How To Dream Feed Babies: Help Your Baby Sleep Longer

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Do you want to know how to dream feed babies?

If you are new to the term and wondering what is dream feeding, I’m happy to discuss it in this article.

To start off, dropping the dream feed is what it sounds like.

Dream feeding is providing nourishment to your baby while she’s asleep.

It’s a great solution when your baby frequently wakes up hungry at night.

When her daytime milk isn’t enough, it pays to boost her evening calories. This is where dream feeding helps.

Think of it as filling the gas tank of your car to the brim before going on a long road trip. That way, there’s no need to worry about not reaching the next stop to refuel.

With dream feeding, your baby won’t have a rumbling tummy at night that causes her to wake up. As a result, this method helps your baby get more sleep.

How to dream feed babies

With dream feeding, you don’t have to fully wake up your baby. A little rousing will do to feed her one more time for the day before turning her in for the night.

Wondering when to start dream feeding baby?

Several studies show the best time to sneak in one more feeding is between 10 in the evening and midnight. To dream feed babies during this two-hour period can effectively reduce the nocturnal wakings for your baby due to a rumbling tummy.

With a full tummy, she won’t wake up hungry at night, helping her get extended stretches of sleep.

Would you like to try it with your little one?

Here’s how to dream feed babies:

Without waking her up, gently take your baby out of her bed, crib, or bassinet. You can do this around 10 or 11 p.m.

Now position her milk bottle (or your breast if you’re breastfeeding her) along her lower lip. Without being fully awake, she should begin feeding.

(Check out these breastfeeding essentials.)

When nursing your little one, do it on her side for five to 10 minutes. Then position her on her other side for another 5 to 10 minutes of feeding.

If she’s having a hard time during feeding, you may have to rouse her a little bit more. That way, she won’t be into deep sleep during the feeding process.

To rouse her, you can try these quick tips:

  • Change her diaper
  • You can also try applying a wet washcloth on her head 
  • Rub her back
  • Tickle her feet 

Here’s how to get your little one back to sleep.

What if your baby was fully awakened during the dream feed?

Wondering how to get her back to sleep?

Just follow the five Ss—swaddle, side or stomach, shush, swing, and sucking.

The first S is swaddling.

Swaddle her while playing white rumbly noise in the background.

You may turn up the volume a bit when you’ve put your baby back down her bed, crib, or bassinet. Let the white noise cocoon her as she’s sleeping.

On top of the background sound, providing rhythmic motion can also make your baby sleepy. The steady metrical movement adds to the soothing effect of the music and contributes to your little one’s better sleep.

Need to put in some exercise time for yourself?

Walk around the house with your baby wrapped in your arms. You get those tight and toned arms even without lifting any gym weights.

Other time-tested rhythmic swaddling techniques include carrying her in your arms while sitting on an exercise ball. That can really activate your core and tone your tummy.

You can also use a rocking chair.

Or check out these three portable bassinets on Amazon. They soothe babies back to sleep fast.

Ingenuity Foldaway Rocking Bassinet Classic

Ingenuity Foldaway Rocking Bassinet Classic - Crosby - Portable Folding Rocking Bassinet
  • More peace and quiet from naptime to nighttime
  • Portable design folds for easy transport and storage
  • Spacious cradle for more comfortable sleep environment
  • Mattress size is 17.5" x 33.5"
  • Works just as well during travel as home

For a more peaceful and quiet sleep time for your baby, check out Ingenuity Foldaway Rocking Bassinet Classic.

It has a portable and foldable design. You can conveniently transport anywhere. Works well at home and during travel as well. It’s lightweight and easy to store too.

The Ingenuity Foldaway Rocking Bassinet Classic also features a spacious cradle. Your baby won’t feel cramped up, allowing for a more comfortable sleep.

With its rock and lock features, you can gently rock your baby to sleep or you can lock the bassinet into a stationary position.

MiClassic 2-in-1 Stationary & Rock Mode Bassinet

2in1 Stationary&Rock Mode Bassinet One-Second Fold Travel Crib Portable Newborn Baby,Gray
  • Bassinet can be STATIONARY! Rock modeis only used to soothe baby.
  • One-second open&fold system makes bassinet easy to transport or store. Please have a "QUICK PULL UP" to fold it!
  • Surrounded by breathable mesh and easy for parents to communicate with your baby.
  • Folds compactly into included carry bag.

Check the lightweight and portable bassinet from MiClassic.

Introducing the MiClassic 2-in-1 Stationary & Rock Mode Bassinet.

You can open and fold it up fast and easy. Transporting and storing it also effortless. It’s a very convenient bassinet that you can use at home or while travelling.

MiClassic 2-in-1 Stationary & Rock Mode Bassinet features a “quick pull up” feature for a one-second open-and-fold system.

You can use it in two ways. There’s the rocking mode, soothing your baby to sleep in a rhythmic fashion. Or you can set it in stationary mode for when she’s asleep already.

The material used in this bassinet is breathable mesh. It offers great air flow.

MiClassic 2-in-1 Stationary & Rock Mode Bassinet includes a carry bag, which you can use to fit the product compactly inside.

Delta Children Sweet Beginnings Bassinet

Delta Children Deluxe Sweet Beginnings Bedside Bassinet - Portable Crib with Lights and Sounds, Falling Leaves
  • Lights and sounds: Features a calming nightlight and soothing music. Baby bassinet requires 4 AA batteries (not included)
  • Perfect for naps or bedtime: Adjustable, removable canopy helps block light to create a serene sleep environment
  • Easy to use: Large storage basket provides ample storage for all things baby | Locking wheels for easy room-to-room mobility | Includes mattress pad and fitted sheet
  • Size: 21 L x 35.5 D x 45.5 H inches
  • We put your baby's safety first: JPMA certified to meet or exceed all safety standards set by the CPSC and ASTM

Looking for portable bassinet that features a calming night light and soothing music?

