Dream feed baby whisperer

Tips From 'The Baby Whisperer'

The Early Show

By John Esterbrook


For many parents, the idea of putting a newborn baby on a schedule might seem a little hard to believe. But many experts say establishing a routine for infants is imperative for both good eating and good sleeping habits.

Melinda Blau, co-author of "The Baby Whisperer Solves All of Your Problems." points out that what works for adults is just as effective for infants.

"You get up, inspect the morning and have your coffee. If something jars that routine, it's upsetting to you. It's the same with babies. They like the safety and predictability of a routine," Blau told The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm. "The other important part about a routine is that it lets the mother or father know where the baby is in his or her day. So if you have a little baby and you fed him and 15 minutes later he's crying, you know that he's not crying because he's hungry. Something else is going on."

Blau suggests that the best time to start a newborn on a routine is as soon as they come home from the hospital.

"You may not be able to do it" Blau said. "I mean, it is a goal that you go for, and what we advise in the book is that you keep track and know when you fed the baby, how long the feed is."

A discussion of feeding provides an opportunity to introduce a Baby Whisperer acronym to help new parents establish a routine: EASY.

And after "Eat" comes "Activity." Conventional wisdom is that most babies tend to fall right to sleep after eating.

"That's not good. You don't think any of it now, but what about when the baby is four months old and only wants to … only can go to sleep after a bottle or being on the breast. That's what we call accidental parenting because you set up a pattern," Blau said. "Instead, start from the beginning teaching the baby to be essentially on the same schedule we're on. We get up in the morning and have an activity. ... They do it four times a day."

Next is "Sleep," and Blau suggests that it's better if babies don't sleep too long.

"Especially in the beginning. Babies don't know the difference between day and night," Blau said. "They are on a 24-hour clock. So if you get a baby home from the hospital and the baby … the mother says, 'Oh, he's just so great. He slept five hours.' Well, is she wondering why he's up all night?"

Blau said a baby shouldn't sleep for more than two hours during the day.

The final piece in the EASY acronym is "You."

Blau says parents need to take a little time out for themselves.

"The thing is you sleep when they sleep. It's imperative," Blau said.

Baby Whisperer has an interesting philosophy for the end of the day. It's called cluster feeding. An example would be feeding a baby at 6 p.m. and then instead of waiting several hours, feeding the baby again at 8 p.m.

Blau credited her co-author, Tracy Hogg, who passed away after the book was written, with coming up with the concept.

"Her philosophy was you tank babies up," Blau said. "By giving them more in their little bellies before they take a nap, they're more likely to sleep longer stretches."

Another idea advocated by Baby Whisperer is what they call a "dream feed."

"And we call it the dream feed because you don't actually wake the baby, Blau said. "You basically take the baby out of the crib and give it a breast or bottle and don't even change it unless it's really soiled and then put them back to sleep."

Some people might argue this is more convenient for parents than it is for the baby. That allowing the baby to sleep through the night maybe doesn't benefit the baby.

"Sleeping through the night is a misnomer," Blau said. "Babies … you are lucky if they sleep five or six hours. It's not sleeping through the night. It's for the baby because the baby then gets on the same schedule as the parent and everyone is less stressed out. And, let's face it, a mother or father who is not tired is going to be a better mother or father."

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First published on February 20, 2006 / 11:35 AM

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The Basics of a Dreamfeed for Helping Baby Sleep

by valplowman

The basics of a dreamfeed. The things you need to know to help the dreamfeed effectively work for your baby to sleep through the night.

The dreamfeed is a helpful tool to help your baby sleep through the night when you, the parent, are also sleeping through the night.

Baby needs so many feedings in a 24 hour period, and the dreamfeed is a way to make sure another feeding happens during your day so fewer feedings need to happen during your night.

The term “dreamfeed” comes from the book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer (affiliate link) by Tracy Hogg.

A dreamfeed is simply a late feeding that starts typically between 10-11 PM. The baby is already in bed, but you go in and feed baby one last time before heading off to bed yourself.

The idea here is that baby gets a feeding in just before you go to sleep. When baby starts sleeping 7-8 hours straight without eating, these 7-8 hours then fall between 10-6, giving you a good night stretch to sleep yourself.

