When to start?
It is never too early at all to start the dreamfeed. What time does your LO get his last feed before bed? The dreamfeed should be given between 10.30-11pm. It sometimes takes a week or so before the dreamfeed kicks inHow to do it?
Giving what Tracey calls a dream feed right before you go to bed. For example, you give her the breast (or a bottle) at six and eight in the evening*, and the dream feed between 10 and 11. With dream feeding, literally nurse or bottle-feed her in her sleep. In other words, you pick your baby up, gently place the bottle or breast on her lower lip, and allow her to eat, taking care not to wake her. When she’s finished, you don’t even burp her; just put her down. Infants are usually so relaxed at these feeds, they don’t gulp air. You don’t talk; you don’t change her unless she’s soaked through or soiled. With both these tanking-up techniques, most babies can sleep through that middle-of-the-night it, teach feed, because they have enough calories to keep them going for are some five or six hours.
It can be hard to get the hang of not waking them, the main thing to remember is to keep everything really low key for the dreamfeed. Low lights, low noise and take everything really slowly. The idea behind it is that the sucking action in babies is a reflex so they will do this even in their sleep if stimulated to suck. Make sure you have everything ready and at hand near your chair before you start (we did dreamfeeds in a chair in the bedroom to avoid too much disruption). When you lift her out of her cot/crib support her neck and then lift her up slowly into your arms in the feeding position without waking her (as much as possible). When you're ready to start the feed stroke the cheek nearest to you - that should stimulate the rooting reflex and make her open her mouth. Pop the bottle in and she should start sucking. If she stops then there are a few things you can try to get her to strike up again - either stroke the palm of her hand, twist the bottle around, or gently shift her position a bit. She shouldn't need winding unless she's a particularly windy baby (they tend to take in much less air because they're so relaxed). If you do think you need to wind her do it in the on the shoulder position and rub rather than pat. Then when you're done lay her down as gently as you can. If she does stir then try shhhhing to ease her off to sleep again.
If he's waking before this feed is due then try giving him the feed before the time he usually wakes without waking him.
if baby wakes when you go to do dreamfeed do not stress about it - most likely she will drift back to sleep during DF and that is fine. If baby won't take the feed, try again in 15-20 min to catch at a different point in her sleep cycle - she may just be in too deep a sleep.
*cluster feedingWhen to do it?
Between 10 and 11pm
As far as the clusterfeed & dreamfeeds go, offer as much as he'll take. There is no "set" amount of how much it should be, it's simply to "tank" him up, simply because you want the majority of his calories during the day and you'll eventually want to cut the dreamfeed out. The amount for a dream feed can vary from the amount they take in the day and can often be hit and miss.
All babies are different, and dependant on your LO’s age, night wakings aren’t uncommon.
How long to implement?
Sometimes it can take up to a week to implement...if you can't get him to take it within 5-10 minutes I would put him back down right away. If you find after about a week of trying, that it's just not working I would then concentrate on the clusterfeeding instead. The dreamfeed sometimes takes a few days to a week to get established, I'd recommend that if its not working, you drop it for a week or 2, and then try it again.
Problems?Won’t take the dreamfeed;-
1. Sometimes it can take up to a week to implement...if you can't get him to take it within 5-10 minutes I would put him back
down right away. If you find after about a week of trying, that it's just not working I would then concentrate on the
clusterfeeding instead. The dreamfeed sometimes takes a few days to get established, I'd recommend that if its not working, you
drop it for a week or 2, and then try it again.
2. If baby won't take the feed, try again in 15-20 min to catch at a different point in her sleep cycle - she may just be in too deep a
3. You have to do what works for you - and some babies just won't take to a DF no matter what you try.Currently doing a dreamfeed and LO has started to wake
Try dropping the dreamfeed
See Noelle's guide to stopping the dreamfeed at the start of the thread