The Benefits and Drawbacks of Doing a Dreamfeed

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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.

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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 


valplowman

Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at Babywise.life, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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