The dreamfeed is not necessary. If you would rather feed baby and put her to bed in the 7-8 PM hour and then head to bed yourself, go for it. The downside to not doing a dreamfeed is that it will likely be that the 7-8 hour stretch of sleep between night feedings will come between 7 PM-2 AM instead of 10 PM-6 AM.

If you are okay with this, there is nothing wrong with it. What you have to do is be prepared so when you hear stories of the 8 week old sleeping through the night, from 10-6, and yours is still waking up around 2 am, you can not be discouraged.

You can remind yourself that your baby is also sleeping well and there is nothing to worry about.

Post Contents

  • Does a Dreamfeed Work for All Babies?
  • What You Need to Know About the Dreamfeed
  • Dreamfeed Time
  • Dreamfeed Location
  • Dreamfeed How
  • Dreamfeed Ages
  • Dreamfeed Conclusion
  • Related Posts to Help Your Dreamfeed

Does a Dreamfeed Work for All Babies?

In general, a dreamfeed works well for most babies. Some babies take work to get to take the dreamfeed initially.

I had babies who needed a lot of time and effort put into establishing the dreamfeed before it was really a benefit.

For me, it was something I wanted to establish. I wanted to be able to stay up past baby’s bedtime to spend time with my husband. With effort, I established a dreamfeed with those babies.

Some babies do not respond well to the dreamfeed. Some won’t wake up for it and some sleep more soundly through the night without it.

Always do what is best for your baby; however, also be sure the dreamfeed legitimately does not work and the problems is not with your implementation of the dreamfeed.

Some babies are very particular about certain aspects of the dreamfeed, so you might be able to tweak one thing and get a great stretch of sleep in the night.

What You Need to Know About the Dreamfeed

Here are the basics of a dreamfeed to help you get baby sleeping through the night.

Dreamfeed Time

The time of the dreamfeed is usually between 10-11 PM. If you get the timing too late, you start to run into disrupting natural circadian rhythms, so experiment with times within that hour. I have had babies who were very sensitive to the timing of the dreamfeed. For example, 10:35 meant the baby slept well that night, but 10:30 or 10:45 meant a fitful night of sleep was ahead of me as well as an early morning waking. I literally set an alarm on my phone so I could get the timing right for that baby.

Please note the time of the dreamfeed is between 10-11 PM. Do not start 11 or later unless you are fully positive your baby needs to go later. Try that 10 PM hour before moving into the 11 PM hour.

To learn more about circadian rhythm and how it impacts sleep patterns, read this post.

Dreamfeed Location

I did the dreamfeed in the baby’s room. I kept the light as dim as possible (I always had my husband install a dimmer in the baby’s room if there wasn’t one there. You could also use a lamp). I would go in and close the door after me so the room could stay dark and quiet with no distractions.

Dreamfeed How

Ideally, you will get baby, feed baby while baby is still drowsy, and put baby back to bed all without ever waking baby up. Do try to burp your baby even if you are worried about waking baby up. You don’t want baby getting an uncomfortable gas bubble and wake up in pain later in the night.

Younger babies, like newborns, might need to be woken up more for the dreamfeed to get them to eat anything. You might need to unswaddle your baby to wake baby up enough, but you might find unswaddling wakes baby up too much.

Many people wonder if they should do a diaper change or not at the dreamfeed. I change a diaper for newborns. In older babies, I don’t typically change the diaper unless there is, of course, a bowel movement.

If your baby is not responding well to the dreamfeed, you might either not be waking baby up enough or you might be waking baby up too much. This was my process for a newborn’s dreamfeed:

  1. Get baby up
  2. Unswaddle baby
  3. Feed baby half the feeding. You might have to work to get baby to wake up. Here are some tips on feeding sleepy newborns
  4. Burp baby
  5. Change baby’s diaper
  6. Give baby gas medicine or gripe water if needed
  7. Reswaddle baby
  8. Feed the other half of the feeding
  9. Burp baby
  10. Put baby back in bed. Baby does not need to be asleep, but I did make sure baby was relaxed as I explain in the article The Four S’s (I also show it on video).

This pattern enables you to wake baby up more initially to eat since newborns are typically very sleepy in general. It also gets baby’s diaper changed. Then it gets baby all cozy again so she can go right to sleep when the dreamfeed is all done.

