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Thread: Adding dreamfeed?

  1. #1

    Default Adding dreamfeed?

    Hi! I am a long time lurker, but wanted to ask a question. My daughter is almost 9 months old. She breastfeeds well, and takes pumped milk via bottle while I'm working. She is also experimenting with solids. She is an enthusiastic eater, but certainly does not take enough solids to really make a nutritional impact (which I know is normal and good for a baby under a year.) She has always been petite (around 25% for weight consistently) but her doctor is not at all concerned about her weight. He thinks that her smallness is most likely genetic, and doesn't recommend changing anything as far as feeding goes. She is meeting all her milestones. Even though I know she is fine, I still find myself obsessing about her weight. Adding an additional worry into the mix, I have noticed a substantial decrease in the amount I am able to pump at work.
    My daughter sleeps a long stretch at night (10-12 hours) and I suspect that long stretch is affecting my milk production. I have added in a dreamfeed before I go to bed, and I wake up to pump around 3 am most nights. The additional pumping prevents me from dipping into my freezer stash, and my daughter does well with the dreamfeed. My question is this: am I causing trouble for myself down the line by dream feeding at this age? She will sleep through the night with or without the dreamfeed, and I worry that I am essentially reversing her night weaning. (Btw, this sleep stretch came about naturally. She is not swaddled and doesn't use a pacifier) My husband thinks it's silly to wake a sleeping baby to feed her, when she clearly would do fine without the feeding. He thinks it makes more sense to pump before bed, rather than disturbing my daughter's sleep. I tend to think that getting a few extra calories into her can't hurt, but maybe I'm wrong? I'd love some opinions from moms who are more experienced with nursing.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Adding dreamfeed?

    Hi mama,
    It sounds like you are doing great. It's common for working moms to hit a "pump slump" around 8 or 9 or 10 months. One thing to consider is whether your pump could use some rehabbing - for example, changing out the membranes is a simple thing to do; and/or changing out other replaceable parts, like flanges or valves. But I absolutely agree with you that that long sleep stretch can have a negative impact on your supply, particularly if you are relying on the pump to maintain your supply during the day. The pump often is just not as good as nursing to maintain supply, so if you couple using the pump during the day without much nursing when you are home, that can definitely be a recipe for decreased supply. Personally I think you are doing just the right thing with the dreamfeeding. Again, nursing will be better for your supply than pumping, and besides, it's so much nicer and easier! You are already doing a lot of pumping, why not nurse rather than pump when you can? And no, I don't think you are setting yourself up for trouble down the line. There are LOTS of babies who nurse all night long at 9 months of age - that does not mean that when they are older they don't sleep!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Adding dreamfeed?

    Hi and thanks for de-lurking! I would not worry about causing a 'reversal' of your child’s sleep patterns. In the normal course of child development, sleep patterns change all the time and will often be erratic in the first few years. Long sleep stretches with NO waking at all, even briefly, as you describe are not really common or expected as a regular thing until a child is past toddlerhood-3 or 4 years old. I am not saying there is anything wrong with the long stretch assuming baby nurses very frequently the rest of the day & is gaining normally. Also, I agree that normal growth rate varies and how big a person gets is almost entirely genetic.

    But very long stretches like this certainly will affect your milk production-whether that will mean it will make it TOO low or not will simply depend on you and your baby. I suggest you are not ‘disturbing’ your baby’s sleep in order to nurse her, she can nurse IN her sleep, for one thing, and if she does not want to nurse she won't. I understand your husbands reasoning, but I think it is easy to say it ‘makes more sense’ to pump when you are not the spending your time before bed pumping rather than relaxing! If you want my personal opinion, certainly if I was the least bit concerned about my baby’s weight gain OR my milk production, I would nurse baby before bed and not worry that it is somehow disturbing baby, who can (I assume) make up any ‘lost’ sleep at night during daytime naps like any other nine month old who is more typically up several times a night.

    Where do you sleep in relation to baby? Simply not being in close proximity to mom during sleep can cause longer than normal sleep stretches in baby.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Adding dreamfeed?

    Oh I missed that you work & pump during the day. OK in that case, I would consider night nursing VITAL to keeping your milk production normal.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Adding dreamfeed?

    with the PPs. I would definitely add in at least one dream feed, maybe even 2 or even more (if you can stand it). The dream feeds will be good for your milk production and more nursing means more chances for your baby to practice her nursing skills and remember just how lovely it is to nurse. Those 2 things an be important for babies whose moms are away at work a lot of the time.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  6. #6

    Default Re: Adding dreamfeed?

    Thanks for the input ladies! I should clarify that I only have to work 2-3 days per week, and we do not use bottles at all when I am home. On the days that I am home, my daughter nurses about every 1.5 to 2 hours, and on those days I have no concerns about my supply. She seems happy and content, so I feel pretty sure that she is extracting more milk than I am able to pump, which I know is pretty typical. To answer Meg, my daughter sleeps in her crib in her room which is the next door over from our master bedroom. I am sure that she is waking during the night to roll over, move around, etc, because she is never in the same place that I lay her down! And I nurse her any time she wakes up and makes any noise, whether she is babbling, crying, etc. I'm sure that if she was in our room I would hear her rolling over and moving, but at this point, although I don't mind night nursing, I am not willing to move her out of her nursery into our room. Thank you all for the reassurance that it is ok to wake her...you are absolutely right that it is much more relaxing/enjoyable to nurse rather than pump before bed, and I'm sure it is better for my supply as well!

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