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. ⠀⠀