiah said...

I promise this is the last thing. :) My baby is swaddled to sleep every night. Recently she has been breaking out of the swaddle during her sleep at night. She does not break out of her swaddle during her naps. When she wakes crying at night she is normally completely out of the swaddle except for maybe one arm. Should I still be swaddling her? She is almost 17 weeks. Could this be why she is waking? I'm hesitant to stop swaddling bc I'm afraid she will wake herself accidentally during the night.

Jessica + Jeremiah said...

I added back the df and now she is waking 1 and sometimes 2 times between 10pm and 6am. She is totally out of her swaddle. The first night she woke at 2:30am cried for 10 mins then went back to sleep. She woke again at 3:30am and I reswaddled, changed her diaper, gave her a paci and she went back to sleep til 6am (her waketime). The second night she woke at 12:30am. I reswaddled, changed diaper, and gave paci and she slept until 4:30am. I fed her a short feeding and she ate well. Then at 6am she woke on her own and I fed her and she ate ok but kept falling asleep. Her legs were cold bc she broke our of her swaddle again. After i fed her I changed her outfit to one with legs and feet instead of a gown. Do you think she could be waking bc she is cold or do you think she is hungry? I thought it could be a growth spurt but i don't know. She used to easily for about 2 months sleep from 10pm-6am without eating so it's hard for me to think she needs to eat. It's almost as if it is worse now adding the df back in. When I first took the df away and added it back she did great but this time she is not sleeping well at all. What do I do? Any advice you have is wanted!!! I'm so lost!

Plowmanators said...

Jessica,

It could be a growth spurt if she is not waking more often in the day. She might be trying to make up extra calories at night.

She is also at the age for the 20 week wonder week--see "wonder weeks" for more.

She is at an age where many drop the swaddle. It is a hard call on when to do that exactly. Odds are she will be able to handle it just fine. If you are out completely, be sure to compensate for the lost heat by changing PJs to warmer ones.

Cielo said...

I was feeding my son all day without any type of routine, fed him to sleep and put him to bed only to have him wake right up and start over again. I was sleep deprived and desperate so I read the only baby book i had at home, Babywise. I had never read it before and didn't have a clue what to expect. It all makes sense!

I just started CIO 5 days ago and it worked wonderfully at night time after just the first night. However, my 5 month old isn't taking daytime naps after CIO. Most of the time he will cry until I get him 1 - 2 hours into CIO (since its time to eat again). When I feed him he falls asleep while eating and I cannot keep him awake during those 15 min or so. He has only cried himself to sleep less than a hand-ful of times during the day in the entire 5 days. He does take short naps while in the car if I go out or while feeding.

When he looks sleepy I change his diaper if needed, close the blinds, turn on the fan, turn on lullaby music and rock him until he looks sleepy. This can take up to 10min since he gets very upset while I'm holding him and he knows its bedtime. Then I hold him still until he starts to close his eyes. He will cry with his eyes shut. Should I put him down when he's crying or wait until he is calm and sleepy? I don't return once I'm gone unless I hear a distressed cry because he usually will get more upset after I leave a second time. He doesn't like swings so i don't have that option. Any help?

shannon said...

My son is almost 6 months and has been on solids for a few. I am going to try and start the process of dropping the dreamfeed. My question is how do I add more milk ounces during the day if he stops nursing on his own when he is done even If I still have more milk. I can't try to keep him on for that extra few ounces, he won't do it. How do I get him the extra food like the baby whispers instructs. Thankyou

Plowmanators said...

Cielo, you might want to start with helping him fall asleep at nap time for now. Give him 1-2 weeks of taking naps when he is supposed to so his body is used to the process, then move on to CIO.

Be sure, also, to read the CIO Bootcamp post on this blog.

Plowmanators said...

Shannon, if you are breastfeeding, I wouldn't worry about getting extra ounces in. The Baby Whisperer is often directed only toward bottle feeding moms. You will have extra milk in the morning (you will feel it), so he might drink more in the same amount of time. He will take what he needs.

Julie said...

