Dream feeding is the term used to describe the act of feeding / breastfeeding your baby while they are still partially asleep or sleepy.
By using this technique, you can usually prevent your baby from waking fully to ask for a feed.
Moms who do not co-sleep often dream feed their babies just before they go to bed themselves.
Since they don't have to completely wake up and cry to get your attention, you never have the hassle of getting your baby back to sleep.
If you know your baby's hunger cues and usual feeding pattern, you can anticipate when they will likely be hungry and offer them the breast before they are fully awake, thus keeping them asleep right through the night.
We have been co-sleeping with our daughter, between us in bed, since birth and by doing dream feedings, she has "slept through" since she was 6 weeks old.
With her sleeping right next to me, I am very much in tune with her pattern and needs.
I will thus be fast asleep and as soon as she starts showing her early hunger cues; moaning in her sleep, searching for the nipple rolling side to side, sucking on her hands, I wake and am able to offer her the breast before she fully wakes.
She latches perfectly and nurses in her sleep. When she has had enough, she unlatches and rolls away to sleep on her back or cuddle up to daddy. Babies have a natural instinct to latch when the nipple touches their lips or to turn their heads towards the nipple when it touches their cheeks.
She has never choked or gulped when dream feeding and she unlatches herself when she is full. There is also no risk of overfeeding her, as she refuses to latch if I offer without her showing her hunger cues.
Moms who do not co-sleep often dream feed their babies just before they go to bed themselves, so that they can get a longer stretch of sleep in the beginning of the night, before their little ones wake them up with a cry for their next feed. They simply pick their babies up, go sit in the nursing chair and stroke the nipple across the lips to see if baby will latch.
What makes dream feeding so wonderful is that you never have a fully awake baby that you need to struggle to get to sleep after feeds. I'm sure most moms can agree that it is sometimes a mission to get the babies back to sleep, once they have decided it is play time and they are awake.