When Callum was a baby, I had heard of dreamfeeding. It is when, just as you go to bed, you carefully pick up your baby while they are sleeping, feed them, then carefully put them back in their cot – the aim is for them to stay asleep (hence the name) throughout the process but the dreamfeed gives them a little boost in the hope that they sleep through or at least sleep longer.
It had been very successful for many of my parent friends so I was eager to try it.
I’m not sure exactly when we started dreamfeeding Callum but I know by looking back through this blog that we were by the time he was 10 weeks. We then kept it up until just before he was 5 months old. What made us decide to stop was when I looked back at the sleep log I had kept since Callum was born, Callum was naturally doing OK on his own, gradually sleeping longer and longer in between feeds at night. Then from the time we introduced the dreamfeed, he started waking up more frequently – the time he would sleep between feeds was reduced.
The fourth night after we dropped the dreamfeed, Callum slept through the night for the first time from 7pm until 7.10am (after last feed at 6.30pm).
For this reason, I wasn’t in a hurry to try a dreamfeed with Millie unless I really felt she would benefit from it, and it would work!
Up until now, I didn’t feel it would be worth trying. Millie often woke around 10-10.30pm for a feed of her own accord (which is approximately when we would be doing the dreamfeed) and she would then sleep until 3-3.30am and then after 7am.
However, we were invited by our friends for dinner next weekend. My mum had agreed to babysit for both the kids but as my parents had spent a lot of time recently living out of a suitcase for various reasons they preferred that they looked after them at their own house rather than staying at ours. So for us, you would be forgiven in thinking, whoop whoop! A full night of sleep. Can you imagine?
BUT, with Millie still not sleeping through the night and could be up twice in one night, I worried for my Mum. I could tell she wasn’t revelling in the idea either and Mum thought Millie was sleeping through when she agreed.
Operation get Millie sleeping through began!
Millie woke at 10.30pm again one night but then slept through until 7am. I suggested to Stuart we try feeding her at about 10/10.30pm every night now whether she woke or not – so dreamfeeding if she didn’t wake on her own. She may fully well do it on her own every night but her nightfeeds are so changeable that we couldn’t rely on that and with the pressure of the night at my parent’s approaching, I wanted to take action to encourage her to do it again.
The first night Stuart successfully dreamfed her at 10pm. She then slept until 6.15am then happily nattering to herself until 6.45am. Clever girl – that’s what we like. So last night was the second night. We were watching a film which finished at 10.50pm so I fed her then. She stayed asleep throughout but then woke for her next feed at 3.30am. Boo, fail! I’m hoping it was just down to her having a dirty nappy.
I figure its worth continuing to try for this week, until we get this Saturday out the way and then make a decision as to whether we will continue it past then, depending on its success.
Tonight is a bit of a miss though as she has just woken for a feed at 9.30pm and she is a very stubborn young lady – she will only feed if she is hungry and there is no convincing her otherwise! This 9.30pm feed will have to be her last one until she wakes again during the night (if she does). Fingers crossed she’ll sleep until 7.
A little thought to finish on – despite all this effort to get her to sleep through, after some tragic news on Twitter and in the Blogging World this weekend, part of me welcomes her waking in the night for another cuddle & reassurance. My thoughts are with the family that wont have that opportunity tonight.