Dream Feed: To Recommend or Not?

Dream Feed: To Recommend or Not?

As with all things related to babies, there are many opinions about a dream feed. This post is based on my experience; however, I realize it may not be the same experience for you.

Lets first start with the basics…

 

What exactly is a dream feed?

A dream feed is when your baby is asleep and you pick the baby up while they are sleeping and feed the baby. You can do this both by bottle and breast.

How can a baby eat while sleeping?

The best way to explain this is that it just happens! When the nipple is placed in babies mouth they will suck.

When should I offer a dream feed?

If you choose to do dream feed, I would recommend that you do it about an hour before your child’s typical wake up for a feed or as close that as possible. Hopefully, this is close to when you would typically go to bed. If not, I would do it just before going to bed.

What is the goal of a dream feed?

The goal of a dream feed is to extend your child’s ability to stay asleep for a longer period of time. Children that are waking due to hunger at an earlier time can benefit from a dream feed.

What is your opinion of a dream feed?

I find that dream feeds are an absolute crap shoot! They can work for some babies and be a fail for others.

Personally, I recommend that dream feeds are used with caution. I find babies that are offered the dream feed for a long time, come to depend on that feed and have a difficult time extending their ability to stay asleep without the feed.

For us, our little man would wake up during the feed so it did not work.

I have had many clients that were doing a dream feed. Most of the time their child started waking up slightly before the feed was offered.

The clients that did have success with the feed used it for a short period of time to help their little ones extend their sleep and then I encouraged more calories during the day to reduce the need for a night feed.

Should you try offering a dream feed?

If your little one is not able to sleep for more than 3 to 4 hours after 4 months of age you could try a dream feed to see if it will help. If your child is sleeping for 5 to 6 hours I would not recommend a dream feed.

I do find that it is best if you wait until your child naturally wakes up. When you wait until your child naturally wakes up you are going by your child’s needs versus what you believe your child needs. Do not underestimate these wonderful little humans!

Have I ruined my child’s sleep?

Have I ruined my child’s sleep?

I will often get asked if a child’s sleep is now ruined because a parent had to sleep with the child or had to offer more support.

There are times when my little man puts things into a perspective way better than I can. Last night he was struggling with going to sleep, Thank You Day Light Savings! When he really struggles my husband or I will lay with him.

As we were laying there I was holding him (a great big snuggle and a hug). We were listening to a guided meditation about a Koala Bear that was not able to go to sleep (here is a link to it). The meditation was talking about how the bear was not able to lay still in his bed. My little man said to me “someone needs to hold that bear down”. I laughed to myself. Then I realized that my little man understood what I was doing. I was holding him down to help him sleep. After he made that comment I was even happier about the fact that I was able to assist him and he knew exactly what I was there for.

A short time after our snuggle our little man was able to go to sleep. Does this mean I will have to do this every night? No, it does not. After children have mastered the skill of falling to sleep with minimal assistance they often do not want you there. There will be a time or two thousand, that they require extra support. There is no harm to offer the support. Some children may need you to slowly remove the support and others will adapt quickly without issue.

The point of this post is to remind you to do what you feel is right for your child. Slowly but surely you will get them to be doing exactly what is best for them.

Take care and as always, Be the Parent you want to Be!!

Sleep Regression? What is it?

Sleep Regression? What is it?

Sleep Regressions are talked about a great deal when talking about infant or child sleep. If you speak to a parent with a young child and you mention the word regression you will most likely see a look of fear in their eyes.

Honestly, I feel that these regressions are actually overrated! The fact is that there are many reasons for a change in a child’s sleep and stating if a child is (insert age) they will have a regression in sleep is not necessarily the case. I believe that a number of sleep-related issues get blamed on a specific age when in fact the change in sleep can usually be tied to a developmental milestone or change in sleep needs.

What is a Sleep Regression?

A sleep regression is when your child’s sleep takes a turn to the difficult side. You had a few weeks or days of great sleep and then wham, you are up several times or fighting with your child to get them the sleep they require.

When is it a True Regression?

Changes in a child’s sleep will happen several times. If the change in your child’s sleep has lasted for more than 4 days and cannot be blamed on an illness or growth spurt then you are in the midst of a regression.

The Most Talked about Regressions Demystified!

4-month Regression: 

This is when our little ones are moving from the newborn sleep cycle to the sleep cycle that is similar to yours and mine. They are moving from 2 stages of sleep to 4 to 5 stages of sleep per sleep cycle.

