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The Benefits and Drawbacks of Doing a Dreamfeed

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Doing a Dreamfeed. This post discusses the good things about doing a dreamfeed for longer night sleep from baby as well as the drawbacks of doing a dreamfeed.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Doing a Dreamfeed. This post discusses the good things about doing a dreamfeed for longer night sleep from baby as well as the drawbacks of doing a dreamfeed.

The Dreamfeed is a powerful tool to help your baby sleep a longer stretch through your night sleep. This allows baby to get the feedings she needs while allowing you the longest stretch of uninterrupted sleep possible. 

Sleep has many powerful, known benefits. Sleep helps you heal (a benefit after delivering a baby) and helps you think through things better (a benefit for a mother caring for children). Helping your baby sleep well through the night helps your baby, but it also helps you as the mother, which in turn, helps your baby. 

The Dreamfeed can be a handy tool. Sometimes it works beautifully and sometimes it is a big flop. Here are some tips, comments, and advice from Babywise moms on the topic of the Dreamfeed. In making these comments, moms were pondering if they would use the dreamfeed for their next child. 

You will notice not every mom loved the Dreamfeed. For some, it worked great for one child and not well for a different child. Some fully disliked it. Most, however, really loved the Dreamfeed and found great benefit from using it. Read more about the Dreamfeed here. 

Praise for the Dreamfeed

Mandy said: I love the dreamfeed, in fact I always drop it later than I could partly because I just want to be sure they'll sleep long enough, partly because of my milk supply but mostly because I reach the point where I'm not ready to give up that time where I get to sit and hold them while they sleep, more so with each baby I think and as they get older, they don't want to sit still and cuddle :)

Brooke said: We did it and loved it! We EBF but every night at 10 I would pump for the next night and my husband would feed the milk from the night before. We will do it again just because he loved the snuggle time with our first! It was sweet bonding for him. 
She dropped it around 6 months with no problem at all.

Christina said: No dream feed needed with my first; she just naturally started to STTN between 3-4 weeks (8 hours) and then that lengthened to 11 hours by 6 weeks old. With my second child, he was eating 2x a night by 3-4 weeks old, so I waited until he dropped one of the feedings, and that was when I started the dream fed. It worked REALLY well! If I did not give him the dream feed, he would wake up around 3-4 AM, so I found it better to give him the feeding before I went to bed (between 10-11 PM) and everyone got a nice night of sleep. I never intentionally woke him for the dream feed. :) We started it at 7 weeks old and he no longer needed it by 11 weeks.

Alyson said: This worked for us too, but it was so scary to try!! We were worried that we’d wake her up and she would stay awake. I️ think we eventually tried it at 12 weeks. My daughter was naturally waking at midnight, so we went for a 10pm feed. It worked wonders. We bottle fed during that time so I’d go to bed at 8pm, my husband would feed at 10pm, and my daughter would wake around 3 for another feeding. It was a dream to sleep 8p-3a!!! I️ think for those who are scared, pick a night where you and your partner will both be home the next day just in case it backfires and you end up all night!!! Then you can tag team your partner and get a nap in the next day.

Dianna said: Life saver, I always do it right before I go to bed, so I can get a good long stretch. Also as they get older and nurse less I struggle to keep my supply up so this gives me another chance to nurse for supply, I even dream feed at 5am if I am planning to go workout and don't want her to wake while I am gone.

Rebecca said: I thought it worked great. I didn’t do it regularly, just on nights when I felt like she was needing it more, due to a growth spurt, or not doing her last feed well, etc.... the only thing I didn’t like, was having to do one more thing before I went to bed.

Erin said: So far, I love the dream feed. I don't think I would survive without it. Getting her started was a little tricky since we breastfeed but it was well worth the effort. I will definitely try this technique with our second.

Ashley said: It worked for both of my babies! My first needed/wanted it until about 6 months. It was the only way my second would sleep through the night from 6-9 months. It helped me get uninterrupted sleep which was so important!

Whitney said: I didn’t know about it with my first baby but it was a game changer with my second! She slept through the night quicker & got on a schedule so much easier! I tell everyone about it!

Carrie said: It worked great for us. We did it just like the book suggested and merged it the way it said also. My boys started waking for it around 12 weeks so we started the merge then. Slept 12 hours at 13 weeks.

Anna said: It worked for us! He would go down about 8 and would dreamfeed before I went to sleep. It was the last step before he started sleeping through the night.

Lara said: Love the dream feed for the sleep benefits, happy to see it go so I can go to bed earlier or stay out later on the (occasional!) night out🙂

Leah said: Love the dreamfeed! I’ve done it with all 3 of my babes. Mine always needed that extra caloric intake so I didn’t mind😊

Hannah said: Worked great with my daughter and helped me not feel like it was another middle of the feed. Totally trying it again with baby number two.

Rachel said: We did the dream feed with both of our boys, and it was our saving grace! And my husband gave a bottle for the dream feed, so it gave him some bonding time with the boys.

Kaylin said: Did dream feeding with my first. I have nothing to compare it to first hand, but will definitely do it with future kiddos.

Michelle said: Loved it....allowed me to sleep a little longer on my schedule. Then I wasn’t going to sleep at 8 or waking up several times a night.

