Day/Night Schedule and Sleeping through the Night

There are many good reasons to watch for a newborn’s hunger cues and feed on demand...

...including that newborn tummies are tiny, newborns want to be close to mom, and mom’s body needs to establish a milk supply. Don’t be surprised if your baby, even into the second month or beyond, is still waking in the middle of the night to eat.

Typically as the baby gets older and they grow larger, they’re sleeping longer. This isn’t always the case, so don’t get upset when your friends are bragging about eight-week-olds who sleep through the night! There are MANY babies that aren’t sleeping through the night at 3 and 4 months old.

When baby does start sleeping for longer stretches of time, your body will need to adjust to baby’s new schedule. You may find that baby isn’t waking up to eat; your well-trained breasts are waking you up instead. This is totally normal as well.

What some moms do is gently awaken baby to do a “dream feed” before mom goes to sleep. Gently rouse baby in a darkened room without talking or being too loud, and latch baby on to your breast. This final “dream feed” allows your body to get the stimulation it needs to release the milk for baby. It also drains the breasts so not as much milk gets built up while baby is sleeping, and may allow mom to get a little more sleep because baby’s tummy is full. Ideally, feed baby as soon as she awakens.

You will also find that baby is confused about day and night at first. While this can remedy itself, it often takes some time. Baby should be feeding at least 8-12 times in a 24 hour period even at three months. Every baby is different and it is important to watch your baby’s cues to determine when she is hungry.

A big part of nursing is nurturing and closeness so it is important to remember that in the dark hours, sometimes baby just wants to know you’re close. Although it may seem far off, baby will eventually get it figured out and her day/night schedule will get more balanced.