What’s a Dream Feed?

Mar 11, 2021 | Key Sleep Tips, Sleep Coaching

There are loads of different recommendations about the effectiveness of a dream feed. First, let’s define it:

A dream feed is something some parents offer during the night, and involves going to your infant while they are still asleep and offering a feed while they remain sleeping. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Here’s why I don’t generally recommend a dream feed:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
ONE – You never know when to stop doing it!

A true “dream feed” means baby is not actually waking for it, so how do you know when to stop offering it? It makes it very difficult to know when baby is ready to sleep through the night without a feed if we are not waiting for them to wake and ask for it but, rather offering it before they even have the chance to sleep through the night without it⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
TWO – It can throw off daytime nutrition.

If baby IS ready to go the night without a feed but we are still offering one as a dream feed, it can often mean that baby is not ready for a big, proper, efficient feed when they wake up in the morning (they are still full from their big late-night meal!) and this can throw off the whole day’s nutrition. Our goal is to promote both great sleep and also big, proper daytime feeds⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Again, there are certainly some cases where a dream feed may be what works best for a family because every child and every family is different. (E.g. a baby has started sleeping through the night on their own but your doc actually says more calories are needed and we’ve already maxed out daytime nutrition!). However, in general, my advice is to let baby tell you when they need a feed, but not to feed them in their sleep without them actually asking for it. ⠀⠀

Erin Junker is a Professional Infant & Toddler Sleep Consultant, and owner of The Happy Sleep Company, working closely with tired parents to help them help their little ones get the healthy, restful sleep they need. Follow The Happy Sleep Company on Instagram and Facebook – let’s get your family the healthy, happy sleep you deserve!

Disclaimer: I only provide reviews and recommendations for products when I feel they are of great quality. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I am a member of several affiliate marketing programs and, as such, I do receive a commission for purchases made through some product links on this website.

The advice provided by The Happy Sleep Company is not a substitute for medical advice. The advice on this website is provided solely for informational purposes in connection with common early childhood sleep issues that are wholly unrelated to medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your doctor or another qualified health practitioner with questions regarding medical conditions or the health or welfare of your child. 

Read On…

From swaddle to sleep bag – when and how

From swaddle to sleep bag – when and how

Swaddling can be very helpful for newborns to help calm their Moro reflex (often referred to as the “startle reflex” - you know, the one that causes your baby to hit himself in the face and wake up very annoyed? Yeah, that one.). Swaddling is not a sleep prop, but...