Now that we have conquered jaundice, our doctor has shifted our breast-fed two-week-old daughter's feeding schedule from "every two hours; wake her; no exceptions" to "every two hours; wake her; you can go up to four hours at night time."
I am not questioning the validity of our doctor's orders. I am confident that there are good reasons to stick with this schedule and wake our daughter accordingly. What I do question is the importance of the 4 hour period specifically occurring at night.
As often as not, our daughter's only session of staying asleep for more than a couple hours is in the afternoon. At night time, she tends toward two hours on the high end, and sometimes wants to cluster-feed (last night, for instance, there was only one between-feedings period over an hour).
The shift towards longer breaks sounds great as it will help my wife to get actual sleep, if-and-when we can take advantage. But those opportunities may be few and far between if they are only allowed at night time.
One option we've considered is to allow up to two anytime 4-hour breaks if our daughter and my wife are both sleeping soundly. Is there a strong reason that these 4-hour breaks should only be at night? What could go wrong from us allowing them during the day?
It seems worth it to let our girl have her days and nights stay mixed up a bit longer if that is what it takes to provide her with a well-rested mother.
Edit: After a day or two, we were lucky enough to see her long sessions of sleep shift to the 8pm to midnight timeframe. That has largely made this a non-issue. In retrospect, I still think that 4 hours during the day would have been fine if that was the only way to provide sleep to my wife