Monday, December 13, 2010

New Baby Advice - Dream Feed!?

Much like waking a sleeping baby, this was hard for me. The dream feed is a practice where you go into your baby's room at about 10pm and take him out of the crib and nurse or give a bottle while he is still partially asleep. This is to get a couple more ounces in him so he sleeps longer. It definitely worked for us early on. For the first 5.5 weeks, my son woke up twice in the night (1am and 4am or so.) This is very typical. Then, he dropped that 1am feeding. With the dream feed, he was able to sleep until 4am and sometimes even 5am.

One thing I will emphasize. The dream feed actually stopped working and we believe hindered his sleep progress at about 3.5 months. He started sporadically sleeping through the night - maybe 2-3 times at 2.5 months and maybe 6-8 more times by 3.5 months. But then, all of the sudden, at 3.5 months, he started waking up 2-6 times a night. He never wanted to eat, he would just cry and go NUTSO. If we put him on the changing table to check his diaper, he would smile and start kicking and want to play.

We tried EVERYTHING. We started giving him a huge bottle of pumped milk before bedtime (7pm) instead of me nursing. We started cereal right at four months. We tried a bath every night to get a good ruotine in place. Well, when a friend heard that he wasn't eating in the night anymore, she suggested cutting out the dream feed.

We were SO scared, but what did we have to lose? He was already up sometimes every hour and at least once a night he would wake up and stay up for 1-2 hours - but he was never interested in eating. And we are going on about 5 weeks of this. So, we eliminated it and within three nights, he was sleeping through the night! I don't know if the dream feed was disrupting his REM sleep, or maybe making him gassy since we didn't burp him, but eliminating it worked for us

Now, I will tell you that for about 2 months after that, he would still wake up mysteriously one or two times a week crying for no apparent reason. And he still does once every couple of weeks. I hear this never ends!

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