At 5 months old, your baby is going through a real transitional phase, so trying to stick to a strict 5-month-old sleep schedule can have mixed results.
In any case, it’s a good time to try to go with the flow and remember that every day can be different.
For some mamas, there won’t be much predictability at this age, but for others, you might start seeing the newborn-sleep-fog clearing.
Here, we’ll look at some tips for establishing a 5-month-old schedule and how to approach the very random world of baby sleep.
In this article 📝
- How to get 5-month-old on a sleep schedule
- 5-month-old wake window
- How much sleep does a 5-month-old need?
- 5-month-old nap schedule
- What time should a 5-month-old go to bed?
- How can I get my 5-month-old baby to sleep through the night?
How to get 5-month-old on a sleep schedule
Although you might prefer to schedule your day with a bit more regularity, it’s still best to work your day around your baby’s wake windows, rather than striving for set nap times.
This can mean nap timings and lengths are different from day to day, which can be frustrating if you’re trying to make plans – or just leave the house. But it’s totally normal for now.
Even when following these tips, it’s normal for each day to vary, so don’t give up hope if your morning doesn’t go as planned.
Generally, after about six months, sleep patterns tend to get a bit more predictable, so things will probably settle down soon.
5-month-old wake window
As we said, this is a transitional period for your little one.
The amount of time they can happily stay awake between naps might vary depending on the time of day, how well they slept the night before, or just the mood they’re in.
Most 5-month-old sleep schedule plans will work around an awake period of between 1.5 and three hours, depending on how many naps your baby is taking.
Keep reading for more on that…
How much sleep does a 5-month-old need?
So how much sleep are we aiming for overall? In a 24 hour period, it’s ideal for your 5-month-old to have at least 14.5 hours of sleep.
Generally speaking, this will be split across 11-12 hours of overnight sleep and 2.5-3.5 hours of day sleep.
5-month-old nap schedule
When it comes to naps, what’s normal for a 5-month-old? Well, this is where things can get a bit tricky!
Around this age, it’s common for your baby to need either three or four naps per day, and it may be that they have three naps one day, but four the next.
If your baby gets tired after about an hour and a half of awake time, it’s probably best to stick to a four-nap schedule for now.
So you might be aiming for two shorter naps (of around 30-45 minutes) and two longer naps (of at least an hour) for a total of 3.5 hours of day sleep.
If your baby seems to be able to stay awake for two to three hours without becoming overtired, a three-nap schedule will likely work better for you, so baby’s bedtime doesn’t get pushed too late.
You might want to try two longer naps (at least an hour each) followed by a shorter nap of 30-45 minutes.
It’s not a bad goal to do as many naps in the crib as possible, but if you need to hold your baby to get a longer nap every now and then, it’s not the end of the world.
Dealing with an overtired baby is no fun for anyone, and tomorrow is another day. You’re doing a great job.
What time should a 5-month-old go to bed?
With this age still being so variable when it comes to day sleep, a set “bedtime” can be hard to achieve.
Aiming for somewhere between six pm and eight pm is common, but it comes down to keeping an eye on that last wake window of the day and making sure baby goes to bed before they become overtired.
Although the timing may still be up in the air, maintaining a consistent bedtime routine can help your baby to recognize that bedtime is coming and might make it easier to wind down from the day.
How can I get my 5-month-old baby to sleep through the night?
At 5 months, it’s probably too early to expect your baby to sleep right through the night, though you might get one or two unbroken nights here and there.
One, two, or three overnight feeds are still common.
Once your baby starts rolling or even attempting to roll, it’s time to either take away the swaddle or do arms out.
You should still put your baby down to sleep on their back even if they can roll.
But if your unswaddled baby rolls in their sleep and resettles happily on their tummy, it’s fine to leave them that way.
If your baby has recently learned to roll, they might be waking more often, confused about how they ended up on their tummy when they fell asleep on their back.
Give them a minute to see if they can turn themselves back over, but if they’re unhappy on their tummy and can’t roll back onto their back, it’s time for you to step in.
Let’s finish up by answering some common questions about 5-month-old baby sleep schedule ideas.
Are 30-minute naps normal for 5-month-old?
Yep. Sorry. This age can be prime time for catnapping, where your baby wakes after just one frustratingly short sleep cycle.
It’s all part of the sleep regression that commonly crops up between three and five months.
Your baby’s sleep hormones are changing and they’re getting more and more interested in the world around them, so gone are the days of long naps no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
If you think your baby might be waking early out of hunger, you can try altering your eat-play-sleep routine to feed your baby closer to their nap time.
A feed half an hour after waking, as opposed to right away, might help extend the next sleep period.
Is it too late to sleep train a 5-month-old?
Nope, not at all. Generally speaking, babies are developmentally ready to start sleep training right around this age.
Learning some key sleeping skills can help you get out the other side of the four-month sleep regression if you’re currently in the thick of it.
There’s no exact science to babies, especially when it comes to sleep, and it’s easy for things to go off the rails when you least expect it.
If you’re finding each day is a struggle, aim to have a few days spent at home where you can really focus on your baby’s tired signs and sleep cues, doing naps in their crib when you can.
This might help reset your expectations for the coming weeks. You’ve got this!
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