Dreamfeeding is a recommendation a lot of nursing moms hear. It's a great way to maintain your supply, to (hopefully) get your baby to sleep a longer stretch, and to reconnect with your little one after a long day. But is dreamfeeding safe for baby? Can nursing them while they snooze be problematic?
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Tania Archbold tells Romper that any fears of your baby dreamfeeding aren't warranted. "Breastfeeding is an active way of feeding; it isn't like pouring a cup or dripping bottle in their mouth," she says. "The baby has to be actively latching and suckling in order for the milk to start flowing and the baby has to be a willing participant in order for breastfeeding to happen. In dreamfeeding, the baby is usually in a light sleep and working on instinct. A baby in a deep sleep won't latch and suckle."
Because your baby is in such a light sleeper, Archbold notes that dreamfeeding allows your baby's natural instincts to take control. You dont' have to force them to take your breast or to suckle, and your breasts aren't going to release milk to make them choke without any stimulation. Don't worry about your child drowning, gagging, or spluttering on milk while dreamfeeding — it's a totally safe practice and could potentially grab you some extra Zs or help your milk supply.
IBCLC Tori Sproat of Tiny Tummies recommends that dreamfeeding moms take a look at the Safe Sleep Seven from La Leche League International. The seven steps are meant to be a guideline to safe bed-sharing and breastsleeping, and can be utilized when you're dreamfeeding your baby, especially if you're doing it in your own bed. Some of the rules include making sure your baby isn't overheated, making sure they are sleeping on their back, providing a firm, safe sleep surface, and that you are sober and a non-smoker.
Dreamfeeding isn't a necessity, so if you're not comfortable doing it (or are terrified at the thought of waking up your baby), you don't have to. But if you want to give the idea a try, know that as long as your baby is healthy and you are following safe guidelines, dreamfeeding isn't dangerous.