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Views please - shall I introduce a dream feed?

(15 Posts)
Zimm Sat 01-Jan-11 12:41:34

I would really appreciate your wise views on this. DD is 20 weeks and EBF. From 6-19 weeks she slept around 7-8 hours, woke to feed and then resettled easily for another 2 -3 hours. Very lucky I know. She has now taken to going to bed at 8pm and waking at 1.20am (so precise!) and two hourly after that. I know it's sleep regression/growth spurt but I am wondering if introducing a dream feed (would be a BF) at around 10.30pm might push back the 1.20am waking a couple of hours and allow me four hours sleep. I don't want to start going to bed at 8pm. I'd never see see DP if I did that. Also se does't nap on the house during the day so my only chance to get anything done is between 8-10pm. could a dream feed help or will it make things worse?

MoonUnitAlpha Sat 01-Jan-11 12:51:31

My experience is that ds was doing similar - sleeping 7ish til 3am, then waking at 5am and 7am. I introduced a 10.30pm dreamfeed hoping he'd then do his longest stretch from then. Actually what happened is he still woke at 3am, but he started waking at 11 as well if I hadn't fed him by then, so really I just added an extra feed hmm

From 18-21 weeks he was waking/feeding constantly at night. Now we seem to have got it down to 6.30pm/10.30pm/3-4am/6-7am. We did a few nights of DP trying to settle him without feeding if he woke between 11pm-3am, but it didn't really work until we stopped co-sleeping and he moved into his own room.

MoonUnitAlpha Sat 01-Jan-11 12:53:31

I started doing the dreamfeed from about 15/16 weeks I think.

AliBellandthe40jingles Sat 01-Jan-11 13:13:46

I had this same experience. From about 11 weeks DS slept 10pm-about 4-5am, and then when he was 19 weeks he started waking every 2 hours for a feed again.

It is just the 4 month growth spurt and sleep regression. Which isn't a 'just' at all when you are going through it, but it is entirely normal and you aren't doing anything wrong.

I would be reluctant to introduce the dreamfeed, because I think you may find the same thing as MoonUnit - that you are just adding a feed and it just disturbs her more.

Can you offer more feeds during the day, and maybe push her bedtime back by 30 mins/an hour?
DS had 2-3 days where he fed like a newborn growth spurt - I remember doing 17 feeds in 24 hours and feeling like I was going to die of tiredness! - but once that was over he was only feeding 4 hourly during the day if I let him but then every 2 hours at night. I tried to offer a feed more often, swap sides with each feed etc so that he was getting more milk during the day and I think it did help space the night wakings a bit.

You have my sympathy. It is a tough stretch, and DS didn't really settle again until he was about 8 months and was eating significant amounts of protein and carbs.
You will likely get some people telling you to wean, but a bit of babyrice and a few mashed up vegetables aren't going to help here - just more milk!

Zimm Sat 01-Jan-11 17:14:13

Hi all,

Thanks for the advice. Guess I'll veer away from the dreamfeed - I certainly don't want to add a feed. i've been trying to tank her up during day but she'll only eat what she wants to eat!

I think pushing her bedtime back makes things worse as she gets so overtired - to be honest she's fallen asleep at varying times over the last five days and always woken at 1.20am!

No I won't be weaning early I know it won't make a difference and I'm keen to EBF to 6 months as we have allergies in the family. I guess i just have to wait it out - my current solution is night rescue remedy to help settle her - seems to help somewhat.

ZZzzzzzz :-(

AliBellandthe40jingles Sat 01-Jan-11 20:37:37

Oh Zimm you poor thing you sound knackered. It will get better, honestly it will.
I know you want to spend time with your partner in the evenings, but maybe once or twice a week you could get an earlier night just to help keep you sane?

anonMum2 Sat 01-Jan-11 21:04:32

I was told by mum/sister to do a dreamfeed at around 10pm from around 3 weeks and it worked for us. He slept till 5am very quickly and then from 6 weeks old slept till 7am (big feed at 7pm and small dreamfeed 10pm). He was bottlefed though, not sure if that makes a difference. Also, from around 8 weeks we stopped the dreamfeed altogether and when he woke up at around 3am (only happened twice if i remember correctly) we gave him 60ml of water and he happily went back to sleep.

The issue you have with baby waking up at at the normal feed time WOULD happen, as it's their habit to wake up at the time to feed.. you just have to be tough and NOT feed them again if you know they don't need it. Obviously not the case if they are starving and need breastmilk. Anyway, for us we noticed that once he had a dreamfeed at 10pm, his crying weren't really hungry cries, it stopped and he fell back asleep very quickly, usually before I could even get out of bed (c-section and struggled at the time).

