Dreamfeeding Tips to Help Baby Sleep at Night
How to Avoid Night Wakings with Your Baby
By: Kelby Carr on: Sun 01 of Jul, 2007 [14:35 UTC] (4547 reads)
Night wakings with baby are easily one of the toughest aspects of life with a newborn. It sometimes seems you no sooner set head to pillow than your baby cries for a feeding. By dreamfeeding, you can help your baby sleep through the night and get your sleep yourself in those early months. Here is a step-by-step guide to dreamfeeding your baby.
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Why Dreamfeeding Works
It can seem almost insane to propose actually getting a sleeping baby out of the bed or bassinet for a feeding, but it really does work. You may even find that you get a longer stretch than normal. This is because baby will have fed before bed, and then had another feeding close behind it.
The other reason it works is really quite simple. If you wait for baby to get hungry enough to wake, then scream, then wait for you to get to baby, then wait for you to get a bottle ready or get to baby to nurse, your baby is quite awake. So your baby is much less likely to return to sleep afterwards.
Feed Before Baby Goes to Bed
The first step to dreamfeeding is to ensure baby goes to bed with a good feeding at the normal bedtime of around 6:30 or 7 p.m. You know your baby will be up again, of course. Breastfed newborns, for instance, typically feed every three hours.
Be Ready for the Dreamfeed
Don't get baby up for a dreamfeed until you are ready. Have your diaper and wipes (preferable warmed) in a place you can reach. If you bottle-feed, have the bottle prepared and warmed. If you want to use soothing music, have it playing. If you nurse and use a pillow, have it in place. If you wrap a blanket for the feeding, have it within reach.
Get Baby Up Before You go to Bed
Your bedtime is probably later. Let's say it's 11 p.m. Get baby up about a half hour before you want to go to bed. Keep all lights off and any external lights and noise (such as a TV) down low. You will want some light to see, however, for the feeding.
Change the Baby First
A common mistake is to feed baby and then change the baby's diaper. This is a problem because the changing process tends to wake a baby up. While baby is still groggy, speedily change the diaper with little talking to the baby and interaction. Get the baby dry, clean and warm again as quickly as possible.
Dreamfeed Your Baby
Start feeding your baby. The baby may not take a lot of breast milk or formula. Try to pull breast or bottle out and reinsert a few times to be sure baby gets a decent feeding.
End the Dreamfeed Properly
You want to place the baby back in his or her crib or bassinet, and soothe baby back to sleep. The feeding probably kept baby sleepy, so this shouldn't take long. Try patting baby's belly, stroking baby's forehead and singing softly or saying, "Shhh..."