Once I got the hang of it, I considered breastfeeding to be like a dream. It was relaxing, made me feel incredibly close to my baby, and was a full-on snuggle fest. Especially when I was legitimately dreamfeeding. But what is dreamfeeding other than a super sweet-sounding term? It's actually a way to breastfeed.
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Tania Archbold tells Romper that dreamfeeding isn't a complicated endeavor and has a couple of benefits. "Dreamfeeding is breastfeeding when the baby is in a light sleep," she says. "It can be useful in getting another breastfeeding session in before you go to bed, or to help increase weight gain if the baby is underweight. It can also be a tool to encourage latching if the baby is on a nursing strike or transitioning from bottle or nipple shield to breastfeeding. It allows the baby's natural instincts to take over."
For some moms, it can also be a way to get your baby to sleep a little longer between feedings. If you lay your baby down after a nursing session at 10 p.m., but you don't head to bed until midnight, dreamfeeding can help you get a few more hours of sleep so that instead of your baby waking when you're falling asleep, they snooze for a little bit longer before their next feeding, according to The Baby Sleep Site. It's not guaranteed to work, but it's worth a shot, especially if your baby is sleeping and you know they could use another feeding. Consider it your way of "topping off" the baby before you head to sleep.
For moms who work, dreamfeeding can be a really sweet way to reconnect with your baby and bond, as well as keep up your milk supply. "When I was working as a nurse after the birth of my first child, I would come home after a 12 hour shift, pick up my girl, and dreamfeed her when I got home," IBCLC Rachael Anastasio-Collins tells Romper. "It was a great way to reconnect with my baby, unwind from my day, and effectively drain my breasts since I always felt that my pump didn't fully empty them during the day when we were apart."
Dreamfeeding definitely isn't necessary and there are other things you can do at night to maintain your milk supply if that's your issue, but if you want to give it a try, feel free. If you think your baby is having serious issues sleeping at night or your milk supply feels low, contact an IBCLC for a one-on-one consultation and customized plan to get you and baby back on track.