Ask SIFTW: Windy minxes and dream feeding

March 4, 2008

Simone has a question about dreamfeeding:

How does it work? My nearly 10 week old, sleeps really well from 6.30/7 pm until about 11pm, feeds and thinks it’s playtime. She doesnt settle again till about 12-12.30am, sleeps and wakes at 3.30-4 am, and at this point it really is playtime, and she is so fidgety and frantic and takes forever to settle. When she does it’s till 7-7.30 am, she feeds and then we are ready for the day.

Should i dream feed at 11pm? Will it make her stay asleep and settled till 3.30?Also why does she not fall asleep after her bottle, but fidget and frantically thrash about for an hour? do you think she may be windy or just a minx?

Simone, please feel free to slap me for this because I totally know you are in sleepless hell at the moment, but it sounds like your little minx (do you mind if I call her that, affectionately of course!) is doing quite well in the sleep stakes. 10 weeks is pretty early days and babies are still working out the difference between night and day and I figure if they can do a couple of 3-4 hour stretches at night, then they are already starting to figure out that nighttime is for sleeping. 10 weeks is probably too early to be expecting much more in respect of sleeping (or in respect of anything really), so go with it, do the best you can, and get the sleep you can in the meantime.

3 or 4 hours doesn’t seem like much when you are craving 7 or 8 hours in a row (or perhaps 24 hours straight as the case may be), but take what you can get and hopefully you’ve been blessed with a good sleeper who will get into a nice pattern as she gets a little older.

As for dreamfeeding, my feeling is that you could give it a try and see what happened. I think dreamfeeding can work well when the reason that the baby wakes up is because of hunger. Unfortunately there are a myriad of other reasons babies wake and can’t settle back that dreamfeeding just won’t fix. I tried dreamfeeding with the Imp a few times and it really did nothing other than to give him an extra milk feed in the night as he still woke up at exactly the same times even after the dreamfeed.

Probably the reason she doesn’t fall asleep straight after her bottle is to do with the day/night distinction thing and also your scintillating company. Babies don’t see the imperative of sleeping at particular times, so if there is something more interesting to do at 4am than sleep, then likelihood is, they will do that instead. Over time, you can try and teach them that nighttime is for sleeping, but for the moment, just keep the mood chilled and the lights off and see if you can coax her back to sleepyland.

If she’s crying a lot after feeds, maybe she’s windy, you can try to bring up some burps, but again, as they get older, they are better at dealing with wind. And as for being a minx? I’ll leave that to you to decide.

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Nil by mouth

August 12, 2007

We’ve been going down the path of Baby Led Weaning with the Imp. On the few occassions I’ve tried to feed him something with a spoon, he refuses, closing his lips tight. He will not be fooled. Even doing funny things to make him laugh results in a close lipped laugh. He KNOWS what we’re up to. Who knows if we created this aversion by having him feed himself from the beginning, or whether he would have been like this anyway. My guess is that it’s just his personality. He’s fussy about things going into his mouth – has to be on his terms. He’s always been like this with breastfeeding too.

Which brings me to last night’s episode, the dream feed. Success or failure? I haven’t worked it out. This is what happened… I was able to gently lift the imp out of the cot, get him to suck on my finger and then tried to get him to feed. I came up against the tight lip seal again. Would. Not. Open. Mouth. Tried different things to get him to open up. Not a chance in hell. He did not want to feed! I imagined that I would put him back, hop into bed and then he would wake demanding a feed.

But no, the wonderous Imp slept until 4am, had a feed, than back to sleep until 7! Of course, it might have helped that I was wearing earplugs due to a loud all-night party nearby. Or maybe the Imp sleeps better to loud 80’s rock.


Dream feed … sleep saviour or cruel joke?

August 11, 2007

I’ve always been two minded about the dream feed, you know it’s when you attempt to feed your baby before you retire to bed in the hope that they will do a longer stretch without needing to feed. You do it ever so carefully without waking them up. They feed in their sleep – and hence the ‘dream feed’. In theory I think it’s a wonderful idea, but I have never known whether it really works in practice. Actually I’ve never given it a decent trial to figure out if it is indeed all it is cracked up to be. Here are my reasons for not giving the dream feed a proper trial:

1. For a long time I went to bed at the same time as the Imp due to overwhelming tiredness, so couldn’t exactly do a dream feed with this arrangement anyway.

2. I am sooooo paranoid that he will wake up and think it’s a great party, and then refuse to go back to sleep.

3. I am constantly fooling myself that ‘maybe this will be the night that he sleeps through’ and I want to allow him the full glory of sleeping 7 to 7 or whatever, without me sneaking in a feed at 10pm. (stupid reason really)

4. I can’t be bothered. I just want to get to bed.

5. I’ve tried it on occassions and the Imp has still woken up at exactly the same times as he normally does. What IS the point?

6. I worry that the more milk he has at night, the more likely the midnight nappy explosion!

So tonight, I’m feeling lucky. I’m going to do the dream feed. Am I crazy? Wish me luck!

 And one other thing, the Baby Whisperer may try to convince you to do the dream feed with a bottle, but I have perfected getting the Imp to latch on in his sleep. The trick I use is to stick my finger into his mouth until he starts to suck on it, then I can easily get him to latch onto the breast after that. Actually he feeds so much better in his sleep than he ever does when he’s awake!