For an older baby who wakes up easily, you might leave baby swaddled the whole time. You might start off by unswaddling and changing the diaper right away, then reswaddling before you start to feed baby (the risk here is baby messes the diaper after you start the feeding).

If your baby keeps the dreamfeed until baby is older, you might not change the diaper or unswaddle at all. I had two babies who kept the dreamfeed until 6/7 months old, and as they got to be older, I just went in, fed, and put baby back to bed (it is worth noting neither baby was still swaddled by that older age).

Dreamfeed Ages

The dreamfeed is ideal between newborn and about 4 months old. Most of my babies held on to a dreamfeed beyond 4 months old. Hogg suggests keeping the dreamfeed until 8 months old. Go with what works best for your individual baby. Once your baby is ready to drop the dreamfeed, see  Dropping the “Dream Feed.”

Dreamfeed Conclusion

The dreamfeed can be something that really helps you to get good sleep at night so you can function during the day. It can take effort to establish it, but it is well worth your efforts! For more information, see my post on Dreamfeed FAQs.

Related Posts to Help Your Dreamfeed

  • How to Feed a Sleepy Newborn
  • Circadian Rhythm Explained and How It Impacts Sleep
  • Gentle Sleep Training: The Four S’s
  • Dropping the “Dream Feed”
  • When To Stop the Dreamfeed
  • When to Stop the Dreamfeed
  • Dreamfeed FAQs
  • Dream Feed and Babywise

How to wake up a baby for feeding and whether it is necessary to wake up a baby in the afternoon



For any parent, the question of whether to wake up the baby is not easy. On the one hand, there are fears that a child who has been sleeping for a long time will not be able to fall asleep later, and on the other hand, how to raise such an angel who has been put to bed for so long...

so that his sleep is not affected.

Let's start with the smallest children. You've probably heard the phrase "never wake a sleeping baby." But it is not always fair. Some newborn babies wake up on their own for feedings, while others need to be awakened. Whether or not you need to wake your baby depends on their age, weight, and overall health.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waking your baby for feedings if he sleeps more than 4 hours in the first two weeks of life. On average, a baby needs feeding every 2-3 hours.

Frequent feeding is very important for several reasons:

  1. The baby's stomach is very small, the baby quickly digests breast milk. Faster than a mix. Therefore, physiologically, the child necessarily needs frequent feedings every 2-3 hours.
  2. Babies can sometimes sleep even when hungry, thus malnourished, which affects their development.
  3. After birth, the baby loses 5-10% of its body weight. And in the first weeks he needs to gain weight. Lack of milk or formula slows down this process.
  4. A short interval between feedings helps to maintain lactation. That allows you to avoid problems with a shortage of milk in the future.

Tears already signal strong hunger. Therefore, it is better to breastfeed the baby before the baby starts crying. Learn to recognize the early signs of hunger: the baby puts his hand in his mouth, smacks his lips, tossing and turning when he sleeps.

Should the baby be woken up to feed during the day? In general, if an infant sleeps for more than 3 hours in one dream during daylight hours, he must be awakened. Then the mother can feed the already awakened baby. This makes it possible to adjust the work of the biological rhythms of the baby.

How to Wake Up

  • Help your child gradually fall asleep by stroking their arms, legs or lightly tickling them.
  • Change diaper. Often this is enough for the baby to wake up and be ready to eat.
  • Undress and place skin to skin on your chest. You can squeeze a few drops of milk onto your baby's mouth. He will smell and taste it and begin to suck on the breast.
  • Speak - he will hear your voice and wake up.
  • Do not turn on bright lights. A dim light is sufficient. The bright light will blind your eyes.
  • If the baby has attached to the breast but has not begun to suckle, stroke his cheek.

How long to feed

As soon as the baby wakes up and starts to eat, make sure that the feeding is long enough to empty at least one breast. So we will know that he ate hind milk, which is necessary for the growth of the child's body. Some babies take 45 minutes or more to feed one breast, and some do it in 10 minutes.

The sucking reflex promotes falling asleep. Therefore, make sure that the baby does not fall asleep while feeding. If he falls asleep, change position, lift him up to burp, and then start feeding again.

By 6 months you will have a more or less predictable eating schedule. But each baby will have his own. Some of the children eat every 2 hours, and someone is able to stay without food for 3-4 hours by the second month of life. This is especially true for children who are formula fed.

