Learn how to set up a happy and healthy sleep schedule for a 5-month-old
By the time your baby reaches 5 months, a lot of changes have happened since first bringing them home from the hospital! Your baby is likely holding up their head, possibly even rolling over on their own. They’re also becoming more expressive and “talking” a lot and also, smiling! By now, sleep patterns may have emerged and your 5 month old baby sleep schedule may even be in place! While it’s hard not to compare your own baby to someone else’s, it’s important to keep in mind that each of these baby milestones happen at around the same time, but every baby is different. If you have some questions about your 5 month old sleep schedule, you’re not alone. Keep reading for some more FAQs:
Should a 5-month-old be on a sleep schedule?
By the time your baby is 5 months old, they’re likely sleeping around 10 hours at night with anywhere from 3-4 naps during the day. Chances are, your 5 month old’s sleep schedule isn’t written in stone… yet. But you’ve mastered your bedtime routine and things are starting to feel a bit more consistent.
What is the recommended sleep schedule for a 5-month-old?
Most experts agree that by the time your baby is 5 months, they should sleep for between 14-15 hours within a 24 hour period. So if they sleep 10 hours at night, the remaining 4-5 hours should be spread over 3-4 naps during the day.
Thanks to the website What To Expect, your 5 month old sleep schedule may look something like this:
- 7:00 a.m.- Awake
- 8:45 a.m.- Nap
- 10:45 a.m.- Awake
- 12:30 p.m.- Nap
- 2:30 p.m.- Awake
- 4:30 p.m.- Nap
- 5:00 p.m.- Awake
- 6:30 p.m.- Bedtime routine
- 7:00 p.m.- Bed
Of course, this schedule varies baby to baby, but it gives a general sense of what your baby’s sleep pattern may look like.
How do you get a 5-month-old on a sleep schedule?
By the time your baby is 5 months old, it’s likely that you’ve heard of, or have even tried, to sleep train. With so many sleep training methods to choose from, it is possible to get your 5-month old baby on a sleep schedule. Sleep training essentially teaches your baby how to self-soothe. This means that when your baby wakes up in the middle of the night – and they will! - they learn to fall back asleep on their own, by soothing themselves back to sleep with little assistance from you.
In teaching your baby any of these sleep training techniques – from the chair method, to “Ferberizing,” to fading - they learn that they can in fact, get back to sleep on their own. This is an important life skill that babies need to be taught. Once they learn how to self soothe, it will likely mean that you, too, can sleep longer and better.
What time should a 5-month-old go to bed?
Depending on the time of your baby’s last nap, a 5 month old should have a bedtime between 6-8pm. On average, a 5 month old will have between 2-3 hours of awake time between their last nap and when they go down for the night.
It may seem counterintuitive, but the more your baby sleeps during the day, the better they’ll sleep at night. This said, most experts assert that it’s important to put your baby to sleep when they are feeling drowsy, but awake. This allows your 5 month old to fall asleep on their own, with little reliance on you!
Routine is also such an important part of creating healthy sleep habits for your baby. By following a few of these guidelines, your baby (and you!) can better achieve quality sleep:
- Establish a sleep-time routine (ie: bath, books, bed)
- Be consistent with it!
- Darken the sleep space (close the curtains, soften the lights)
- Create a soothing environment (music, white noise, hushed voice)
- Keep calm (even when baby is crying)
When and how long should a 5-month-old nap?
When it comes to your 5 month old napping, so much depends on how long they stay awake between sleeps. If your baby’s “awake time” is between 2-3 hours on average between naps, then they’re likely taking 2-3 naps a day.
While it may seem counterintuitive, the better and more often your baby sleeps during the day, the better - and longer - they’ll likely sleep at night.
When should you feed a 5-month-old for the best sleep?
It’s important to remain flexible when it comes to feeding your 5 month old. At 5 months, most babies still wake to feed in the middle of the night, at least once. Some parents try to Dream Feed just before bedtime which allows them to get some more hours of sleep. A dream feed is feeding your baby just before you, the parent, goes to sleep. So if you’ve fed them at 7pm and then put them down for the night, you’ll feed them again around 10pm when they are probably still asleep. Doing this will likely mean that your baby won’t wake up in the middle of the night due to hunger, and you will get a longer stretch of sleep yourself.
What should parents expect in the next stage of sleep?
The next stages of sleep will continue to be consistently inconsistent! That’s because your baby will continue to grow and develop through various changes like teething, walking, talking, etc. This is why establishing, and sticking with, your nighttime routine will really make a difference. Even when the amount of sleep your baby gets will vary, having a consistent nighttime routine will help establish sleep cues so your baby will come to understand when it’s time for bed.
Tips for 5-month-old sleep schedules:
- Consistency: routine, routine, routine will help establish important sleep cues, so your baby knows when it’s time for sleep
- Sleep Training: teaching your baby to self-soothe is an important step in getting quality sleep
- Get Help: parenting is hard! Sleep (or lack thereof) can be stressful. When needed, talk to your pediatrician, join a parent group, or ask for help.
The Dreamland Baby line of products have been designed with better sleep in mind. Whether it’s your newborn who loves our weighted sleep swaddle, or your toddler who prefers to sleep in our weighted sleep sack, our products are designed to help baby feel calm, fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer. The gentle weight naturally reduces stress and increases relaxation through deep-pressure stimulation to give baby feelings of security and comfort - just like a hug! This typically results in longer stretches of quality sleep for baby… which means everyone gets a good night’s sleep, too!