5-Month Old Sleep Schedule
The first year of parenthood, your entire life will revolve around a schedule. This may be the first time in your life that you’ve ever been so fixated on routine. Every hour counts when it comes to your baby, and it may feel like your schedule changes each month. Babies typically go through several different schedules during the first 12 months of their life.
At 5-months-old, your baby will probably start to sleep through the night or be in the midst of sleep training. You may also be preparing to sleep train, so you’re wondering what the right 5 month old sleep schedule is.
Read on to learn more about how much sleep your baby needs at five months, how to begin sleep training a 5-month-old and how to come up with the right 5 month old sleep schedule for you and your family.
How Much Sleep Does a 5-Month-Old Need?
Newborns can sleep up to 20 hours a day, but your 5-month-old will be more alert and get the majority of their rest at night. By the time they’re 4-months-old, a baby will begin to adopt a natural sleep-wake cycle that enables them to sleep between 11 to 14 hours at a stretch. This makes it much easier for weary parents to get some rest as well.
Although you might be elated that your little one is finally sleeping through the night, you may find that their naps are now out of sync and they’re even fighting sleep when it’s time to go down for the night.
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Every baby will be different, but the average 5-month-old infant needs at least 14 hours of sleep a day and no more than 17 hours. Napping too much can stunt development as well as make a baby fussier and more difficult to soothe. As your baby begins to sleep through the night, they will nap less throughout the day.
Naps for a 5 Month Old Sleep Schedule
Timing sleep is tricky for parents whose baby is getting acclimated to a new schedule. Once your baby is sleeping through the night, or at least waking up far less, you should reevaluate their nap frequencies.
Babies who nap too much will be undertired at night, causing them to struggle to stay asleep and most likely regress. On the other hand, babies who don’t get enough rest during the day will be overtired. When you miss your baby’s sleep window, exhaustion will cause them to become irritable, frustrated and difficult to comfort.
A 5 month old sleep schedule should have the bulk of a baby’s sleep happening at night with three or four naps throughout the day.
How Often Should My 5-Month-Old Nap?
Most 5-month-old babies have frequent, shorter naps. If your baby is taking three naps a day, then their first two naps should last around two hours while the third is an hour to 90 minutes. It’s okay if the third nap is shorter because your baby will get more sleep throughout the night.
A 5 month old sleep schedule helps your baby become more consistent with their naps and comfortable with routine. Structure will be vital as your baby continues to grow, and it’s important for them to develop healthy sleep habits now so they have an easier time adjusting to future changes.
By month six, your baby will sleep a bit less throughout the day. There is also a potential sleep regression period to watch out for at the half-year mark. Babies who have begun sleep training and have a good schedule beforehand will experience less significant downsliding.
How to Start Sleep Training a 5-Month-Old
A 5 month old sleep schedule should include sleep training if you haven’t started already. Some parents need to wait until their baby is a bit older, and that’s okay. But if you have talked to your doctor and know your 5-month-old is ready to begin sleep training, it’s important to start as soon as possible.
If they don’t already, it’s a good time to start letting your baby sleep in their own room. Your child’s nursery shouldn’t be a foregin or scary place to them; if they’ve been sharing your room since birth, they will probably need a few days to a week to adjust. Rather than putting them in their crib for the night, start by letting them hang out for a little while as you sit next to them.
Then, work your way to napping alone in the nursery. Once your 5-month-old is able to take their naps in their crib, putting them their for bed will be much easier. It’s natural to feel apprehension over leaving your baby in a separate room all night. To help ease your concerns, use a video monitor that connects to your smartphone. You can keep it on all night and be able to check in on your baby as often as you need to.
How Do I Know if My 5-Month-Old Is Ready to Sleep Alone?
A good indicator that your baby is ready to sleep in their own room is if they’re sleeping throughout the night with you. If you’ve kept them in a bassinet, crib transitioning should be done first. This will make sure that you learn how they like to position themselves and decrease the risk of suffocation or injury.
Around 5-months-old, most babies are out of the clear for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). If your baby has sleep apnea, then you will want to talk to your doctor about how to create a 5 month old sleep schedule.
Babies who can sleep well in a crib and throughout the night are prepared to begin sleeping in their nursery.
How to Sleep Train a 5-Month-Old
There are several different sleep training methods to choose from, including the cry-it-out method and no-tears approach. You should consider your baby’s deposition before settling on a method. Some infants will benefit more from a gradual transition while others may be okay being on their own.
Sleep training isn’t just about a schedule. It also teaches your baby how to self-soothe. At 5-months-old, your baby will be able to start learning how to fall asleep without you there and how to put themselves back to sleep when they wake up early. Babies should also start to grow more comfortable with being in their crib; you can work on this by placing them in the crib 10 to 20 minutes before their usual naptime.
An Example 5 Month Old Sleep Schedule
- 7:00 a.m. – Wake up
- 9:30 a.m. – Wind down and nap preparation
- 10:30 a.m. – Time to nap
- 11:30 am – Wake up and feeding
- 1:00 to 1:30 p.m. – Wind down activity
- 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. – Second nap
- 4:30 – 5:00 p.m. – Third nap
- 6 to 7:00 p.m. – Bedtime routine and put down for the night
This is a good sample that you can use on to help create your own 5 month old sleep schedule. Keep in mind that every baby is unique, and some infants may sleep at different intervals that others. If you struggle to maintain consistency, or your baby always seems tired, it’s best to consult with your pediatrician.
Sleep training takes time, so be patient and make sure that you allow your baby to adjust gradually. You may find that you have to spend a full month or two getting your baby acclimated to sleeping throughout the night and napping easily during the day.
Additional Tips for Perfecting the 5 Month Old Sleep Schedule
Adhere to your designated nap times as closely as possible. If you are home with your baby, make sure that you book your appointments around their nap time so they don’t overlap. Even just one bad nap can throw off their schedule for days to come.
Be sure to include a peaceful activity before every nap, and establish a bedtime routine that helps prepare your baby for sleep. Before they can go to bed, you should calm their minds and spend some quality time together. Put on some lullabies, read them a book in a soft-spoken voice and let them settle into sleepiness.
Prepare ahead of time for any regression or resistance. Some babies simply take longer to adapt to a sleep schedule than others. Although a 5 month old sleep schedule should be focused on a 11 to 12-hour sleep period during the night, yours may be shorter as your baby develops their own cycle.
Finally, make sure that your 5 month old sleep schedule is open to change. Follow the natural rhythm of your baby, and if it’s too out-of-sync with your routine, begin to make gradual changes that slowly regulate your baby’s sleep over time. It may be though, but with some patience and consistency, you can train your baby to be an eager sleeper.