So you thought that your household had just mastered this whole sleeping thing.
And then the 5-month sleep regression hits.
First up, it’s likely that all the progress you made was not for naught.
5-month-old sleep problems are normal.
And they don’t mean that any progress you’ve made towards the holy grail of sleeping through the night has been lost.
While it may be little comfort when you’re running on caffeine and positive thinking, this phase is only temporary — and often means your baby is doing exactly what they’re supposed to do.
We’ll take you through the details.
In this article: 📝
- Is there a sleep regression at 5 months?
- Why is my 5-month-old suddenly not sleeping?
- How long does 5-month sleep regression last?
- How to deal with 5-month sleep regression
- How to get 5 month old to sleep through the night
Is there a sleep regression at 5 months?
There can be.
In fact, sleep regressions can happen at any time in your baby’s first years on the planet.
In fact, many experts are reluctant to call them sleep regressions at all.
They’re simply a natural response to all the growing, changing, and developing that happens at this time of life.
They’re also not a given — so if your baby doesn’t go through one, it’s not a cause for concern.
While you may hear more about the 4-month-old sleep regression, these snooze disruptions don’t always stick to a strict schedule — so it’s totally possible that they could appear a month earlier or later.
5-month sleep regression signs include:
- Increased fussiness, both at sleep times and when they’re awake
- Taking longer to fall asleep
- No longer sleeping through the night (in 6 to 8-hour stretches) when they had done so before
- Not wanting to nap
- Short naps
- Frequent night wakings
Why is my 5-month-old suddenly not sleeping?
First up, your baby is learning to sleep like an adult.
Their circadian rhythms (that’s the internal clock that dictates our sleep cycles) haven’t developed yet.
So they sleep whenever they wish, which usually amounts to somewhere between 14 and 17 hours a day of slumber.
They also spend far more time in REM sleep (the sleep state associated with dreaming) than adults do.
In their first three months of life, they start to fall more in line with day and night and spend more time in a deeper sleep.
But this transition is not without its potential humps.
As they become proficient at sleeping like a grownup, there may be a bit of an adjustment period.
By the time they get to 5-months, their sleep schedule looks something like this:
- They need between 12 and 15 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period.
- That’s typically divided into 3 or 4 naps and a longer sleep at night. (The naps should total between 4 and 5 hours
But things don’t always go according to plan.
During this time, they’re figuring out all sorts of incredible things about their bodies and the world, and all this excitement can get in the way of a good night’s rest.
They also want to reach out and grasp objects around them.
But as exciting as all these physical and cognitive leaps are, unfortunately, they can get in the way of their sleep.
And bad sleep for baby means bad sleep for you.
How long does 5-month sleep regression last?
The good news is that in about two to six weeks, this sleep regression should be a thing of the past.
In some cases, they only take a few days to get through it.
(Of course, this can feel like an eternity if you’re in the middle of one, but know there is a light at the end of this tunnel.)
Some babies start sleeping through the night from 3 months old — but this is not a hard and fast rule.
It may be a little later for your child — or a lot later.
Of course, it can be incredibly frustrating if they have been sleeping through and are suddenly waking up multiple times.
But it’s usually nothing to worry about, and it’s likely that this phase will pass quickly.
If your little one’s sleep disturbances are accompanied by other symptoms, like a fever over 102.2°F (39°C), diarrhea, or vomiting, it’s worth checking in with your doctor as these could be signs of infection or illness.
How to deal with 5-month sleep regression
First things first: look after yourself.
Dealing with a 5-month sleep regression can be exhausting, to say the least!
And you can only be there for your baby if you take care of your own well-being, as well.
Now’s the time to call on your community.
Partners, friends, and family can be great allies through this sleepless time.
Take naps when your baby naps (when you can!), eat nutritious meals, and make sure you do something for yourself every week — something simple like a walk with a friend can go a long way.
Now for more tried-and-tested tips to help your little one get the zzz’s they need during a 5-month sleep regression, from real moms who’ve been there:
Start a bedtime routine
Keep it simple, with a clear goal in mind: to help baby wind down from the day.
After all, everything’s new for your babe right now, even at 5 months old!
It’s a lot for a little mind to process.
Start with a relaxing bath, using calming, baby-friendly bath products ‒ the favorite of our Peanut moms is the Childs Farm SlumberTime™ 3-step routine.
Not only is this range pediatrician and dermatologist approved, it’s been formulated using Dreamscentz™ sleep-enhancing technology and is clinically proven to help aid a better night’s sleep for your babe ‒ yes, you heard that right!
Start with the lavender and moon milk-scented bath soak to relax and cleanse baby’s delicate skin, offering up to 12 hours of hydration.
Then follow with their calming massage lotion, the rich cream-to-oil formulation leaves baby’s skin feeling moisturized for up to 24 hours.
And finally, it’s time for a quick spritz of baby’s bedding with their secret weapon for baby sleep: the SlumberTime™ Sleep Mist.
Then it’s time to get your snuggle on, leaving the digital distractions at the door ‒ tablets, TV, those super-annoying noisy baby toys ‒ recent studies have shown that screentime can have an impact on baby’s sleep, especially if it’s close to bedtime.
Rock, sing, comfort, relax, read a book.
And if you or baby prefers some sound to sleep to, a white noise machine can also help (the exception to the no-electronics rule!).
Schedule, schedule, schedule!
Schedule naps and bedtimes around the same time every day.
It doesn’t have to be perfect, just do what you can.
You might find these schedules help you, too!
Learn their sleep cues
Yawning, rubbing eyes or ears, looking away and general fussiness are usually good indicators.
If you notice baby showing their tiredness, take advantage of it and get them to bed!
Put them to sleep drowsy but not asleep
If baby falls asleep elsewhere, moving them could wake them up.
And that’s the last thing you need right now.
Just make sure they’re well-fed and that their diaper is changed before you put them to sleep.
If they wake up during the night, pause before checking on them
They may fall back to sleep themselves.
If they don’t, try to comfort them without lifting them out of their bassinet or crib.
Our top tip is to invest in a high-quality baby monitor, so you can check in on baby without risking properly waking them up.
We love the Dreamsense Smart Baby Monitor for its HD night-vision camera that picks up sound, humidity, temperature, and light, so you can see exactly what’s disturbing baby’s sleep — all from their handy app!
Through all this, remember to follow the safe sleep guidelines.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies sleep in their own crib or bassinet, on their backs, dressed according to the room temperature so that they don’t overheat.
Steer clear of loose bedding and soft toys as these pose a risk of suffocation.
How to get 5 month old to sleep through the night
There’s no magic formula here, but there are some sleep training methods you might want to try.
And bedtime routines, like having a bath and soothing massage with baby-friendly, relaxing products (shout-out to the Childs Farm SlumberTime™ 3-step routine again!), can work wonders.
And you can check out these baby sleep tips from moms who have been there.
Experts recommend that you wait until your baby’s about 6 months old, so this might just be the perfect time to start.
You’ve got this.
As always, if you need support along the way, your Peanut Community is here for you.
And if you want to chat with other moms to swap tips, tricks, and advice on sleep routines and keeping your baby’s skin happy and healthy, you’re always welcome to join the Childs Farm ‘Pass It On’ Group.