The length of time between feedings increases as the child grows older. By the age of six months, many babies can already go without supplements at night or are able to sleep for longer periods.

If a child wakes up too often after 6 months and asks for food at night, perhaps this is no longer hunger, but a way to relax and fall asleep.

Avoid using a pacifier in the first weeks after delivery. The pacifier helps the child to calm down and prolong sleep. So you may not notice that your baby is hungry. Therefore, start using a pacifier no earlier than 4-6 weeks and when you are lactating.

Should the baby be woken up to feed formula? As with breastfeeding, the newborn needs frequent formula feeding. But the interval will be more than 3-4 hours.

When it is necessary to wake up the child

It is important to wake up the baby in the morning if he has fallen asleep later than 7.00. This is especially true for children who still sleep 1-2-3 times during the day and have already developed a relatively stable routine. So you create the perfect routine in the morning.

After waking up, children need time to work up their fatigue for their next nap, the ideal window for which is around 9 and 1 pm (depending on age).

Therefore, if the baby slept until 8 am, he simply will not be able to fall asleep in his first daytime sleep.

In order for the baby to wake up calmly without tears, you can enter a wake-up ritual. It allows the child to smoothly transition from a sleepy state to wakefulness.

Example of a wake-up ritual:

  • Open curtains/turn on lights
  • Welcome words and a kiss
  • Snacks, nursery rhymes after sleep
  • Happy song

Then you can get up and start breakfast. For older children, such a ritual is also necessary.

The awakening ritual has different purposes:

  • Marks the end of sleep,
  • Teaches a child that everyday sounds are not a reason to wake up,
  • Helps prevent baby from crying when waking up.

It will also be useful to have a light alarm. If the baby wakes up early, he will stay in bed until he sees the light on the clock.

When to wake your baby up after a nap

Many babies from 4 to 8 months sleep three times a day.

In this mode, it is important to wake up the baby after the third nap no later than 17.00. The duration of this segment is about 45 minutes, but not more than an hour. Then you can easily put the baby to bed by 19 o'clock.

Transition to one nap

At the age of 15-18 months there is a transition to one nap. It can be long and take place in different ways.

For example:

In the morning, the baby falls asleep easily and sleeps up to 2 hours. But then it is difficult to put it in lunch. And by the evening without rest at lunchtime, he is already overworked and falls asleep with difficulty.

So if this is your case, you can pick up the baby after 60-75 minutes. At the same time, move the start of the second sleep 15 minutes later. But if the baby sleeps for 1 hour in the morning and then it’s already difficult to fall asleep a second time, start putting him down only at lunchtime.

One nap after 2 years

Between 2.5-5 years, naps may disappear. Here again, the story described above is often repeated. It seems that the child falls asleep perfectly during the day, sleeps for a long time, but in the evening, laying down is delayed until 10-11 pm. The problem is that getting up early in the morning to the garden usually does not allow you to sleep the necessary 10-11 hours per night. And again, you will have to gradually limit the duration of daytime rest. Wake your baby up after 60 minutes first, then skip the daytime so your baby sleeps better at night.

Keep an eye on your baby while doing this. If he is calm in the evening and falls asleep easily, and wakes up later than 6 o'clock in the morning in a good mood, then you are doing everything correctly.

If you notice excessive moodiness in the late afternoon or regular awakenings too early, then it is worth giving the baby more time to rest at lunchtime.

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sleep, feeding and baby development



By 4 months, the biological rhythms of the child are finally formed, and the structure of his sleep becomes the same as in adults. Therefore, the old ways of laying often stop working, the baby may fall asleep longer, wake up more often at night and constantly breastfeed, and the existing daily routine may no longer work. What to do in this case?

Use our tips to improve your child's routine!

4 months

At this age, children still cannot live according to a clear daily schedule, as they still sleep short dreams during the day and are not able to stay awake for a long time. Therefore, the daily routine of four months. is built based on the time of wakefulness, which is no more than 1.5-2 hours between sleeps. At the same time, an infant needs 9-10 hours of sleep per night with awakenings for feeding and 3-4 daytime sleeps with a total duration of about 4-5 hours. That is, the baby will sleep with this schedule 3-4 times a day. The time of evening bedtime will vary and depend on the end of the last day's sleep. To get your baby to bed on time, be alert for signs of fatigue and stay awake for more than 2 hours. So you will prevent overworking the baby, which will improve the quality of his nightly sleep and reduce the number of night awakenings. Morning should start no later than 07:00-07:30 to form the physiological regime of the day.

