Monday, October 10, 2011

The amazing Inception “Dream Feed”

My husband has a nickname for everything, and the technique we used to first get our baby girl to sleep through the night is no exception.

“Dream Feed” is a term coined by the late Tracy Hogg, a nurse and author who wrote the Baby Whisperer books. The technique is described in The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems – Hogg’s third book.The first night we tried the Dream Feed, my husband called it the “Inception Dream Feed,” and the term stuck.

The method is brilliant in its simplicity. The very first time we tried it, Ava was only six weeks old and slept through the night. After a week of Dream Feeds, Ava was sleeping 12-14 hours each night and has literally never awakened in the middle of the night since we started it (except for one night when she had a high fever.)
As a new mom, I had read parts of several baby books, but I favored following my own instincts over sticking to baby-care instructions in any one book. Nevertheless, after six weeks of waking every three hours each night to feed, I was getting desperate. One morning, I was so bleary-eyed that I tried to brush my hair with a toothbrush.

If you’ve read even one baby-care book, the likelihood is you’ve heard that everything revolves around the schedule. Hogg’s books suggest that keeping a strict schedule is less important than establishing a routine. For example, she uses the acronym “EASY” to teach parents the routine of Eating, Activity, then Sleeping for baby, and then taking some “You” time while baby sleeps. As long as you keep to this routine, it doesn’t matter if your feedings are exactly three hours apart and come at exactly the same time each day, Hogg says.

The Dream Feed is based on the idea that a baby who feels full will sleep longer. To achieve this, Hogg suggests two things: 1) during the evening hours, help baby to “tank up;” and 2) do a “Dream Feed” around 10 p.m.

Here’s how it works: In the morning, keep to a usual routine, feeding baby about every three hours with activity and naps in between. Starting in late afternoon, instead of feeding about every three hours, feed about every two hours. For us, a typical “tanking up” schedule was to feed at 7 a.m., 10 a.m., 1 p.m., then 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m., then bedtime. For the Dream Feed, between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., I would carefully pick up Ava while she slept and sit in the nursery glider. I would gently put the bottle nipple in her mouth to activate the sucking reflex (this also works with the breast). I would quietly feed until Ava seemed done, then gently place her back in bed. Because Hogg doesn’t recommend burping after the Dream Feed, I was always careful to turn Ava’s head to one side or the other in case she spit up, but she never did.

Hogg says that parents may continue with the Dream Feed until baby is seven months old if he/she has trouble sleeping without it. For us, we weaned Ava off the Dream Feed at about 14 weeks, and she now sleeps through the night without it.

To this day, I fail to understand the magic of the Dream Feed or why it worked so well for us. I suspect that the timing of when we started it may have been a factor in our success. I’m not sure it would have worked so well if we had started it much earlier. But who knows? The mystery just adds to the intrigue.

Rachel Raya is a Public Relations Manager for Texas Health Resources and New Mom to baby Ava.

No comments:

Post a Comment