Hi! My baby girl will be 6 months in 2 days - we are still on a 3 hour schedule:
She wakes at 6:15-6:30am and I try to get her to wait til 7am to "start" the day
So 7am feeding, 8-10am nap
10am feeding, 11:30-1pm nap
1pm feed, 3-4pm(ish) nap
4pm feed, 6-7(ish) nap
7pm feeding, then I keep her awake until 9:15ish, feed again and bed
She sttn by 7 weeks but has had some inconsistencies over the past month or so
My question is this - how do I get her to sleep longer at night? She should be up to 11-12 hrs by now? Suggestions?

Plowmanators said...

Julie, put her to bed soon after the 7 PM feeding. Have her in bed by 8 PM. Late bedtimes=rough nights. Good luck!

CamLarson said...

Hi! Thank you so much for your blog, it has been a huge lifesavor! I have a question about the dreamfeed... My son is 7.5 weeks old, and is on a 3-hour schedule (7am, 10am, etc...) His "last feeding" is at 7pm, and we put him down sometime between 7:30 - 8:00 p.m. We have to wake him up for his dreamfeed (if I try to feed him without unswaddling and changing his diaper he won't latch on). After we do all of this, he only latches on for a few minutes 2-4 minutes, max. I feel as though it isn't worth it? What should I do? Bump it up? He isn't sleeping through the night -- he is waking up between 2:30 - 3:30 a.m. for his middle of the night feeding, and has just recently started sleeping until his waketime... Thanks for the help!!!

CamLarson said...

Hi -- me again... So I thought I'd include some updated info. My son is now almost 9 weeks, and he is still waking up some where between the 2-4am mark. The dreamfeed is still spotty. I turn on the light, change his diaper, etc, but still can't really get him to eat that well, and he is always waking up for a feeding in the middle of the night. Any tips/tricks? I know he could make it because a few nights ago I fed him at 7pm, and then at 10pm for the dreamfeed, I couldn't even get him to latch on after unswaddling, changing, turning on light, etc... and he slept until 4am, and was ready to eat - which means he went almost 9 hours... So close to making it through the night! Any help would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks!!!

Plowmanators said...

Camlarson, see the posts in the newborn index on feeding sleepy newborns. If it coninues to not work I would just skip it. Good luck!

Plowmanators said...

Oh another thing, try changing the exact time you do the dream feed.

Unknown said...

I am not sure if this is the correct venue for this question, but I thought I would give it a shot. I started babywise late (about 6 weeks). We were on a 2 hour, 45 minute schedule with the first feed at 7 and the last at 8:45. My son consistently woke up between 2 and 3 am, and then he would wake in the morning betweent 4 and 6 am. I held off feeding him until 7 am. We decided to let him try his own schedule after a dedicated 2 weeks of getting him on the babywise schedule (7am - 8:45pm). That was a disaster week. (We only took a week of letting him adjust his own schedule.) We are now back on a babywise schedule and have been for a week, but I switched to a 3 hour schedule instead of 2 hour, 45 minutes. This includes a 7am wake time, and our last feed is a 10:15 dreamfeed (to get our six feedings in). He is VERY hard to wake and hardly eats anything. BUT, he is still consistently getting up between 2 and 3am. He has, however, started to sleep longer in the morning after the late night feeding (more toward 6:30 on average). Is the dreamfeed necessary if I'm gonna have to get up at 2/3am, anyway? I would just as soon go to bed earlier if its not making much of a difference. Is there a way to get him to eat more so that he won't wake up at 2/3am? After reading these posts, I feel so behind since so many babies his age (I should say that is 10 weeks, 3 days today) are sleeping 10-12 hour stretches. ANY avice is SO MUCH appreciated!

Holly B. said...

Hi Valerie,
Thanks so much for this site! I'm a first time mom of a 6 month old (as of next week). She currently bottle feeds 5 times including the DF. Lately the DF has seemed to disrupt her sleep; she doesn't want to totally finish the bottle (she does drink most of it) cries when we start to feed, etc. During the day she is on a 3.5-4 hour schedule. Not sure if she can handle 4 bigger bottle feedings (she is small). We plan to start veggies next week. She has been sleeping throught the night for a long time; but is now waking around 7 AM instead of 8 AM after a 10 PM dream feed. Advice? Thanks in advance!

Plowmanators said...

Unknown,

You can try not doing the dreamfeed and see what happens.

Don't worry about where you are compared to others. Only worry about where you are compared to yourself. It will come!

Plowmanators said...