What to do if a 4-month-old baby slept well but now has trouble getting to bed:

  1. Enter your bedtime ritual if you haven't already. In the evening, this can be bathing, light massage, putting on a diaper and clothes for sleep, lullaby and feeding. During the day, the ritual can be left the same, only without hygiene procedures. The ritual should be repeated daily and consist of the same actions. It is carried out by one person - either mom or dad.

  2. Check that the room has suitable sleeping conditions for an infant: the temperature is no more than 21-23 degrees in winter and no more than 25 degrees in summer, and the air humidity is approximately 40-60%. It is also important to darken the room for all dreams, including daytime, and use white noise.

  3. Organize your baby's rest in the crib. The last daytime nap can be done outside in a stroller.

  4. Extend the child's sleep by any means if the morning and afternoon sleep lasts no more than 30-40 minutes.

  5. If nothing helps and the baby still constantly wakes up at night, neither motion sickness, nor the chest, nor the nipple work to prolong sleep, then it is worth teaching the child to fall asleep on his own.

  6. Make sure your baby gets enough sleep. Otherwise, overwork will accumulate, which will manifest itself in frequent nocturnal awakenings. This is where following a routine can help.

Check our chart to see if your baby is getting enough sleep

How many feeds does a baby need at night?

At four months old, breast milk or formula is still the main food in his diet.

The diet of the breastfed baby this month will consist of feedings every 3-4 hours. The volume of breast milk drunk at a time will be about 118-210 ml. The duration of feeding may vary.

When formula-fed, the volume of the mixture should be calculated from the recommendations of the pediatrician. This is usually 1/6 of the child's actual body weight. At four months, the baby will eat 800-1000 ml. mixture per day every 3-4 hours during the day.

The baby is becoming more and more interested in the world around him and during feeding he can start to be distracted, not eat enough and make up for hunger at night. Therefore, it is better to feed the baby in a calm environment.

2-3 feedings are enough at night for a four-month-old baby.

Does the baby wake up at night shortly after feeding and start crying? Instead of refeeding him, try other ways to calm him down, such as petting his tummy and peeing. So the child will not form the habit of falling asleep only with the help of feeding.

Should we start complementary foods at 4 months? WHO (World Health Organization) recommends introducing complementary foods from 6 months. Therefore, before introducing adult food, it is worth consulting with a pediatrician.

Physical development of a 4-month-old baby

The fourth month is the age when a child already knows a lot and masters new skills.

He is already confidently using both hands at the same time and grasping toys, colored and shiny objects near him. Soft books, teething rings are a good choice for this age.

For reading, choose large books with different textures inside to develop tactile sensations. Read and sing to your baby every day for a few minutes. This develops the attention and speech of the child. Take a closer look at children's bathing books - their puffy pages are easy to flip through. In addition, they still often squeak, and the pictures in them are bright.⠀

The baby already holds his head and chest well, being on his stomach and pushing off the surface with his hands. Also, the child can already begin to roll over from his stomach to his back and push with his legs.

The baby sees better, begins to distinguish colors and notice objects in the distance, although he still prefers to look at faces and things next to him. During walks in the fresh air, tell the baby about the surrounding objects, point to them and describe them.

From the age of 4 months, the first teeth erupt. If the baby's salivation increased, redness appeared around the mouth, he began to bite, refuse to eat, became moody, his night's sleep worsened, then most likely the child has a new tooth. In the acute period, teething rings, anesthetic gel recommended by the pediatrician, more attention and warmth from the mother's side will help.

Important changes occur in communication with the baby at 4 months. He realizes that his mother is coming to his crying, and begins to use different sounds when communicating with others: oooh .., aah .., aha ... Catch the moment when the child “talks” more than usual and play “echo” with him. He says - you repeat.

Such a game gives the child confidence that his mother listens to him and is happy to talk to him. And, of course, develops the speech of the child. Try it - you'll like it.

Also at this age, finger games will already be useful, for example, “Ladushki”, “Goat is horned”, “Magpie-Crow” - they are aimed at developing the child's fine motor skills, which in turn is important for the formation of speech.

Learn more