April 08, 2023

Dream Feeding

Dream Feeding

For some the concept of a dream feed can be quiet scary - the possibility of waking up your baby? But why? Well, let's break it down to see if a dream feed is the right fit for your family.

Here a little piece of insider information - I have never used a dream feed with a client unless there was a weight gain issue! 


A dream feed is a feed that you offer your baby while they are still asleep. It typically happens 2-3 hours after they go to bed and is designed to align to the time you go to bed yourself.


There are two major reasons parents consider a dream feed. 

1. A dream feed is designed to stretch out your baby's sleep to ensure that the primary care giver also gets some shut eye. For example, if your baby normally sleeps 4-5hr stretches between feeds and their last feed was at 7.00pm, you could naturally assume they may wake at 11.00pm for their next feed. However If you offer a dream feed at your bed time of 10.00pm you may not need to wake for another feed until closer to 2.00am! o0o0o those beautiful zzzzz's.

2. For some baby's, a dream feed is utilised if they are struggling with weight gain issues. To ensure that they have adequate feeds during the day therefore some IBCLC's, GPs or Paediatricians may request you to add a dream feed into your feeding schedule.


It's really not that scary! As you are preparing to go to bed, you can turn on a very dim light if needed, pick your baby up and simply offer them the feed. 

Your baby may partially rouse, this happens but they should be relatively easy to pop back down into their cot if the dream feed works for them.


Great question! For some babies a dream feed can in fact disrupt their sleep. If this is your baby what can happen is that you offer a dream feed around 10.00pm but they wake within 1-2hrs. If this is the case, I would recommend to stop offering the dream feed and let your baby naturally wake for feeds to see if you have a difference in your waking. 

Another scenario is that your baby may be very restless after the dream feed or have difficulty falling asleep which requires much more resettling then before. 

Thirdly, a dream feed makes absolutely no difference to the timing of your baby's feed. If your baby feeds at their usual 7.00pm, you offer the dream feed at 10.00pm and then they wake for another feed shortly thereafter.


I find that they are not suitable for all babies, if you are struggling with your little ones weight your paediatrician, IBCLC or GP may ask you to feed your baby more often rather than trying to encourage longer stretches of sleep.

Dream feeds are also the most common feed that become habitual feeds, this is because your baby has regulated these calories over a 24hr period at approx. the same time every single day. 

You may also find that at some point, your baby may wake completely when you try and offer a dream feed which may in turn disrupt their sleep and contribute to more frequent waking overnight or tricky resettles because it also disrupts the deepest stages of sleep which are in the first chunk of sleep overnight. 

If your baby's routine seem to be in line with our recommendations with sleep is still messy, we can help!

  • For small tweaks to routine, have a look at our Quick Chat - 15min  option
  • For parents struggling with several things such as catnapping, frequent night waking, early morning rising or things that simply no longer work, have a look at our Phone + One Week Support option.
  • Not sure what is right for you? Get on the phone to one of our experienced consultants with our FREE 15min Discovery Call