Holly, you can try dropping the dreamfeed and see what happens. If it doesn't go well, you can add it back.

The Chatty Housewife said...

My son is almost 16 weeks old. His wake time is 60-70 min. He is still on a 3 hour schedule (7am,10,1,4,7, 10pm DF).

Question #1: At night he has been going 9 hours between feedings for several weeks. This past week he has regressed and has started waking up around 5am instead of 7am. I usually leave him in the crib to fuss and he usually quiets down for the most part and I get him up to feed him and start the day at 6:30. Do you think he is regressing because he is ready to drop the dream feed/it is interrupting his sleep? The last few times I have done the DF he has been fairly upset before and after nursing. Or could it be a wonder week? Or a need for a 3 1/2 hour schedule? I don't know what to do to "fix" this.

Question #2: Do I leave the last feeding of the day at 7 pm? If I omit the DF and he sleeps till his old normal wake time of 7, that's 12 hrs, do I need to pump in order to keep my milk supply up? I'd rather not pump, as I've never had to do it yet. (This is my first baby.)

Question #3: If you suggest a 3 1/2 or 4 hour schedule, how does that change the last feeding of the day? I read somewhere that it should be around 7, but if I stretch the schedule longer, doesn't that make the last feeding later?

I really appreciate this blog, it has been such an amazing help. I do hope my questions are not too crazy!

Leah said...

Hi, thanks so much for this blog, it is awesome! My daughter (also Kaitlyn) is 6 months old and has had bad reflux since about 2 weeks. She's on meds and that is mostly under control now. She's on a 4 hour schedule but wakes at least once wanting the pacifier, so I'm not sure if that counts as SSTN or not. I still am doing a DF around 10:15 each night and am wondering how I know if she is ready to drop it? I almost always have to wake her, she will nurse for 5-8 minutes before comfort sucking when I put her back in bed without any fussing. She has gone 7 hours after the DF before without wanting the paci, but she's very hard to predict. She always wakes early around 5:30-6:30 when I'd like wake time to be 7. Sometimes I can give her the paci and she'll fall back asleep and others she is up. She is eating cereal and some solids, I plan on starting more solids now that she is 6 months. We haven't felt comfortable letting her CIO because we're afraid that it will irritate her reflux and she will be in pain. What do you suggest? She's also still swaddled and won't sleep without it!

Sorry about all the different subjects here, I'm sure they all play into each other...

Cheryl and Tyler said...

Thank you so much for this blog. I use it all the time! My 6 month old is on a 4 hour schedule and has been on solids for 2 weeks. I normally put her to bed at 7:30pm, do a dream feed around 11:00 and she'll wake up around 7:00am. I'm trying to get rid of the dream feed since she gets enough food during the day.She also takes 2 naps about 1 1/2 hours each. I've tried to dropping it cold turkey and she woke up earlier and then i tried feeding her less but she'll always wake up earlier (between 5-6am) I'll give her the pacifier but she wont go back to sleep until I feed her. I've waited up to 40 minutes. Should I continue to drop the dream feed and eventually she'll sleep later or should I keep doing the dream feed and try to drop it in a couple weeks? Thank you so much!

Plowmanators said...

Chatty Housewife,

It could be due to any of those or a growth spurt. Make a list of things, then try to address them one at a time.

At this point, you should be able to go 12 hours without a problem.

You want bedtime between 7-8 PM, so do the last feeding and then put him to bed as close to that time as possible.

Plowmanators said...

Leah,

I didn't drop the dreamfeed with Kaitlyn until she had been sleeping through the night for a few months. I don't think you need to wait that long, but I would wait until she is sleeping through.

You can always drop it and see how she does. There is a chance she does just as well, even better. Good luck!

Plowmanators said...

Cheryl,

Have you tried moving it up over time? So do 10:45 for a while? Then 10:30? etc.?

bettytoo said...

I have a similar scenario to Cheryl. My 7 month old girl is on a 4 hour schedule, eating some solids (small quantity, trying to increase but she prefers to nurse). Her last feeding is around 6/6:30 with bedtime between 6:30 & 7. Her dream feed was at 10/10:30 and she was nursing about 5 minutes and sleeping until 6:30/7 when I started to decrease the dream feed a few weeks ago. Now she's down to 3 minutes at 9:30, but as soon as I went below 5 minutes she started waking at 5 or 5:30 am. If I feed her then, she'll go back to sleep, but I usually try to wait until 6:30 am to feed her and then she doesn't seem to nap as well. Now she also wakes for her dream feed about 3 hours after she goes to sleep. I have a feeling the dream feed is disrupting her sleep and would like to continue weaning her off the dream feed but what if she continues to wake 3 hours after she goes to sleep? Is this a habit or is she just not quite ready yet?

jcaitlyn said...

