What is a dream feed and should I do it?

August 01, 2022

Dream feed nursing breastfeeding baby

When you have a newborn it may feel like all you do is feed. Sometimes as soon as you’re finished feeding, you get the baby changed and you’re back at it again. They eat a lot -- day and night. And for some little ones, nighttime feedings could continue for up to a year or more if you’re breastfeeding. 

As your baby grows, they will go longer between feedings. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, newborns eat every 2 to 3 hours (or 8 to 12 times every 24 hours). At about 2 months, that increases to usually 4 to 5 ounces a feeding every 3 to 4 hours. At 4 months, babies usually take 4 to 6 ounces. At 6 months, a baby takes up to 8 ounces every 4 to 5 hours. 

Since we’re exhausted and longing for more sleep, a dream feed could get you a few more hours, and who doesn’t love the sound of that?

What Is A Dream Feed?

A dream feed is when you feed your baby one more time before you go to sleep. You don’t completely wake them up, just wake them enough to eat. Research shows that having that extra feeding between 10:00 p.m. and midnight will reduce the chances your baby wakes up hungry in the middle of the night.

The term “dream feed” was first coined by author and baby expert, Tracy Hogg. She wrote the book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and changed the way parents communicated with their babies. Since she first wrote about it, the method hasn’t changed much. There have also been studies to look at this kind of sleep pattern in infants. While there are studies and books and blogs about the topic, the best way to really know if it works, is to give it a try! 

How To Dream Feed 

You know the old adage, "Never wake a sleeping baby", so let’s stick to that! You won’t need to completely wake your baby for this. The idea is to make sure your baby doesn’t have a hungry belly and gets into a sleep pattern with you. 

Begin by putting your baby to bed as you normally would. Then a few hours later, when you are getting ready to go to bed, take them out of their bassinet or crib. The ideal time for this is during REM sleep. This is when you’ll notice their eyes fluttering or they’re making soft noises. There’s no need to take them out of their swaddle if they're in one. 

Gently place your breast or the bottle near the baby’s lips. You could start with their cheek. Don’t force it, and wait for them to latch. Feed them until they are finished. Try for 5 to 10 minutes on each side, or three ounces if they’re bottle-fed. 

When they’re finished, burp your baby as you normally would and then head to bed. 

How Long Should You Dream Feed? 

There’s no specific age recommendation to stop dream feeding. You’ll have to gauge that based on how your baby is responding. This isn’t meant to be a permanent solution to your baby’s sleep schedule. You may only use it for a few weeks until your baby naturally sleeps for longer stretches. 

If it’s working for you, continue as long as you want. By 4 to 6 months, babies are able to sleep more than 3 to 4 hours at a time without eating. So at that point, you could begin to skip the dream feed to see if your baby will naturally sleep a longer stretch without it. 

Do What’s Best For Your Baby

All babies are different so do what works for you. If you try dream feeding a couple of times and it doesn’t seem to be what your baby needs, it’s okay. Always consult with your pediatrician if you have questions about how much sleep or food your baby is getting. They may not need that feeding and can sleep soundly without it. Or maybe you need to increase how much they’re getting during the day. Having these conversations with your pediatrician will get you on a schedule that works for you. You know your baby better than anyone, so you’ll know what’s best for them!

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Blog

Styling Your Nursing Clothes For 2023
Styling Your Nursing Clothes For 2023

October 26, 2022

The cooler weather is here (well off and on here in Alabama!) which means it's time for another dressing room diaries! 

Continue Reading

how to find the best breast pump
How I Picked The Perfect Breast Pump 2022

July 23, 2022

Pumping is painful, time consuming, frustrating and takes away from things that you’d rather be doing. It’s also emotionally draining. I'd ask myself questions like, "Would I be able to bond with my babies if I were exclusively pumping (the answer is YES by the way!)?" So I did my research and found pumps that worked for me and made the process a bit easier. Hopefully this can help you, too! 

Continue Reading

nursing swimsuit for breastfeeding
Answers To Top 4 Questions For Breastfeeding at the Pool or Beach

June 24, 2022

If you'll be breastfeeding at the beach or pool this summer you may have a few questions. We've got you covered with answers to four common breastfeeding questions in public.

Continue Reading


Nursing Queen Size Chart

All of our designs fit true-to-size with an over-sized/relaxed fit (which compensates for extra weight and a larger chest). Our sizes are similar to maternity-wear: order your pre-baby size. If you're between sizes, size down. Typically, the best way to determine your size is to follow your pre-baby size in numbers on the chart (4/6, 8/10, etc). We realize this isn't a "one-size fits all" solution. If you aren't sure, measure your bust, waist, hips and follow the chart. If you get 3 measurements, pick the middle size. 

Plus Sizes: We follow a standard U.S. plus chart. Our plus sizes range from 1X-3X. NOTE: An XXL (in misses) is a size 1X in plus sizing. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us! help@nursingqueen.com