Let’s talk about your 5 month old’s sleep schedule. 5 months is an exciting time with lot’s going on. You are hopefully out of the four-month sleep regression by now, which, let’s face it, is probably a massive relief because that regression is a real doozy!
5 months is when you can really start to get your baby into a solid sleep schedule, with consistent naps, and you can even work on dropping night wakings; only if you want to, of course!
In this blog post I’m going to talk about how much sleep the average 5 month old usually gets, what to expect at this stage, some examples of sleep schedules for 5 month olds, and even how you can improve your little one’s sleep, if that’s something you are interested in.
Let’s dive in!
How much should a 5 month old sleep?
First of all, I want to make it clear that every baby is different. This means that although I’m going to talk about the average sleep needs of a five-month-old, this doesn’t mean this is the amount of sleep that every 5 month old needs.
Some babies are higher sleep needs, which means they are going to need more sleep than the average 5 month old, and some babies are lower sleep needs, which means they’re going to need less sleep than the average 5 month old. These averages can be helpful for parents though, because they are a great reference, or starting point so you have a general idea of what to expect and then you can tweak your baby’s schedule to find their optimal sleep needs and schedule.
The average 5 month old to take three naps a day, sleeps for 3.5 to 4.5 hours during the day, and sleeps for 11 to 12 hours a night, broken up for feedings.
|Age||Number of naps per day||Ideal length of naps||Awake time between naps||Awake time before bed||Average amount of daytime sleep||Average amount of nighttime sleep||Average amount of TOTAL sleep|
|5 months||3||60+ min||2 hours||2.5 hours||3.5-4.5 hours||11-12 hours*||14-16 hours|
* Broken for night feedings.
What to expect for my 5 month old’s sleep?
First of all, it’s very common for 5 month olds to be waking three times a night. If your baby is waking too early in the morning, and by too early I mean before 6 am, you can feed them and put them right back down to sleep. Another option is to give them some time to try and put themselves back to sleep. This is going to be more successful if you have already been working on independence sleep skills. (I go into this in much more detail in the section “how can I improve my five month old sleep schedule”.)
At 5 months, many babies have started to show signs of rolling. If this is the case for your little one, then you need to drop the swaddle, and move to a sleep sack. If your baby is not showing signs of rolling, then you can keep the swaddle, however I recommend swaddling with one arm out in order to help your baby learn to self-soothe.
Remember, we always want to put our babies to sleep on their back for safety reasons! If your baby is starting to learn to roll, it can be stressful to watch them attempt to roll to their stomach, or even completely roll onto their stomach. I totally get it! During this time, it can be helpful to do lots of tummy time during the day, and to use that time to practice rolling.
Many parents feel a lot more at ease when their babies are able to roll confidently from their back to stomach and then their stomach to back. That being said, if your little one can only roll from their back to their stomach, then you don’t need to go in to flip them over to their back. This is because, generally speaking, if they can roll from their back to their stomach and then they have strong enough muscles to maneuver their head so they are not face down in the mattress.
What should a 5 month old’s sleep schedule be & how much should they sleep?
As I mentioned above, it’s important to remember that every baby is different and thus a sleep schedule that works for one baby, isn’t necessarily going to work for another.
The 5 month old sleep schedules I’m going to talk about are the most common schedules for 5 month olds, however if your baby is on a different schedule that is working for them, there is no need to change it!
The most important piece to a 5 month old sleep schedule, is to remember that you still need to watch for overtiredness. This is key to great baby sleep!
In order to prevent overtiredness, you need to watch the clock and watch for sleepy cues. The wake windows between naps for a 5 month old are generally 2 hours, and 2.5 hours for the last wake window of the day before bed. The sleepy cues that you want to watch for include eyes staring off into the distance, calm still peaceful demeanor, subtle yawn, and a reddish hue on eyebrows and eyelids. If you notice any of these sleepy cues, and it is getting close to the end of the wake window, then you know it’s time to get your baby to sleep!
If your 5 month old has short naps, then you can either do an extra cat nap in the evening, or bump bedtime earlier in order to prevent overtiredness. If your baby goes to bed overtired, then they will likely have “false starts”. This means that they will wake very soon after going to sleep, and even do this a few more times through the early hours of the night. Definitely not ideal for either of you!