Hello,
My almost 5 month old and I are having a few issues! ;) My little girl started STTN at about 8 weeks - awesome. She is breastfed and eats around 7, 10, 1, 4, 7 and about 10ish. However, for the last 5 weeks, she has been waking up at various times between 2 and 6am. I've tried to CIO, cluster feed, etc. to no avail. The only thing that works is to give her a full feeding and then she will go right back to sleep. Depending how early she wakes - she rarely makes it to her 7-730 wake time. I used to have to wake her up in the morning! I saw that you said that sometimes a dreamfeed can distrup their sleep. Do you think I should try dropping this feed? She is also not napping well anymore. I try to get her to sleep for naps at about 830, 1130, 230. She was taking naps in the swing and I sort of broke her of that but she still doesn't like taking naps in her crib (but is perfect in the crib going to bed at night!) I figured it was the normal 4 month sleep issues but seems to be lasting a long time. I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. Any thoughts!?!? Please! Thank you so much!!!

Plowmanators said...

bettytoo, I would wonder if there is a growth spurt going on. I would go back to a dreamfeed for a week or two and then try weaning again. Either that or she just isn't ready to drop it until she is taking solids better.

Jessica, Trey and Madison said...

I need some advice. My 6 month old has been on a 4 hour schedule since she was at least 4 weeks (6/10/2/6/10). She sleeps through the night and if she does wake up, she'll put herself back to sleep within 3-5 minutes. We give her a full 7oz bottle at 10 and she doesn't wake up for it but takes the whole bottle and spits it out when she's done and my husband says (he gives her that feeding every night) that she's dead to the world. I don't know if that 10pm bottle is considered a "dreamfeed" and if I can or need to get rid of it. I think at her age she's supposed to be getting at least 5 bottles which is why I'm nervous about taking it away. Any thoughts or advice? Should I change it up or leave it the same? If I need to leave it the same, at what age do I drop that feeding?
Thanks for all your help!
JSM

Plowmanators said...

jcaitlyn,

It sounds like a growth spurt to me. I would say she either is having a short growth spurt and needs to eat more often or she is ready for solids.

Plowmanators said...

JSM,

That is a dreamfeed. If you think she needs it, keep it. But if she shows signs of being ready to drop it, go for it. She is at an age to drop, but some babies do go a bit longer. I would consider dropping by 8 months if you haven't by then.

Rachel said...

Hi Valerie,
I apologize if this is a double post, I tried submitting this 2 days ago but I don't think it went through?

I'm having trouble with the DF with my 6.5 mth old. Right now he eats dinner at 6:30, bed at 7:30, DF at 9:30, sleeps til 7 am. We initially weaned him down to 3 oz at the DF (from a 6 oz bottle and he STTN) with intention of dropping it, but then decided to just move the bottle to 7:30 pm b/c he cried a lot going down for the night and seemed hungry. The first night he slept til 8 am the next morning - 12.5 hours! However, the following nights he woke up at midnight and I tried CIO but he was so distraught I gave in b/c I was unsure if some babies need help CIO when dropping the DF, or if it was a sign he's not ready? I've since re-instigated the DF while I wait your answer....I'm just curious if it's common for some babies to need help dropping the DF or if I should keep it for another few weeks then try again?

Thanks!
Rachel

Plowmanators said...

Rachel, I would wait and try again later. It has now been about two weeks; I would probably give another two weeks and try again unless he shows total signs of readiness before then.

mrsslack11 said...

