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When To Stop the Dreamfeed. 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 Dreamfeed can be a scary prospect. 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 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. 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. 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. 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.
Signs Baby is Ready to Stop the Dreamfeed
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.
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. 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; 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. 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. 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. Read more about moving to a four hour schedule here.
Give it a Try
If you think baby is ready to drop the Dreamfeed, give it a try! The worst that will happen is baby will wake in the night. If you try it and baby was not quite ready, simply start it 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.
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