Examples of 5 month old sleep schedules & wake windows
Here are some basic examples of how you can approach your 5 month old’s sleep schedule. These schedules include wake windows, naps and bedtime!
Remember, it’s all about finding what works best for you and your baby!
5 month old sleep schedule for a solid 3 nap day :
|Time||Length of Nap|
|1st Nap||9:00am – 10:30am||90 min|
|2nd Nap||12:30pm- 2:00pm||90 min|
|3rd Nap||4:00pm – 5:00pm||60 min|
Total Sleep: 15.5 hours
5 month old sleep schedule for 3 naps and a cat nap:
|Time||Length of Nap|
|1st Nap||8:15am – 9:00am||45 min|
|2nd Nap||11:00am – 12:00pm||60 min|
|3rd Nap||2:00pm – 2:45 pm||45 min|
|Cat Nap||4:30pm – 5:00pm||30 min|
Total Sleep: 14 hours
5 month old sleep schedule for short naps and an early bedtime:
|Time||Length of Nap|
|Wake Up||7:00 am|
|1st Nap||9:00am – 9:30am||30 min|
|2nd Nap||11:30am – 12:30pm||60 min|
|3rd Nap||2:30pm – 3:15 pm||45 min|
Total Sleep: 15 hours
5 month old sleep schedule for high sleep needs baby:
|Time||Length of Nap|
|Wake Up||7:30 am|
|1st Nap||9:15 am -10:30am||75 min|
|2nd Nap||12:30 pm – 2:00pm||90 min|
|3rd Nap||4:00 pm- 5:00pm||60 min|
Total Sleep: 16 hours
5 month old sleep schedule for low sleep needs baby:
|Time||Length of Nap|
|Wake Up||6:00 am|
|1st Nap||8:30 am – 9:30am||60 min|
|2nd Nap||12:00pm – 1:00pm||60 min|
|3rd Nap||3:30 pm- 4:15pm||45 min|
Total Sleep: 13.25 hours
How can I improve my 5 month old’s sleep schedule?
If you are reading this, and you are thinking, “Wow. This is not my babies reality”, not to worry. This is a great time to improve your little one sleep. Of course, this is only if you want to. The bottom line is if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. You only need to make changes to your 5 month old’s sleep schedule if you want to.
If you ARE looking to improve your little one’s sleep, now is a great time to start teaching independent sleep skills.
What does this mean?
Sleep learning is the process of teaching your baby independent sleep skills so they optimize their sleep to get the restorative sleep they need. The way you go about teaching this skill is up to you.
Since every baby is different, we have many different approaches to helping families teach sleep skills that range from gradual to accelerated approaches. All of our approaches are grounded in science and promote attachment. This is a developmental process that begins in your baby’s zone of proximal development and continues as we build one skill on top of another in a way that is optimal for their learning and development.
The phases of all our sleep learning methods start with optimizing their sleep schedule, then teaching independent sleep initiation, followed by teaching nap lengthening and finally dropping night wakings (this can mean some wakings and leaving some feedings, or all wakings, or no wakings. Totally up to you!)
If you would like to learn more about our different approaches you can check out our 4-24 month course where I walk you through all the approaches, and teach you how to tailor each approach to best fit your baby, or if watching a course isn’t your thing, you can schedule a consultation with one of our amazing sleep consultants! Check out all of our sleep consultation options here.
Recap on 5 month old sleep schedules, naps & wake windows
I really hope this has been helpful and that even though every baby is different, this post provides you with some knowledge so you have the confidence to know how to get YOUR baby on their optimal 5 month old sleep schedule.
Please know that it’s totally normal for this to feel overwhelming. Sometimes you just need an expert to walk you through everything and just tell you how to help your little one get great sleep. Booking a sleep consultation is an investment in not only your baby’s sleep, but also your own. We all know that motherhood is more enjoyable, and everything is easier when we get the sleep we need and deserve.
P.S. Have you signed up for our FREE email series yet? All you do is put in your baby’s birthday and you get perfectly timed sleep tips, exactly when you need them! I’ll tell you everything you need to know about what to expect at 6 months, when to drop to 2 naps, tips and tricks for ALL the sleep regressions, how to deal with toddler power struggles, nap refusals, when to transition to a big kid bed and so much more. It’s all there!
PS- Still have a slightly younger baby? Check out a 4 month old sleep schedule here.