I posted yesterday but I am not sure where it is and I can't find it so I thought I would try again. I have a 4 month old and he eats 6 times a day, first feeding at 630 a.m., because I am a working mom. He is eating about 5 oz total between BM and Formula. I put him down at 8 p.m. after his 6:30 feeding of a bottle and cereal(we started solids). I then do the dreamfeed about 930 and I wake him up at 630 a.m. My question is if I am letting him sleep long enough? 10 p.m. to 630 a.m.? i am just not sure if I calculate it from 8 pm or the dreamfeed? The past two nights he cries and won't eat his bottle at the dream feed so i just put him back down and he sleeps all night. Last night I moved it up to 9 pm and I decreased the amount to 3 oz and he ate it without crying and went back to sleep. So does that mean I should be dropping it soon? Last question, will he move to the 3.5 to 4 hour schedule on his own, or do I try and increase his waketime a little longer so his naps are longer? I know you said once they drop the dreamfeed they move to a longer schedule I am just not sure how to do that.

Plowmanators said...

Mrsslack11,

The night sleep is calculated from the dreamfeed until 6:30 AM. It sounds like he might be ready for dropping the dreamfeed.

The 4 hour schedule--he will consistently sleep until his next feeding and you will have to wake him up. See my posts on moving to four hour schedule for more detailed info on it.

Stephanie said...

When is a typical age to start dropping the dreamfeed? This sounds totally selfish, but I have disliked this feeding from the very beginning, and I am practically counting down the days until it is finished. I am SO TIRED at this time of night, and so is my husband, that often times he goes to bed and I'm just sitting up trying to stay awake until the dreamfeed. I have gone to bed and set an alarm, but I found that is not any easier on me; I think I'd rather stay up than just fall into sleep and have to be woken up. My daughter is just about 4 months old and still on a 3 hour schedule during the day, and I am also breastfeeding. Is it too soon to start eliminating the dreamfeed? I should also mention that I feed her about 6-9 minutes less time than during the day and she is also sleeping through the night until my desired waketime, and has been since she was 8 weeks. I know that it is recommended to drop the dreamfeed before moving to a 4-hr schedule, and I was wondering why that was. I have searched and searched for an answer, but can't find one! Thanks!

Plowmanators said...

Stephanie, BW says baby might be ready to drop the dreamfeed between 9-15 weeks old, so if you feel like she is ready, she is definitely older.

I think the reason for dropping the dreamfeed first is so your child can have long, continuous uninterrupted sleep at night.

JulieK said...

My son is 6.5 months old and on a 4 hour schedule (8,12,4,8 and DF) His DF is between 10 and 11 each night. Some nights we have to wake him at 11 and other nights he doesn't make it past 10pm. He goes to bed at 9:15 or 9:30. He never wakes up after his DF but how can we get rid of the DF if he is still waking up for it? SHould we decrease his ounces first and then the time? Any suggestions would be helpful!

tferguson said...

Katelyn is 5.5 months old. We are still on a three hour schedule, and she has been sleeping from 8pm to 8am for the last two weeks with a 10pm dreamfeed. The problem is....she ALWAYS wakes up when we get her out of bed for the dreamfeed, and then it takes her a while to get back to sleep. I don't understand why she is waking! Should we just drop it?

writtenforthenations said...

My daughter is 12 weeks and she was sleeping through the night for a while. When she started waking up at 3am, I would just let her CIO, and she did and then wouldn't wake up again until 6am. Now she's crying more frequently - last night was at 2am, and then at 3am again, so I fed her this time but she went back to sleep after 3oz. She was on a 3hour schedule, and I was dreamfeeding her at 9. I'm going to try 9:30 tonight, but if she wakes up again throughout the night, could it possibly be the dreamfeed that's disrupting her? I'm also not sure about if her nipple is fast enough, so I tried a little bit faster one today, too.

Stewart said...

Need help! Our six month old is on the following schedule 7/11/3/5:30/7:30 and DF at 10:00. He consistently wakes up for the DF and has consistently been waking up at 4AM/5AM/6AM for months. He hasn't fit the BW mold like his older sister (who slept great from 7 weeks on). I have been reluctant to drop the DF since he is not STTN AND he wakes for it. I know he is already moved to a four hour schedule (and you normally drop the DF first) but since he continues to wake for it we have not droped it. When he wakes up early morning times he will usually go back to sleep if we reswaddle and give him is pacifier. Otherwise he just continues to CIO with determination only to go to sleep for a little bit and wake up 20 or 30 min later. NEED help...we are both tired! Thank you!

Plowmanators said...

JulieK,

I would try moving bedtime up earlier. He might be waking because bedtime is late.

