When To Stop the Dream feed. What to look for to know when to stop the dreamfeed for your baby and get baby sleeping a solid 10-12 hours a night.
Dropping the Dream Feed can be a scary prospect.
Dream feeding your baby up to this point has allowed for a long stretch of sleep at night.
Dropping it might mean that baby stops sleeping as well at night.
It can also be a sad milestone because that quiet time spent with just you and your baby is coming to an end.
Despite the fear and sadness, there is great benefit to stopping the dreamfeed.
Baby will sleep through the night, which means you can go to bed any time you like without disruption. Dream feeding meant you had to stay up to feed baby. Now you can go to bed when baby goes to bed if you want to! That can mean more hours at night for you of sleep.
It also allows you to hire a babysitter and go out on a date without worrying about getting back in time to feed the baby.
Even if you don’t go out, there will be extra time you can spend with your spouse.
There are things to look forward to!
So when should you stop the Dreamfeed?
The Best Age to Stop the Dreamfeed
There is a wide age range of what is the “best” age to drop the Dreamfeed.
The range is 3-7 months old.
Most babies are probably more 4-5 months old when they are ready to drop the dreamfeed.
Age is only one factor in a long list of factors of when to drop.
Once your baby hits three months old, be on the lookout for other signs of readiness.
What Is a Dream Feed
Before we go too far into how to stop dream feeding your baby, I want to be clear on what it even is.
This is a feeding that happens typically between 10-11 PM. You get baby up and feed one last time before you go to bed for the night.
The idea is that baby will wake up less for night feedings or at least go longer before waking in the night for another feeding.
>>>Read: The Basics of a Dreamfeed
Signs Baby is Ready to Stop the Dreamfeed
Once your baby is in the correct age range to stop dream feeding, watch for these readiness signs.
Baby is Sleeping from Dreamfeed to Morning Wakeup Time
In most cases, you will want to keep the Dreamfeed until your baby is consistently sleeping from the Dreamfeed until your morning wake up time.
Once your baby starts sleeping solidly through the night, give it two weeks and then try to drop the Dreamfeed.
If your baby still wakes up for night feedings, she probably isn’t ready to drop the dreamfeed yet.
Baby Stops Sleeping Well at Night
Another sign baby is ready to stop the Dreamfeed is if baby suddenly stops sleeping as well through the night.
Your baby suddenly starts to have night wakings when he previously was sleeping through the night.
This is a hard sign to go by. There are many, varied reasons a baby wakes in the night.
One of those reasons can be that the Dreamfeed is actually interfering with baby’s natural sleep cycle and causing baby to wake up early.
This was the case with my fourth child, and only happened in one out of my four children.
If your child’s sleep is regressing, consider the Dreamfeed as the cause; however, before you drop the Dreamfeed, read my post on Nighttime Sleep Issues so you can rule out other possible problems before stopping the Dreamfeed.
To learn more about sleep patterns, read circadian rhythm and how it impacts sleep patterns.
Baby Needs a Change to the Schedule
Another sign to watch for is just knowing baby is ready for some sort of change to the schedule.
Most babies get to the point where either dream feeding needs to stop OR a 4 hour schedule needs to start.
Some babies will do better with moving to a four-hour schedule before stopping the Dreamfeed.
Others will do better with stopping the Dreamfeed before moving to a four hour schedule.
You do not want to do both at the same time.
If your baby is showing signs of being ready to move to a four-hour schedule, decide if you would rather do that or drop the Dreamfeed first.
Two of my children went to a four hour schedule first and two stopped the Dreamfeed first.
I like both ways and there isn’t an overarching right or wrong on this.
Many times, there is not a long period of time between both schedule changes. It can be as short as two weeks between each event happening.
As a review, here are your signs to watch for:
- Baby is at least 3 months old
- Baby is sleeping from the dreamfeed to morning wake up time
- Baby was sleeping through the night but has stopped
- Baby needs something changed in the schedule
Give it a Try
If you think your baby is ready to drop the Dreamfeed, give it a try!
The worst that will happen if baby is not ready is baby will wake in the night.
If you try it and the baby was not quite ready, simply start dream feeding back up again!
Once you stop the Dreamfeed, it does not mean it is dropped forever no matter if it was a good idea or not.
Do not be afraid to experiment and see what happens.
Related Dreamfeed Posts
- Dropping the Dream Feed Ultimate Guide
- Dreamfeed Frequently Asked Questions
- The Basics of a Dreamfeed
- The Benefits and Drawbacks of Doing a Dreamfeed
- Dream Feed and Babywise
This post originally appeared on this blog September 2018