Monday, April 18, 2011

to dream feed or not to dream feed?

That has been a point of a little concern around here.  Dream feeding is that last feed before Mama gets into bed for the night.  You get the baby out of the crib while he/she is still sleeping, attempt to feed them without waking them up, and then lay them right back down for the night.  Basically, a feeding without an awake time, just for those of you who may not know.  I've personally opted not to dream feed with the first two kids, but we considered it with baby number 3.  I was always afraid that the baby would wake up too much and then I'd be stuck with a wide-awake kid right when I was ready to turn in for the night. 

I've been a little more intentional with Ella Margaret about getting her on a schedule as soon as I could, mostly for my own sanity.  I've always been fairly routine oriented (sleep, eat, play) but now I find myself wanting to be able to plan the time we are eating, playing, and sleeping.  Some people become more lax about a schedule as they have more children, I become more needy for a schedule, I guess.  So, for the first time, I was willing to try a dream feed.  I start her day at 7am, waking her if I have to, since she is on a 3 hour schedule.  This means our day looks like this:

7am - awake and eat then "play"
8:15am - sleep
10am - awake and eat then "play"

11:15am - sleep
1pm - awake and eat then "play"

2:15pm - sleep
4pm - awake and eat then "play"

5:30pm - sleep
6:30 - awake and fussy time
7pm - eat
7:30 - down for the night

Now, if I give her a dream feed at 10pm, she sleeps until 4:30am.  This is a good long stretch of sleep for an almost 6 week old, for sure!  She's a real trooper about her night time sleep.  Her big sister was too.  But, it takes about 30 minutes to feed her.  This means, I am getting back into bed at 5am, and the big kids are up at 6:15am.  Not to mention the fact that I've had enough sleep to now be really awake.  It just wasn't working for me.  So, we pulled the dream feed.

Now, Ella Margaret's last bottle is at 7pm (sometimes 7:30 depending on how the day is going) and she gets up anywhere from 1:30am to 2:30am to eat.  She passes right back out after eating, and so do I.  I think I am  barely back in the bed before I am asleep again.  I have a friend who is a big believer in the dream feed, but it just doesn't work for me.  Go figure.  It's all about what factors work together to help Mama keep her sanity!  But this also might be why the earliest any of mine have slept consistently through the night without waking to eat was 6 months. 

Do you dream feed?


Greta said...

Oh gosh...I don't even remember what I did with Bo, let alone the other two.

I'm pretty sure I kept him awake (or tried to) after each feeding when he was real little and then I'd feed him one last time around 10 or so and put him down for the night. Of course he was falling asleep between each feeding and my main reason was that I needed to get that many feedings in to keep up my supply.

He's 5 months now so his last feeding is sometime between 8 & 8:30 and that little sucker sleeps at least (most days) until 7/7:30.

Greta said...

P.S. Who won the Starbucks giveaway? :)