Plowmanators said...

tfurgusen, it defintely sounds like the dreamfeed is disrupting her sleep. She likely either needs it dropped or the time changed. At this age, I would say dropped.

Plowmanators said...

writtenforthenations,

that is possible. It might also be a growth spurt. If you don't think she is hungry, you can try dropping the dreamfeed and see how it goes.

Plowmanators said...

Stewarf, assuming he is not hungry, my next guess would be that it is a pacifier issue. I would guess he cannot sleep without it, and since he is swaddled, he can't put it back in his mouth on his own.

So your two options are to 1)drop the pacifier or 2)drop the swaddle so he can get his pacifier on his own.

erink said...

I posted last night about difficulties with bedtime sleeping and concern over having developed a "habit" of dreamfeeding. One addendum...my baby has now awakened for 3 nights in a row between 3 and 5. I waited for awhile to see if she would go back to sleep, but I have ended up feeding her. She eats a full meal and then goes right to sleep. Is this normal for babies who were previously STTN to begin waking up again to feed, or am I somehow developing a bad habit?

erink said...

Somehow my earlier post didn’t post! My 3 1/2 month old has been STTN since 8 weeks. Around that time, she also developed the "witching hour", which would last sometimes until 1am, and she also began wanting to cluster feed. She was often awake already when the time for her dreamfeed rolled around. Her schedule during those evenings was fairly erratic, although I tried my best to keep to it and almost always stayed with the feed/wake/sleep cycle (if she would sleep!). At 3 months, her "witching hour" went down to only a few hours in the evening, and she would stop crying and go right to sleep after the dreamfeed. She is now sleeping an average of 9-10 hours a night, and I've been moving up her dreamfeed-currently we're at around 8:30. I'd like to drop it altogether in a week or so. The problem is that she won't go to sleep at her bedtime (around 7:30-8), only after the dreamfeed. I'm concerned that she's learned to fall asleep for the night only after feeding since she has so often been awake for her dreamfeeds in the last month. She does self-soothe and sleep pretty well for her other naps. I guess it could just be her witching hour winding down too, but I'm not sure how to address this problem. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Melissa said...

A friend told me about your blog a few months ago and it's been such a blessing to me. Thank you so much! My daughter is 5 1/2 months old and has been STTN since she was 7 weeks old. We have been following BW since she was born. She has been on a 4 hour schedule since she was 16 weeks old (6am,10am,2pm,6pm,9pm). I know there a mixed views on if you should drop the dream feeding first or go to a 4 hour schedule first. The 4 hour scheduled seemed to be the best choice for our daughter. Now that she is 5 1/2 months old we have been trying to drop her 9pm feeding. I know it’s important that she get 10-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep at this age. We have tried gradually reducing the amount given at the 9pm feeding (she has gone from 5oz of expressed milk to 2.75 over the course of 2 weeks). My plan was get her down to 2 ounces and then drop the feeding completely. However, the last 2 nights she has woken up in the early morning hours (between 2 and 5am). She is usually only up for a few minutes and then goes back to sleep on her own. I'm guessing she is waking up due to hunger. I was hoping by gradually reducing the amount given at that feeding she would make up the ounces lost during her other feedings ( I nurse during the day and only give her expressed milk for the 9pm feeding). We have also started her on cereal and baby food twice a day (after I nurse her at 10am and 6pm). I usually add 2 ounces of expressed milk (total per day) to her baby food. Another attempt to make up for the reduction in calories from the 9pm feeding. Any advice on what we could be doing differently? Do you think it’s possible she is still not ready to drop that feeding?

I have also noticed this week she is not sleep soundly (waking up off and on)during her naps. She usually takes 2 2hr naps and a cat nap in the late afternoon. I am assuming this is a separate issue probably related to the time change but I thought I would mention in case you thought it was related to the dream fed issue/question.

Plowmanators said...

erink, it isn't really typical to be STTN and then start waking consistently.

I would wonder if she is having a growth spurt and hungry.

For bedtime, if it is really witching hour, there isn't anything you can do about her not going to sleep. But if it isn't witching hour, you will want to work to get her to fall asleep at bedtime.

Plowmanators said...

Melissa, it could be a growth spurt.