Katie said: We loved the dreamfeed with our first baby. My husband always did this feed (he likes to stay up late) and he always felt it was good bonding with the baby. We would always do a nappy change after and straight back to sleep. With our 2nd baby it didn't work so well. He just wasn't interested in a dreamfeed. X

Karen said: Did it with all 3 of my girls at 11 pm 
It worked perfect for us

 Lauren said: Love it. Currently trying to decide when to drop it. Baby is now 17 weeks

 Amanda said: love it! I've done it 3 times and plan on it again with #4.

Katy said: Used with all 3 my girls. It seemed to serve a good purpose and I enjoyed the quiet time together.

Amy said: Loved the dream feed!!

Anita said: Loved it. Used it with both my girls.

Autumn said: Yes! Loved it!

If you need help getting your baby to sleep through the night, see What to Do When Your Baby Is Not Sleeping Through the Night.

Neutral Feelings for the Dreamfeed

Amy said:The dream feed worked for us in that my son slept longer stretches at night, however he had reflux so sometimes it caused him to become uncomfortable and wake up more. I stuck with it for about 6 weeks but if any future kids have reflux I probably will skip it and just do the whole 2 AM feeding thing.

Jess said: I didn't really do a dream feed with my first as I didn't really understand the concept with my first and with my second it seemed to make her night sleep worse! She did ok when it was a true "wake up and feed" but when she got a little older and moved to a true dream feed, it disrupted her long stretch. I feel like maybe she's just weird though and I will absolutely try it with any future children.

Sariah said: Didn't even know about it with my first baby - but he wasn't on a proper schedule until about 9 months (longest 9 months of MY LIFE!) Second baby it worked like a dream and she dropped it at 6 months and kept sleeping through the night. I now have a baby approaching 9 months and we just can't seem to drop it. He hasn't naturally reduced his intake and every time we try to reduce it we start getting night wakes. I am so over it!

Sally said: Mostly love dreamfeed - hooray for long stretch of sleep. And it’s so lovely having sleepy baby cuddles. But it’s nice to drop it too. Middle child had problems dropping it - he would still wake them but he also had other issues (allergies & viral induced wheeze) which probably contributed to that.

Traci said: My 8 week old has to be fully awake or she won't even consider eating. She's also sleeping 7-10 hours at night....so I guess I can't complain!

Tiffany said: It varied per kid. It worked really well with a couple of my kids, but I had a daughter who it created nighttime problems with.

Michelle said: Skipped dream feed with both mine because I desperately wanted that extra sleep. Thankfully didn't/don't have any issues with my supply🤞

Elisha said: My son it was perfect my daughter it backfired on me!

Dreamfeed Dissensions 

Dana said: I did the dreamfeed with my first three and it worked great. With this one, if I wake her for a dreamfeed, she will wake up again around 1, then 5 :(😩 so when I put her down after her 7pm feed, I go to bed too. She wakes around 3 to eat, then sleeps until 7. Works much better for this one.

Sarah said: If didn’t work with either of my two children. I tried for several weeks with my first and one night I forgot to set my alarm. I woke up when the baby monitor went off at 3am! It was the longest stretch that my son had ever slept. So from then on we just went to bed early and waited until he woke us. I tried again with my daughter but after two weeks with no improvement I quit. They both quit eating entirely and doing the full 12 hours by 5 months. I nursed both babies and started pumping before bed for comfort as well as to main milk supply.

Julie said: I tried it a few times with my son but he never went any longer after it, so I gave up. His first stretch of nighttime sleep was always the longest so interfering with that didn’t benefit anything.

Megan said: Didn’t work with either or my two. I tried it with both, but caused them to wake earlier and more frequently in the night so dropped it and when we did they slept longer stretches.

Sarah said: Never did a dream feed with any of my three babies. Always tried to keep “begin as you mean to go” in mind. Babies were healthy and big (7lbs, 9lbs, and 7.5lbs at birth), STTN 8 hours at 6-8 weeks, and 10-11 hours at 9-12 weeks. I am not a night person and can’t stay up super late, but I am able to wake a little earlier than our “start time” and pump to help maintain supply. My husband and I decided early on that once baby goes to sleep for the night, we don’t want to wake him or her - we let them rest and wake naturally for any MOTN feedings. We wouldn’t want to be woken up ourselves once we’re in a nice and peaceful deep sleep.

Kaylie said: It backfired for us every time I tried it. She was always up between 12-2 when I did it and would sleep until 5 when I didn’t 🤷🏽♀️ So hard to say!

Lauren said: I hated it! I would try so hard to wake my son up to eat but he mostly slept through it. Once I gave it up it was so much better to just let him sleep!

Melinda said: I never did a dream feed and my kiddos did awesome without it and momma went to sleep around 9 pm too!

Misty said: Didn't work for me. Little one would not wake up to eat. But otherwise we love the babywise schedule.

Stephanie said: I tried with mine and he wouldn’t wake up enough to do it even to this day he sleeps like a log

Jessica said: Most of my kids would not open their mouth!

Jenna said: Never worked for my LO. She always woke up, so we never did it.

Conclusion

The Dreamfeed, or late evening feeding, does not always work perfectly. For some babies or some moms, it just doesn't make sense. For most, however, it helps everyone get better sleep at night. My recommendation is to give it a try and see if it helps sleep for you and your baby. If not, move on. If so, happy sleeping. Read more about the dreamfeed in Secrets of the Baby Whisperer (affiliate link).

Related Dreamfeed Posts 

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