So should you do a dream feed?
The aim of a dream feed is for you to feed your baby and then for them to consolidate the rest of their night sleep and not wake until morning (once they are age appropriate to go onto one feed a night). The dream feed will teach your baby to have their night feed before midnight, as opposed to after midnight so that you as a parent can go to bed and get a decent chunk of sleep after the dream feed.
When can I start a dream feed?
Very early on in the newborn weeks, you will find that your baby may be cluster feeding in the early evening and then do a big chunk of sleep after that. If your baby is not cluster feeding then they may wake at 9pm or 10pm naturally for a feed. Therefore, dream feeding is not encouraged in those early weeks.
At around 6-12 weeks, you can introduce an "awake feed" at 10pm. Wake your baby up fully, give a half feed, have a kick on the mat and then give them the other half and back to bed. This awake time should be around 30 to 45 minutes. If your baby then sleeps for a good three to five hours (depending on age and size), then this shows that the awake feed is working and you should only have to get up once more before morning!
Once they are 12 weeks you can start turning this into more of a dream feed and keep them asleep, rather than waking them up.
My baby still wakes after the dream feed!
If your baby is waking around 1am or 2am after you have given them the dreamfeed then this is a sign that it is not working. I would simply skip the dream feed, allow them to wake naturally for that one feed and then go back to sleep for the remainder of the night.
If you are doing a dream feed and your baby is not taking in a decent amount of milk, they are essentially having a "snack" and this then sets them up to do this for the remainder of the night. It is better to skip the dream feed and let them wake up when they will be genuinely hungry and ready to take a bigger feed.
You should be getting 5-6 hours of good sleep after a dream feed once your baby is 12 weeks old.
When should I drop the dream feed?
Drop the dream feed if it not working - i.e. You are not getting 5-6 hours of good, consolidated sleep after 12 weeks of age.
Between 5 to 6 months is a good time to start looking at dropping the dream feed as it will start to interrupt night time sleep cycles. Interrupting night time sleep cycles leads to further nighttime wakes. It is best to just let your baby wake naturally for a feed after this age and not schedule feeds overnight.
By the time your baby is on two solid meals a day of (around one quarter to one half of a cup each) you can look at dropping night feeds altogether. This usually happens at around 6.5 months.
What time is best for the dream feed?
You want to attempt a dream feed in your baby's deepest stage of sleep over night. This runs from 6pm or 7pm through to 11pm. Therefore the ideal window to dream feed is between 10pm to 11pm, before that stage of sleep ends. If it is after 11pm, leave your baby to wake naturally for their feed. It is also important to note that dream feeding prior to 10pm only encourages that last bedtime feed to not be as full/complete as it could be, as your baby’s digestive system learns they get another feed in a couple of hours, so there is no need to have a full feed at bed time.
Dream feeds will only work 50% of the time. If your night sleep is already very fragmented and your baby is over 16 weeks, very rarely does introducing a dream feed help. You should rather work on teaching your baby some self-settling skills so that they can consolidate their night sleep.
As winter approaches and the coughs, sniffles and sneezes begin it's hard to know whether to hold off of sleep training or to continue on.
RUNNY NOSE/SLIGHT COLD
If your child is fine during the day and just has a runny nose or a slight cold and cough then it is absolutely fine to continue with sleep training. It could also be worthwhile chatting to your GP about whether you need to give medicine to help them feel better, and keeping an eye on things to ensure that they don’t start to feel worse.
FLO Baby Nasal Spray is amazing for runny noses, combined with the Nosefrida Nasal Aspirator to get all the gunk out (more details about these products at the end of this e-mail).
SERIOUS CONGESTION COMBINED WITH FEVER OR ILLNESS
If your child is really unhappy and has a fever, is very congested or has any vomiting or diarrhoea it is best to put a hold on sleep training until they are better. Your child will need you to be there to comfort them through the illness. There is nothing better than cuddles with mum when your child feels unwell. See your GP so that they can recommend what to do to make your child feel better and get through the illness as quickly as possible.
Sometimes children can become very lethargic when they are sick. In this situation it is best to pop them down earlier for their nap so that their body can do the important healing while they are sick but wake them up at the usual time so that you can keep the day on track.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THEY GET BETTER?
Children who have really good sleep habits tend to go back to good sleeping again relatively quickly when their sickness is over. If you are finding your child continues to wake and needs assistance to get back to sleep when they are well again then get in touch and we can work together to get them sleeping well again.
Why not invite me along to one of your mum's group gatherings so I can answer all of your burning questions? I will come along and speak to your group for 1.5 hours at a location of your choice - the beauty of this being that you get to ask questions that are unique to your child and your situation. I can even do this after hours if you want to get your questions answered without the kids in tow! Whether it be at your home, at the park or an after hours potluck dinner - you will leave feeling empowered, knowledgeable and confident. You will know exactly what to do moving forward to ensure you and your family get the sleep you all need.
Cost - $20 per person with a minimum group of 6 required
(If you don’t have a mum's group I encourage you to join one or form your own! Reach out to the Mums you know or to other mums through social media, and make a regular happening date where you all get to have a bit of well-earned down time!)
Play contributes towards a child’s cognitive, physical, social, emotional, creative and communicative development – it’s one of the most important (and fun!) ways that your baby or toddler reaches those crucial developmental milestones. Play encourages babies to explore, experiment, discover and problem solve; it’s one of the earliest and most instinctive learning methods. From building their most basic senses to formulating their social skills, play is at the heart of their development from the get-go.
6 main types of play that follow a child’s developmental trajectory were identified by sociologist Mildred Parten Newhall, which is why they’re also known as ‘Parten’s stages of play.’
The 6 stages of play are as follows:
When buying toys for your baby, it’s important to choose something that’s just right for their skill level. Pick a toy that’s too simple and your tot will get bored; get one that’s too advanced, and they’ll only get frustrated. An age-appropriate toy, however, will provide your baby or toddler with hours of education, exploration and enjoyment.
Ever get tired of all the plastic out there? In a world where plastic rules our lives and most of our children’s toys are made of plastic it was so nice to stumble across this amazing lady, Sophie Parry and her business “Scribble & Sew”. Sophie's creativity and passion for art led to an interest in fabrics, sewing and textiles.
If you like something it should stir in you a passion, a raw emotion, a reminder of the past or a feeling in the present, but a sensation nonetheless.
Scribble & Sew’s Taggie Collection has many more benefits than being just a warm and cuddly comforter. Following the first months of exploring with their mouths, babies begin to explore with their hands. Fingers and hands are full or touch receptors that need to be engaged in order for the child to build a brain map for this area. If these are not used then the part of the brain allocated for this is not developed.
This brain map created through touch receptors is later used for fine motor skills such as handwriting, dressing and eating. Exposing a child to a variety of textures at a young age lays the foundations for these all-important fine motor skills.
As well as benefits to fine motor skills, exposure to different textures allows children to get used to and feel calm around them. This reduces the likelihood of them developing tactile defensive behaviours as they grow and lays the foundations for them remaining calm and enjoying exploring new textures rather than being afraid or stressed. This is particularly important when it comes to trying new foods, going to new places such as the sand at the beach and wearing textured clothing.
Taggie blankets allow children to use their mouth OR their hands to explore and develop in a safe way allowing for healthy tactile sensory development to occur.
You can even get one custom made for your little person - take a look here!
There is so much more to explore at Scribble & Sew - www.scribbleandsew.com.au
Lauryn Stanlake - Infant and Child Sleep Consultant