There’s a lot of conflicting information and advice out there when it comes to feeding a baby.
At five-months-old, Bo is still exclusively breastfed. I feed him on demand and that works for us. The bottle was a bust so he has never had any formula, although we’ve started practicing with a sippy cup in the hopes that someone else can help feed him someday soon. I currently use breastmilk in the sippy but, when (if?) he gets the hang of it, I’ll likely start offering formula when he uses the cup.
All of this is to say that, although I had hoped for things to be different with this baby, I’m still the only one who can get up in the night to feed the kid. He’s a pretty quick eater and settles back down easily after eating, but it’s still hard having to wake up night after night.
Recently, I started to notice a little pattern to his sleep. He usually shows signs of being ready for bed sometime around 7pm. After feeding, he’ll generally fall asleep. But, often he’ll wake right before or shortly after I go to bed. It is after that feed that he’s most likely to have a long (ish) stretch of sleep.
It started getting annoying to be woken up only an hour (or less) after falling asleep. So I decided to try the dream feed.
Some people say this doesn’t work at all and others swear by it. Some say it creates a habit of needing to eat at that time. Personally, I don’t care what they say because it’s been working for us.
Here’s what I do: get myself ready for bed, creep into Bo’s room and scoop him up. Usually he opens his eyes and smiles. Then, we settle in the chair and he gets down to the business of snacking. As soon as his sucking slows or stops, I take him off the breast and lay him back down. Since he’s barely awoken and hasn’t taken in much air, I don’t usually burp him. I creep back out and that’s that.
After a couple of weeks of trying the dream feed, I’m pretty happy with the results. We’ve had a couple of 9 hour stretches and a few 6 hour ones. Some nights, I don’t end up having to get up at all. Other nights, I still have to get up for one feed. Either way, it’s better than before.
I know Bo’s patterns can change in the blink of an eye but for now, we’ll continue to do what’s working for us. Dream on!