First with Sophie and now with Harry I have signed myself up to the “dream feed” – a late evening bottle to give them a boost and stop them waking my wife up earlier than she needs on the night shift.
It’s always been a special time of bonding with the children, where I can do my bit to help out and look after them in a way they absolutely need.
Six months in though and the parameters have changed and my body is starting to feel the pace…
The premise behind the dream feed is that the baby is asleep when they have it, guzzle down the milk really quickly and then have a nice full tummy to content them in going back to sleep.
Initially, our take on this feed was that it would take place about 11pm, I would put him back to sleep and then go to bed myself. The feed would be dropped when he hit six months as by then he’d be eating solids and wouldn’t need the extra boost. Sounds like a good deal.
And, don’t get me wrong, it also gives me chance to catch up/watch a whole host of TV shows in the process – Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Prison Break etc!
Unfortunately, those things have not quite worked out as planned, the dream feed plan has been updated by my lifestyle and as a result sleep is at an absolute premium. I know that it should be when you have a baby; however, I’m sure it’s not recommended that we make it worse.
For instance, rather than the 11pm dream feed envisaged, I now start it around midnight because I’m working until then. Sometimes, I carry on work afterwards because I’ve got plenty to do. It’s a lovely moment with Harry but there’s something utterly surreal about half-waking a peaceful baby. It seems completely contrary to everything you’d want.
I feel it more when he doesn’t settle and I find myself trying to comfort him back to sleep at 1 in the morning. Bonkers. Not good for my patience in the classroom, the following day either with just 5 hours sleep under my belt.
As for the solid foods, he’s been wolfing them down since the middle of April and yet it seems to be making no difference to the amount of milk he wants to eat. Typical.
But, in saying all of that, I love the opportunity to do my bit. I still look back on my time giving Sophie a dream feed – who finished bang on six months by the way – with great fondness and remember that sadness when I realised it was coming to an end.
So I don’t want to hurry Harry. If he still needs a feed (sometime between 11am and 1am!) then I’m the man to do it for as long as it takes.
Even if it means ongoing insomnia…