When To Stop the Dream Feed

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.

Mom breastfeeding baby at 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.

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.

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. 

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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.

>>>Read: When and How to Move Baby to 4 Hour Schedule

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.

>>>Read: Dropping the Dream Feed Ultimate Guide

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
8 signs baby is ready to stop the dreamfeed

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

This post originally appeared on this blog September 2018

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16 thoughts on “When To Stop the Dream Feed”

  1. So, last night we pulled our baby from the crib for the dream feed and she just filled her cheeks with milk and then spit it all out. We tried for 30 minutes to feed her and all she did was spit it out. We had her undressed, changed her diaper, etc. She kept falling asleep and kept spitting out milk. She woke up at 4 AM and didn’t seem super hungry. But, she wouldn’t go back to sleep so I nursed her to get to 7 AM (but, she also ate very sleepily and seemed very relaxed about eating. I am not sure if she was very hungry or just needed something to help her sleep again). She was a bit antsy from 4:30 on til 7. Would her not taking milk readily at 11 PM be a sign she’s ready to drop the feeding? She is 11 weeks old.

  2. Hi there, we are wondering if our 6 month old is ready to drop her dream feeds? The last two weeks we have changed her feed cycle to 4 hourly as she was uninterested in her bottle when it was feed time. Then in the last 5 nights she’s resisted the dream feed but maybe taken about 100mls. And now she is waking at 4/5am 🤦🏼‍♀️🤷🏼‍♀️ Whereas she used to wake at 6:30am. Is this all linked? I feel so anxious as I’m about to start work soon!!

    • You can always try dropping it and see how it goes. If she sleeps through the night, great! If not, add the dreamfeed back in but try it at different times. Sometimes even just 5 minutes can make the difference.

  3. My baby is 5 months old and with a very little sleeping training ans adjustment in her hours she was only waking up once! Then she got sick and started to wake up more but now she is not longer sick and she is waking out more than normal even with dream feed .. do you think it is time to drop it?

    • You can always try to drop it and see what happens. If it doesn’t help things, you can add it back. If it helps, then you keep it dropped.

      It can take babies some time to adjust after being sick, so be super consistent in the rest of your day. Good luck!

  4. My baby is 8 weeks and we have moved to a 4 hour schedule because he wasnt get full feedings before. He just wasnt hungry enough. When I try to dream feed he is uninterested. I have tried everything to get him awake enough and it doesnt happen. You said not to do a four hour schedule and drop the dream feed. why?

    • I am not sure I understand your question correctly, so sorry if this isn’t what you were asking. Ideally, you drop the dream feed OR move to a 4 hour schedule–not both at the same time. The reason is you are then dropping two feedings at once. You want to drop just one feeding at a time so you can make sure baby is getting enough food in the day. If you don’t have the dreamfeed in the first place, then you don’t drop the dreamfeed.

  5. Hello my baby starts getting bowel movement at around 2:30 – 3:00am since I start doing dream feed. It makes him wake up. Should I stop dream feeding him?
    Thank you

  6. My baby has been able to sleep through the night and has 5 feedings a day (every 4 hours plus 1 dreamfeed at around 11pm). If I drop the dreamfeed and stick to the 4-hours schedule, it means she would be drinking less. Is that ok?

  7. Hi! My 4 month old is sleeping from 7pm -7am with just a dreamfeed at 10pm and no other wakings. She’s been doing this about a month but the last couple weeks she will no longer eat more than 2oz when she wakes up at 7am. Do you think I should drop the dreamfeed? Should I drop cold turkey or phase out?

    • It sounds like she might be ready to drop it! You can do it either way. Whichever works best to you and you feel most comfortable with. You can always try it and see what happens. If it doesn’t work, add it back. If it does, then you are done! But I am more of a slow phase person myself.

  8. I’m trying to figure out what I need to change but it’s also hard because we hit the 4 month regression, then we got sick and now are about to go on vacation. My 5 month old wakes up around dream feed time every night, and has for a good 6 weeks. So I’m not sure how to drop it when it is time, and I don’t know how to know it is time because part of me wonders if he’s waking because he is hungry. I’m trying to be a little more gentle and flexible with this baby and I really don’t want to leave him to CIO if I don’t have to. My second problem is that he then almost always wakes up around 5 am with a poopy diaper. Sometimes he is sad about it, other times I don’t even realize because he didn’t make a peep, but I worry if I eliminate the dreamfeed that will just move up his poop to the middle of the night? We just dropped the fourth nap and he’s exclusively breastfed.


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