But it could also be several other things at that age. It could be teething. It could be the random waking some babies do at certain ages early in the morning. It could be too hot/too cold, noises, etc. I have a post called "5-8 month sleep disruptions" that can give you some ideas on sleep in this age range.

Lacey and Tyler said...

My LO is 7 months and still dreamfeeding around 10:30 p.m. I have to wake him for it. I would drop it, but he's still waking up once at night and crying (he started it about 3 weeks ago), and also wakes up at least 30-60 minutes early in the morning.

Do you think the DF is causing this? Should I wait until this is fixed until I drop it?

Tiffany Doherty said...

My almost 9 wk old daughter has been been on babywise since 3 weeks of age, so far she has progressed beautiful with there methods. She has been at 7 feeding in a 24 hr period and lately she has been so hard lately to wake her up for her late feeding. I read in the book that is a sign that she is ready to drop that feeding. She also has been sleeping consistently 6.5-8 hrs a night. At her age is it to early to drop to 6 feedings and will this hurt my milk supply to do so?

Katherine Hannah said...

Hi there. My son is 8 weeks old (breastfed) and is fed at 615 and put to bed at 7pm (it takes a while for him to settle so he is usually asleep from 715 to 730 pm). My husband wakes him at 10:30pm to feed. Recently (this week) he has stopped eating at 10:30 and will only take .5 oz (he usually takes 3oz to 4oz). He will then wake up once anywhere from 0230 to 0500 for a full feed and back to sleep until 7 or 8 am. Should we drop the 1030 pm feed? Is he ready? Or should we try something different?

Emily Rodriguez said...

Hi! I have a question regarding my 10.5 week old son: we have been doing Babywise since he was 4 weeks old, and it has been going pretty well! His feeding schedule for the last few weeks has been approx. 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7 pm, and a dream feed between 10 & 11pm. We put him to bed at 8pm. He then usually wakes up about 4.30 or 5, and won't be quieted till he's fed. Do you think it's possible that by dream feeding him, we're actually messing with his sleep patterns, and could drop it? He has NEVER slept straight till 7am after the 10/11pm dream feed. Is this still normal for his age, or is it possible for me to expect for him to sleep through?

Rachel Mahl said...

We are trying hard to do a 7-7 schedule for my 6.5 month old. We still do a Df at 10:15 each night... My husband gives a bottle. We would love to eliminate that but my son still wakes ups at 5:30 almost every day. I have been going up and feeding him to get him back to sleep but then he isn't that hungry at 7. We would love to eliminate both. What would you recommend we do?

Nina Vermeulen said...

Hi there! Would love some advice!
Not sure why but with my second child I feel like nothing is working with his feeding schedule. I'm not sure if he is perhaps ready to move to longer time apart? He is nearly 4 mnths old (in 5 days time) and he has almost exclusively fed from only one breast per feeding. I have tried lengthening the time between feeds and feeding shorter on each breast but at the moment he only drinks about 3-5mins and is done for another 2 and half to 3 hours (it is easy to get him to wait 3 hours). He bite me if I try to force him to drink, sometimes I wait up to an hour then try again but he is still not keen - If I feed after one and a half to two hours later then he drinks but that is so not ideal :(
He seems healthy and fine with one side every 3 hrs but I'm concerned that my milk will dry up like this? Also he wakes in the night after a dream feed at about 3 and then again at 5 or 6. I can't let him cry at night because he wakes everyone, when I try give him water he cries a lot! I think he doesn't need to feed in the night but have no idea how to get some sleep and try to push him through to at least 6 from the dream feed. Should I drop the dream feed and try new times in the day? Am I being unrealistic about wanting him to sleep through? Any suggestions would be so much appreciated! I am one tired Mommy!
Nina

Ann Williams said...

I have been doing BW since day 1 with my now 5 week old. I am on a 3 hour schedule during the day. My husband does the dream feed at 11 or 11:15. I have a few questions:
1) Is he doing the dream feed too late?
2) She is waking between 2:30-3 in the morning, then 6:30. How do we drop the middle of the night feeding? She only wakes fussy, not crying.
3) Is it okay for her to eat during one of her feeding times, then go straight back to sleep during the day?
4) She has started to spit up while she is going to sleep. This wakes her back up. I have burped her before I put her down. I come into her room and wipe her off, then I rock her back to sleep. Do you know why this is happening?

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