What is Dream Feeding?
Dream feeding refers to children who will only drink in their sleep. Because feeding does not happen during times when they are awake, parents will wait for the child to fall asleep. Utensils typically used in dream feeding include bottles, droppers, and syringes.
Why is Dream Feeding an Issue?
Dream feeding is a cycle in which a child needs to be put to sleep in order to consume formula or milk. This means that a parent has to time meals to occur during only nap times or during the night. This can be taxing for parents because they need to devise methods to put their children to sleep every time a feeding is needed. It is also difficult for parents to wake up multiple times during the night for feedings.
A child that dream feeds will sometimes cry to be put to sleep because they are hungry. Because they only consume small amounts each meal, they are typically fussy throughout the day.
Dream Feeding is Inefficient
When a child is asleep, both drinking and digestion occur at a very slow rate. Giving one drop at a time or one small sip every so often can make meal durations an hour or longer just to get a small amount in.
Slow digestion can lead to vomiting, which can reduce the small amount that you do manage to get in.
Older Children Sleep Less
When children begin to outgrow their naps, finding enough sleep time for feeding becomes even more difficult and frustrating. When this occurs, the child’s weight will begin to drop if it hasn’t already.
Dream Feeding Newborns
Babies as young as a month or two of age can have this issue because feeding issues can begin at birth, making parents resort to doing whatever they can to get their child to eat.
Some of the time, no weight is gained. The good news is that newborns are extremely malleable to change, so typically issues at this age are corrected in a matter of days.