If you have a 5 month old right now, you’re likely in this weird limbo of time where they’re no longer a newborn but they’re also not a full-fledged “baby” yet.
You may be wondering, “What is my baby’s sleep schedule?”
If that describes you, I’m so glad you found this blog post because I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about a 5 month sleep schedule.
Before I take a deeper dive into the 5 month old sleep schedule, let’s take a look at some quick facts.
Quick Fact #1: The 5 month old sleep schedule can begin 20 weeks from due date.
Quick Fact #2: Aim for 3 naps a day totaling 3.5 hours of daytime sleep.
Quick Fact #3: Think routine, not schedule (just like the 4 month sleep schedule!)
Okay, let’s talk about the 5 month old sleep schedule and how we’re going to implement it.
First of all, we need to acknowledge your 5 month old’s specific wake windows.
A wake window is the amount of time that your baby can handle being awake before they need to go to sleep.
A baby’s wake window helps them to build “sleep pressure” between each nap.
In order to sleep long enough for their nap, they have to be awake long enough without getting overtired.
The appropriate wake window for a 5 month old is 2-2.5 hours maximum.
We don’t want to push them to stay awake longer than that, otherwise they will become overtired.
Building the right amount of sleep pressure with the right wake window length will allow your 5 month old to take restorative naps AND sleep soundly through the night.
When it comes to beginning your baby’s wake window, you will start the wake window when they are taken out of their crib, not when they open their eyes.
When your 5 month old wakes for the morning, you will get them out of their crib, change their diaper, feed them, play a little, do a quick nap routine and put them down for nap #1 roughly 2 hours after they were taken out of their crib.
Notice I said 2 hours and not 2.5 hours.
Remember, the morning wake window is always the shortest one of the day because nap 1 acts as an extension of your baby’s nighttime sleep.
For bedtime, your 5 month old is capable of sleeping 11-12 hours through the night with one optional waking for a night feed.
Below is my 5 month old sleep schedule in detail.
Throughout the day and on replay, you are going to offer your 5 month old a nap after a 2-2.5 hour wake window.
You will aim to offer 3 naps that total 3.5 hours of daytime sleep.
Implement a 2 hour wake window before nap 1 and 2.25-2.5 hour wake windows before nap 2, nap 3, and bedtime!
Your nap lengths may break down differently each day and that’s typical.
It could be that all 3 naps are 1-1.5 hours in length.
Or, it could be that your 5 month old’s first two naps are longer (1-1.5 hours) and their 3rd nap is a “cat nap” on the go (20-30 minutes) before dinner.
It doesn’t matter what the nap breakdown looks like as long as you are aiming for 3.5 hours of total daytime sleep.
The only real guideline I have for you when it comes to naps is that you make sure you are spreading your baby’s 3.5 hours of daytime sleep across all 3 naps throughout the day.
Don’t let your baby tank up on nap 1, otherwise, they won’t take nap 2 or 3 as easily and that will lead to over-tiredness before bedtime.
Find a rhythm on the 3 nap schedule that works for you and your little one and use their wake windows as your guide.
It’s easy to cling tightly to the Eat-Play-Sleep rhythm when it comes to your baby’s feeding schedule.
However, Eat-Play-Sleep isn’t always going to happen so it’s important not to be married to it.
Remember to let the Eat-Play-Sleep rhythm go if it just isn’t working throughout the rest of the day.
In fact, it might only work in the morning before nap 1 and that’s okay.
Your baby isn’t a robot and they may need to have a feeding right before they go down for a nap.
At 5 months old, the important thing is that your little one is feeding every 3-4 hours at most throughout the day.
If you want to ensure that you’re not feeding your baby to sleep, then simply add in a few “buffer” minutes after they finish their feed before you do their nap routine and put them down for a nap.
If after watching this video you are thinking, “Oh my gosh, how am I even supposed to do three naps? My baby isn’t sleeping anywhere but on me?!” I want you to hear me out.
At five months old you really can make sleep a thing!
I have a specific plan for 5 month olds right inside of my Baby Sleep Course.
My comprehensive course gives you a step by step plan to follow that will have your 5 month old sleeping 11-12 hours all night long (with one possible night waking for a feed) and napping 3.5 hours daily.
My course gives you the confidence and the plan you need to make sleep a thing for your baby and your whole family.
I want to leave you with a few considerations as you begin implementing this 5 month sleep schedule with your baby.
I want to openly acknowledge that this 5 month sleep schedule will feel really fleeting because in the near future (around 6-7 months of age) your baby is going to experience yet another schedule change, the 3-2 nap transition.
Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about this change because I have the tools for this transition, too, and you will be able to find a comprehensive video on the 3-2 nap transition on my youtube channel!
Your baby was on a 4-nap schedule at 4 months, a 3-nap schedule currently at 5 months, and will soon be on a 2-nap schedule at 6-7 months.
You and your baby are experiencing continual changes right now and it’s okay if it feels a little crazy!
I don’t love to say that “This is a phase,” but this right now, “This is a phase.”
You are going to have a set schedule soon, I PROMISE.
For now though, your 5 month old needs this 3 nap schedule based around their wake windows.
Rest easy, knowing that this really is a short season and that we are here to help you make and keep sleep a thing, every step of the way.
Your 5 month old can make sleep a thing and have an ideal, predictable nap schedule for days and nights.
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