Anyhow, can't be TOO sure if this is definitely the case for all babies as this has only happened with DC1. We could have just been lucky. Apparently it worked for my sister's baby too so maybe it does work. Don't know.. I'll soon find out with DC2!

anonMum2 Sat 01-Jan-11 21:14:49

to add.. as your DD is around 20 weeks... DS did start waking up at 5am again at around 17 weeks but we knew it was because he was due to be weaned, showed every sign of wanting food. At 19 weeks I gave in (got as upset as I did when I failed to BF) and started giving him baby rice(yucks I know)/fruit/veg puree, he changed from grumpy baby to the happiest baby in the world. At around 20 weeks he was sleeping 7pm-7am again. Big sigh of relief for us.

HelenLG Sat 01-Jan-11 22:48:40

I read in 'the baby whisperer' and I will probably get shot for this, that if they wake at exactly the same time each night that it's out of habit rather than hunger...

I don't know if that's true, DS wakes randomly between 3-5am, the dreamfeed doesn't seem to make a difference. He's been having one since about 6 weeks (doesn't make any difference if it's formula, ebm or boob either)...

MumNWLondon Sat 01-Jan-11 23:40:23

Personally think think just as important to work on daytime sleep. Not sleeping well at nighttime can be due to overtiredness and being unable to settle.

I have always done dreamfeeds but started as soon as I introduced 7pm bedtime.

I think you need to crack the daytime sleep in cot first and teach how to self settle, this will let to improvement in night time sleeping.

The risk with a dreamfeed is of course that you feed at 10pm, they don't take much and then wake at 1.20pm or earlier anyway.

Zimm Sun 02-Jan-11 10:17:18

Thanks all - I'd love to crack daytime sleep but haven't a clue how - I won't do CC or CIO. Suggestions welcome!

anonMum2 Sun 02-Jan-11 21:16:22

Hopefully someone will come along with some suggestions as I've never been in control of my DS daytime sleep either. He was brilliant at night though so no complaints from me. I think he's just one very determined child as since a couple of weeks old he made it quite clear when he wanted to feed and when he wanted to sleep. Now at 2.5 it's quite apparent he's one bossy chap!

Anyway, don't know if this might change you mind to do a little bit of CC... for us, I did, very unintentionally, CC. I was so ill from c-section, mastitis etc. was on loads of medication and antibiotics, so when DS cried (day or night) I couldn't really get up fast enough being all drowsy and in pain.. (DH was useless and never ever got up even when he was at home). Usually by the time I managed to get up he'd already cried himself back to sleep. That's when I realised that CC is not that bad. In fact, as he knew it was useless to cry(unless it was for valid reasons such as hunger/nappy change/feeling unwell) he never ever just cried for no reason from very early on (around 8 or 9 weeks). I think he was a far happier baby compared to if I had just constantly gone in to comfort him.

omg, it sounds like everything I do is so horrible and so controversial but I really had one happy baby and now he's one jolly giggly and bright toddler!

HelenLG Sun 02-Jan-11 22:00:28

We take DS into the bedroom, put him on the bed and swaddle under then arms, then pop into cot.

He normally starts crying as he goes in his cot, so I tell him I'm just going to close the curtains so he can have a sleep.

Then I sit next to the cot and shh him gently and give his chest a little rub, or hold his hand.

He stops crying after 5 minutes or so and just goes to sleep. He has a music nightlite on the side of his crib which he stares at to help him go to sleep.

If he hasn't settled within 20 minutes I take him out of the bedroom and try again in an hour or so.

MoonUnitAlpha Mon 03-Jan-11 09:49:02

I wouldn't want a baby to know it's useless to cry for comfort. What a horrible thought.

Zimm Mon 03-Jan-11 11:31:30

I will give your method a go Helen - thanks for you suggestion anonmum as I really cannot let DD cry. I tried putting her down for a nap this morning and listened to her chatting on the monitor but as soon as it got to crying I had go in.

Interestingly she's changed her pattern over the last 2 nights - she's gone to bed at 8, woken at 11.30 by herself for a feed (so the dreamfeed) and then got through to 3 or 4. This is hugely preferable in my eyes as I go to bed at 10.30, have a light sleep and then can feed her, go straight back to sleep myself and get a whole 4 hour chunk. This morning she was amazing and went from 4.30am - 7.45am - so I almost got 2 4 hours chunks. I hope it is the beginning of the an improvement and a return to old ways! I so miss her old blissful sleep pattern.

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