We swaddle our 3 month old, and she struggles to wake herself if she has been asleep for several hours. She rocks from side to side in her cot as if she is searching for food (she sometimes does the same head movement when she is awake and hungry). She also squeaks. A couple of times she has banged her head on the side of her cot as well, though seemingly without any ill effect. Most of the time eventually she'll open her eyes and start crying.

We've now started taking her out of her cot and feeding her when she starts to rock from side to side and squeak - is this what is known as a dream feed, or are we taking her out of her cot too early?

  • Sometimes babies just want soothing, not food. A pacifier will work well for that. If she starts sucking on that really hard, then she is probably hungry, but a light sucking is just a soothing mechanism.
    – Bobo
    Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 18:38

3 Answers 3


I think she may be hungry when this happens, but it's not enough to fully wake her because she's swaddled. The swaddle helps babies sleep longer because it suppresses the startle reflex. Without the swaddle she probably would wake crying for food. Not to mention, a 3mo definitely should still be waking for night feedings especially if she's breastfed. Breastmilk is digested quicker than formula. Formula takes longer to digest so baby can normally go longer between feedings. My breastfed baby went 3hrs between feedings during the day when she was 3mo and every 4hrs at night. It's very normal. I don't think you're taking her out too early at all. If you are able to feed her well during the day, the frequency of night feedings will decrease slowly.

  • 3mo definitely should still be waking for night feedings especially if she's breastfed - it's not that definite. There are completely healthy breastfed children which need only one (or even none at all) feeding during the night. The important thing is to monitor the growth and weight gaining.
    – Dariusz
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 6:09
  • "In the early weeks, remember that your baby may not get enough nourishment if he sleeps through the night. Breastfed babies need to breastfeed at least eight to twelve times every 24 hours, usually every two to three hours. Most babies will gradually sleep for longer stretches at night, but they will continue to need night feedings for months. " source: llli.org/faq/sleep.html Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 19:08
  • the quote is about "early weeks". In my understanding these are first two to three weeks. 3 month old baby is about 10 weeks old. And the habits change. I am not saying that one should expect a baby to sleep through the night, but if the baby is developing properly and gaining weight, there is probably no need to force the food. We humans are pretty smart organisms, in most cases our bodies tell us what we need.
    – Dariusz
    Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 16:33

Three months seems a good age for the baby to gradually stop being fed every few hours. I would not feed her unless she wakes and screams for food (or if I succumbed to pity;). That is, of course, if she has no digestive problems and is healthily developing and gaining mass. About that age my LO started sleeping for longer periods of time. You may be inside a transitional period.

Anyway, trust your instincts. If you think your baby is happier if it is fed, do it. If you are happier and less worried if you feed it, do it. Don't mind other people babbling on the Internet. Your baby will eventually grow out of waking up every few hours and I daresay dreamfeeding will not postpone that time by much (if at all).

As for banging LO's head: you can buy a padding for your cot. It may increase the probability of SIDS, but for a 3 month old I think the risk is fairly small. It looks like this: cot padding

and is usually attached to to cot by strings. Make sure the padding is as non-interesting as possible, a plain white one would be best. Trust me on this, later on a colorful padding will be a great niusance, since your LO will play with it when it's supposed to go to sleep.

By the way: the fourth trimester is almost over for you. Your quality of life will soon improve drastically:)

  • 5
    Some argue that those padding (called bumpers) are best avoided to help reduce the risk of SIDS. Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 11:36
  • Yes, we didn't use them until our LO was capable of some movement, when we were less afraid of SIDS. This post is about a 3 month old baby, I think the risk is really low, but still, worth mentioning.
    – Dariusz
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 12:12
  • 1
    I don't see how this device could increase risk of SIDS, unless you don't tie it strongly enough and it can fall on your baby's face (?). I used it myself for all my children and didn't think of SIDS at all. Just wanted to mention that SIDS can happen till very late, three months is old enough for some movements indeed, like... trying hard to rollover and maybe manage to rollover but not being able to roll back on her back and then choking with her face against the mattress.
    – Smurk
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 3:21
  • Padding is associated with infants strangling or suffocating, if I recall correctly.
    – Joe
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 4:04
  • 1
    @Dariusz - this infant is swaddled. A swaddled infant is less likely to be able to control rolling than an unswaddled one. Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 15:34

I would talk to your pediatrician about this. At around 2 months my son would not sleep for more than an hour at a time if he was swaddled. The pediatrician said some babies are like that and if we can maintain a good room temperature through the night then we should stop swaddling. If the rocking is a full body rock she might not like the swaddle, if it is just her head rocking it might be that she is hungry.

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