Tips: Improve Your Baby’s Nightly Feed/Sleep Schedule
Getting your baby to eat a bit more in the day and a little less at night can start when your baby is as young as 1-month-old. It's essential, of course, to ensure your baby is getting enough nourishment. If you have plenty of milk (discuss with your doctor/lactation consultant before using these tips) and your baby is gaining steadily, you can begin boosting daytime feeds/pumping and help your baby sleep a little longer at night with some swaddling, white noise…or with SNOO.
My Rules of Thumb for a Better Sleep Schedule
For the first month: If your baby sleeps 4-5 hours at night, wake him and feed to make sure he gets enough milk.
I also suggest you use the wake and sleep technique for all naps/nights, which you can read about in this blog post. It's a gentle and gradual way that teaches your baby to self-soothe and builds her confidence over time that she can put herself back to sleep when she wakes.
For the next 2 months: Let your little one sleep longer (maybe up to 6 hours or so) before you wake and feed. Pump a few ounces if you feel too full. Consider waking your baby up for a midnight dream feed. I like to think of this as topping off the tank. It should give your baby more "fuel" so they can sleep a longer stretch on their overnight journey.
I highly recommend you use swaddling and strong rumbly white noise—or SNOO—to improve sleep. With each of these, you'll reduce night waking and help your baby tune out disruptions, both external and internal, that might agitate your baby at night. Some parents worry that their baby will sleep too deeply and go hungry, but those concerns are unfounded. Rest assured, if your baby needs to eat, she will definitely wake!
After 4 months: You can boost daytime calories by offering extra feedings and reducing mealtime distractions. And, continue to wake your baby up for a midnight dream feed.