Approved by the What’s Up Moms Medical Advisory Board
So, at five months you might hear some fellow moms marveling that their kids are sleeping through the night. Listen, if your munchkin isn’t one of those babies, don’t worry one bit. Know that many babies don’t sleep through the night at this age (or have a consistent schedule), at least not without you teaching them how to do it. Parents who want to sleep train often start around this time (check in with your ped first), or at least they start exploring the various sleep training methods to see what might feel like a fit. The good news is that research shows that all the methods can work, so long as parents are consistent.
No matter where you fall on the sleep training spectrum, 5 months is a great time to prime baby for healthy sleep habits by teaching her to self-soothe and fall asleep independently. The key to that is to break disruptive sleep associations, like:
- nursing baby to sleep
- letting her sleep on you (a flat, stationary surface is best)
- rocking/ swinging/ strollering or otherwise cajoling her to sleep
That’s right, all those handy tools you have in your toolkit are going to have to go. Sorry! But think of it this way: once baby learns this skill, it will all be so worth it because she’ll be able to fall asleep independently at bedtime and whenever she wakes during the night. This is the foundation for full sleep training.
Focus on Building Your Evening Routine
At 5 months, those late afternoon/evening fussies are probably behind you, and now the name of the game is creating a reliable, predictable evening routine so you can help your baby learn some sleep habits. Bedtime is earlier now — usually somewhere in the 7-8pm range — and add a wind-down routine prior that might include a warm bath, baby massage, books, a song. Whatever works for your family, just keep it consistent.
At 5 months, you’re probably also:
- still generally following a loose Eat > Play > Sleep routine during the day, and awake increments are growing slightly longer
- offering 3-4 naps/day
- doing 1-2 nighttime feedings
Your daily schedule
It will vary, obviously, depending on whether you have an older child, whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding, whether you’re feeding on demand or in more of a schedule, and, of course, whether you’re working (from home or an office) or not. But here is an example of what an average day with a 5-month-old might look like:
7:00a- wake and feed
8:00a- playtime: books, tummy time, swing, bouncer seat, watch mom get dressed, etc.
9:00a- nap #1
10:00a- wake and feed
12:00p- nap #2
1:30p- wake and feed
2:00p -playtime. Note: this will likely be baby’s longest alert time of the day, so it’s a great time for errands, a park outing, etc.
4:00p – nap #3
4:45-5:00p wake and feed
6:30-7:00p- start bedtime routine: bath, books, massage, song, etc.
7:30 or 8:00p – nighty night! try not to let baby fall asleep on the boob, in your arms or in her swing
(11:00p- dreamfeed, if that’s your style)