Ever heard of Dream Feeding? I recently attended an amazing conference at the Institute of Women’s Health and wanted to bring you back a bunch of awesome practical tips from some of our continent’s leading women’s health physicians – kicking things off with Dream Feeding. This post is for YOU if you’re a new or expecting parent, someone who supports new parents, or if you’re planning to have a baby in the next year or so (I believe in being prepared even BEFORE you conceive with strategies for keeping your physical, mental and emotional well-being intact!
Keep Calm & Sleep On
Sleep support is a huge when you’re a new mom. I’ve created this quick how-to on Dream Feeding for you because it will feel like a “do-able” for some new parents, and everything will get better when you, Beautiful New Mama, start feeling better!
Dream Feed Your Way Back to “Yourself” Again
As a new parent, it’s a virtually universal truth that your sleep is gonna change! Lost sleep not only feels torturous but can really make a lot of the other challenges you’re going through feel so much harder (e.g. rapidly declining hormones fast-tracking you onto an emotional roller coaster, breastfeeding issues, partner going back to work, etc.). Try to remember that everything feels worse when you’re tired, and see if you and your partner (or postpartum doula) resonate with Dream Feeding.
“What is Dream Feeding (and When Can We Start)?”
Dream Feeding is probably NOT for you if you’re not comfortable with both (1) pumping and (2) introducing a bottle. If you’re OK with both of these, you’re ready to start Dream Feeding between age 2 weeks and 6 weeks. After that, baby is less likely to accept a bottle. Look for natural, BPA- and BPS-free bottle materials, never microwave breast milk (nor formula) in plastic, and be willing to experiment with a couple of breast pumps before you find the one you prefer most.
Try out this schedule and feel free to adjust it according to your family’s needs.
How to Dream Feed Your Baby and Get Your Core Sleep
|Time||Baby||Mom||Dad, Partner or Doula|
|7-8pm||Goes to sleep||Goes to sleep||Stays up|
|10pm||Wakes for feeding||Stays asleep||Feeds baby with bottle BEFORE she fully wakes up|
|10:10pm||Goes back to sleep (without having fully awakened)||Stays asleep||Goes to bed|
|12am||Wakes for feeding||Wakes to feed baby||Stays asleep|
|2am, 4am||Wakes for feeding||Wakes to feed baby||Stays asleep|
|6am||Wakes for feeding/the day||Wakes to feed baby, back to sleep until partner leaves for work||Wakes to care for baby|
|8am||Ready for feeding||Wakes to feed baby and for the day||Goes to work!|
Get The Core Four
Admittedly, four hours of sleep doesn’t sound like much. But Dream Feeding can consistently give you one, full, four-hour, normal adult REM sleep cycle each night. With four uninterrupted hours of “core” sleep you’ll feel so much better and will feel so much more able to take on the day with new babe.
Icing on the Baby Cake
To get even more out of Dream Feeding, sleep when your baby sleeps, including naps during the day. Your baby’s job is to nurse 8 hours of every 24, and sleep the other 16. See what you can let go of – or delegate – around the house so that you feel more free to supplement your Core Four hours of sleep with naps wherever you can.
Being a New Mom can be CRAZY!
Your health and well-being in the days, weeks and months after you have your baby is a BIG deal! For more on postpartum well-being for new families, contact us or see your postpartum doula, midwife, or sleep coach. We’re here to help.