Check out Delta Children Sweet Beginnings Bassinet.

It has a lightweight and adjustable frame with locking casters. You can conveniently move it from one room to the next.

This gorgeous bassinet also has a removable canopy and an interior that features elegant fabric and neutral-colored patterns.

Delta Children Sweet Beginnings Bassinet includes music module that contains pre-loaded lullabies. Along with its beautiful canopy, it create a serene and comfortable sleep environment for your baby.

This product also comes with a two-section compartment under the bassinet, providing ample storage space for your baby’s essentials.

The second S is positioning your baby on her side or stomach.

Did you know putting your baby on her back is the safest position for sleeping? Babies should always be laid down to sleep on their back.

However, it can also be the worst position when you need to soothe her fussiness.

This is why this S can either be side or stomach. But it can also be over your shoulder.

See your little one mellow in no time when you put her over your shoulder or position her on her stomach or side.

Once she is calm lay her down on her back in her crib.

The third S is shushing.

Would you believe me when I say babies don’t actually need complete silence to sleep?

Yes, you read that right. A little white noise helps her get a good night’s sleep.

It is in the womb that babies get accustomed to the white noise produced by blood flow. The sound of the shush is louder than your typical vacuum cleaner.

But not all white noise can make babies fall to sleep.

The best white noise for babies is one that mimics the rumbling sound quality that can be heard inside the womb.

The fourth S is swinging.

Your little one’s life in the womb can be best described as jiggly and bouncy. Imagine her bopping around in your tummy as you head down the stairs.

So she’s used to a lot of movement.

Gentle and slow rocking is perfect for keeping your baby at ease and minimizing her fussiness. If you need to calm her down to get her back to sleep, tiny and rhythmic movements can greatly help.

When swinging your baby, always provide support to her head and neck. You don’t want to strain the muscles around that area.

Maintain small and gentle motions at about an inch or so of back and forth movement.

And always remember, no shaking. You’ll cause great damage when you do that.

The fifth and last S is sucking.

Here’s the icing on the cake. Get your baby into deep tranquility mode with a pacifier.

Coupled with the four other Ss, no fussy baby can withstand the soothing and calming effect of these techniques.

Mastering these five Ss takes a lot of practice.

Want to do it right?

Practice makes perfect.

Think of these five S techniques like the knee reflex. If you hit even an inch high or low, you won’t get the reaction. But if you hit it on the exact spot, presto!

Why should you dream feed your baby?

The idea of dream feeding your baby is actually a great one.

With her tummy full, she won’t be awake and crying at 2 in the morning. This means a full sleep for her (or at least a longer stretch). Of course, that’s also extended ZZZs for you.

More sleep for both baby and mom, everybody’s a winner.

What’s the ideal age to start dream feeding?

According to research, dream feeding between the hours of 10 p.m. and 12 midnight can minimize wakings among three-month-old kids.

With this schedule, wondering what’s the best strategy on how to dream feed babies?

At three or four months old, babies tend to eat around eight to 12 times within a typical 24-hour period.

While some babies are capable of going through seven or eight hours straight without feeding, many still wake up at night multiple times. 

Unless you’ve managed to wean your baby on the nighttime feedings, she’ll probably wake up in the middle of the night for some milk.

How do you dream feed a baby?

Let’s say your baby’s last feed is usually around 7 or 8 in the evening. Add seven or eight hours and you get 2 or 3 in the morning, which is their waking time.

Without a dream feeding, here’s what you and your baby’s schedule would probably look like.

Non-Dream Feeding Schedule

At 6 p.m., you get her ready for bed. But before you settle her down for the night, you give her the last feeding for the day at 7 o’clock.

Around 7:30 p.m., she goes to sleep. Now you and your partner will probably finish the other chores before hitting the bed.

As the dust settles, you now go to sleep at 11 in the evening.

But you wake up at around 2 in the morning because she is crying. It’s time for another feeding.

She finishes her feeding and gets back to sleep at around 2:30 a.m. You go back to sleep as well.

By 5:30 a.m., your baby will wake up for another feed. You pick her up for the feeding, and she’ll probably get back to sleep after an hour or so.

As much as you’d like to go back to bed, it’s already the start of your day.

On the other hand, here’s the schedule if you dream feed your baby at 11 p.m.

Dream Feeding Sleep Schedule

Following the same start, you prepare your baby for bed at 6 p.m. Then you give her milk an hour later.

By 7:30 p.m., she’s in her crib or bassinet.

At around 10:30 p.m., it’s time to insert the dream feeding. Then you go to sleep, which is at about 11 p.m.

Now, some babies wake up at three or four in the morning out of habit (which is usually due to being fed at around that time). But if you dream feed your little one between 10 p.m. and 12 midnight, you can push her waking time to another hour or two.

To get to your desired wake up time for your baby, you can push for another feed.

Should you give your baby a second dream feed?

Does your baby frequently wake up at around 3 or 4 in the morning?

You might want to give her a second dream feed to provide for the nourishment she needs.

Your goal for the second dream feed is to provide for her nutritional needs. So you might want to be careful of not adjusting her sleep schedule.

During the second dream feed, no cuddling and no talking. You don’t want to give her the idea that it’s time to play.

Once you’re done with the second dream feed, it’s sleep time again for your baby.

Do you have tips on how to dream feed babies?

Feel free to share it with us.

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