8 to 9-month Regression:

This is typically related to a developmental milestone. At this age, there is so much growth going on that is does play havoc with our child’s sleep.

Typically, the developmental milestones that are occurring at this age are as follows: learning to crawl, standing, walking and babbling.

18-month Regression

This can usually be related to increased separation anxiety. This age is famous for this! It does make putting your little one down for sleep a bit more difficult.

2/2.5-year-old Regression

This is usually when our little ones have a verbal explosion! Has your child started to talk a great deal more? This is usually the culprit to sleep-related issues at this age.

Thanks for the Explanation, Now what?

The best thing you can do if you suspect that your child is dealing with a sleep regression is to be patient. If your child had good sleeping pattern before and you do not introduce any new sleep props your child should be back on track in 4 to 7 days.

If a week has past and you are still dealing with the sleep regression then I would recommend that you look at your child’s wake time. Your child will most likely benefit from a 15 minute increased wake time.

You adjusted the wake time and are still having issues then I would look for a hidden sleep prop or a prop that your child wakes up requesting.

 

If you are a Parenting Foundations Member, please feel free to send me a message so I can help you further. If you are not a member yet you can click here to learn more about becoming a member which gives you direct access to me, Brenda from Parenting Foundations.

Dreams: Talking to Kids About the Good, Bad and Ugly Ones

Dreams: Talking to Kids About the Good, Bad and Ugly Ones

Dreams can be wonderful and downright terrifying! It can be very difficult to explain to children that dreams are not real. Even as adults sometimes it can be very hard to shake off a bad dream.

First lets, chat about what a dream is

Dreams are thoughts that occur during periods of sleep. According to William C. Dement, MD., Ph.D., and author of “The Promise of Sleep”, we dream during all stages of sleep; however, we recall more dreams during the REM stage of sleep.

Our children will be able to recall some of their dreams and may have a hard time understanding that they are not real. The best thing for us to do is to explain what dreams are in a calm manner at a time not associated with sleep.

How can you explain a dream to a child?

Children are very concrete thinkers who respond well to simple and clear statements. A good way for you to explain a dream to your child is to tell them that a dream is a story your brain tells while you sleep. You can explain that these stories are not real but can feel real.

How can you teach your child to cope with dreaming?

1. Empathize with your child

2. Remind your child the dream was a story while he slept

3. Let your child talk about the dream

4. Teach your child to take a deep breath and to think about something different using meditations.

5. If your child is struggling with their dreams you can try making or purchasing a Dream Catcher. A Dream Catcher is a Native American tradition where a catcher is placed above a child’s bed. Then you explain that the Dream Catcher will catch all her dreams and pass the good dreams on to her.

 

In my experience, a child seems to be better able to cope with and understand their dreams closer to 4 years of age. This is when the fun begins and children may love to fall asleep so they can dream!

Please feel free to send me a message or start a discussion in the form area regarding your child’s dreams.

 

 

 

Sleep Teaching: Why is this so hard??

Sleep Teaching: Why is this so hard??

Sleep Teaching or Sleep Training can be very frustrating.

I received the following note from a member a few weeks ago:

“This is not going well. Twice we were able to do the drowsy but awake but last night he wasn’t going on that crib for anything. Such a fight. Screaming and crying. Even transferring him was almost impossible.”

I hear this quite often. Typically, Night 4 or 5 is the absolute most difficult. You would think it would be getting much easier. The reality is that things “get worse before they get better”!!

When things are feeling impossible know that it is actually a good thing. This is an extinction burst! Once the burst happens you will slowly start to see change.

Unfortunately, your child’s sleep needs are ever changing which means you may be dealing with night wakings after you have had a few weeks of “bliss’. This can be very frustrating. It begins to feel like all you are doing is trying to figure out the next sleep related issue.

The following is a  list of things can have an effect on your child’s sleep:

1. Learning a new skill

2. Growth Spurt

3. Illness

4. Teeth

5. Separation anxiety

6. Not getting enough time awake during the day

My best piece of advice regarding this is to know that it is normal and that once you get comfortable with making minor changes as needed you will fly through all these changes. There will be some minor bumps but with time and consistency, your child’s sleep will get back on track.

As always please feel free to connect with me to discuss your child’s sleep concerns. You can send me a message through the website, write a post on a forum, or drop a note into the private Facebook group.

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