Breastfeeding is a nonstop journey of learning and discovery. First-time moms like me find joy in learning more about it not only with my own reading, but more importantly, through the help and generosity of other moms!
Just recently, I shared with a friend how my baby would wake up more frequently in between our usual every-two-hour feeding. Sometimes, she’d wake up to feed twice in one hour. Hence, my already disrupted sleep nightly becomes all the more disrupted. As soon as I finished telling my story, my friend intuitively replied, “Have you ever heard of dream feeding?”
It was the first time I ever heard of it, and as I read about it, I discovered that it could be the one to put an end to this sleep-deprived mom’s dilemma. It could be the help you’re looking for as well! Here’s what I found so far:
Unlike regular breastfeeding, dream feeding is feeding a sleeping (or half-asleep) infant ahead of time so the hunger cues will be lessened during the night. This way, both their periods of sleep will be extended. Also, moms should take note to do this with a cradled baby or in a semi-upright position. Having the baby flat on his or her back might cause choking.
It turns out that dream feeding does not only mean waking up your baby in the middle of the night. It also means lightly waking the baby up for one more feed before you hit the sack. A fuller baby will definitely buy you more time to sleep.
Ask moms who have done it, and they will tell you how it did wonders for their and their baby’s sleep. My friend said she tried dream feeding when she and her 5-month-old baby were already co-sleeping. “Since I already know her sleeping pattern, I offered my breast to her even before she woke up. This made her sleep longer!”
Search it up and read, and you’ll find that there is a science behind dream feeding, and research done to prove its effectiveness. You may look up Tracy Hogg, the person who coined the term, and her studies with If you’re curious how this one will pan out for you, you can always try!
However, just like anything else in motherhood and parenting, a strategy that works for one might not work well for the other. Because the baby will be woken up at a time when he is still supposed to be sleeping, the dream feed might just disrupt the sleep pattern the baby has for the night. It is possible that it may cause more problems for the parent.
At around six months of age, babies will develop more stable sleeping patterns. They may wake up less frequently late nights or early mornings, or according to other cues such as light and noise. With all these, there will be no need to feed the baby extra to make him or her sleep longer than usual.