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5 Month Old Sleep Schedule Ideas

A 5-month-old sleep schedule will often consist of 3 daytime naps with 11-12 hours at night, we want to see a minimum of 10 hours of nighttime sleep. If you are looking for 5 month old sleep schedule ideas, this article will review both daytime management and nighttime routine.

As a mom of two toddlers who also holds her certification as a Pediatric Sleep Consultant, I help families achieve restful nights and improve naps. I will educate you on the variety of 5-month sample schedules you can use.

Typically we will see a 5-month-old requiring 3 naps (potentially 4 naps) per day with 11-12 hours of sleep at night, we would like to see a minimum of 10 hours of night sleep.

A 5-month-old requires a total of 15 hours of sleep in 24 hours. This indicates we would usually see 3-4 hours of sleep during the day, split over 3 naps. The reason some 5-month-old babies take 4 naps a day is often when we are seeing short or micro naps, meaning the baby is napping for 20-45 minutes without any naps lengthening to an hour or longer.

Wake Windows

5 Month Old Sleep Schedule Ideas

A 5-month-old baby has wake window lengths that range between 1.75-2.5 hours. This is a broad range and every baby is different, requiring a wake window length that works for their individual needs. Keep in mind the last wake window before bed is often the longest, with the first wake window of the day (before nap 1) being the shortest in length.

For a 5-month-old baby, you can always pair wake windows with sleep cues to find their ideal wake window length. When a baby is showing level 1 sleep cues this is often the ideal time to prep them for sleep.

Once baby reaches level 2 they are already tired and should be sleeping. If we over-extend wake windows, we may hit level 3 sleep cues which is a frantic and over-tired baby, having them fall asleep independently during this stage is next to impossible.

To target your baby’s ideal wake window, use the level of sleep cues to determine when they would be naturally ready for sleep.

Level 1: Prep For Sleep

  • Red/Pink Eyebrows
  • Glossy Eyes
  • Zones Out
  • Avoids Eye Contact

Level 2: Needs Sleep

  • Big Yawns
  • Fussiness
  • Irritable/Mood Swings
  • Rubbing Eyes

Level 3: Over-tired

  • Arching Away/Arching Back
  • Excessive Screaming
  • Hysterically Crying
  • Pushing Away

Daytime Naps

baby napping

As mentioned above the average amount of daytime naps for a 5-month-old is 3 naps. We can often see nap durations start to lengthen anywhere between 4-6 months of age. Naps can range from 30 minutes upwards of 2 hours. If your 5-month-old can fall asleep on their own for naps, this will give them the greatest probability of taking naps beyond the 20-45 minute range.

When a baby can fall asleep on their own, they know where they are upon falling asleep and they do not rely on external sources (feeding, motion, you) to fall back asleep when they shift from one sleep cycle to the next.

This is why many parents focus on independent and healthy sleep habits for their 5-month-old.

If your 5-month-old seems to notoriously take short naps and naps upwards of 4 times a day, it could be related to not having enough time awake before each nap segment.

Signs your 5-month-old is Ready for a 3 nap a-day Routine

  • Protesting or refusing the final nap of the day
  • The last nap is interfering with bedtime or pushes bedtime too late
  • Waking up early from all or most naps (content)
  • Happy during the entire wake window with no signs of level 1 sleep cues
  • Sleeping longer for nap 1/nap 2

Nap Lengths

It is important to achieve a minimum of 3 hours of daytime sleep without exceeding 4 hours of daytime sleep. Anywhere within this range will meet your baby’s sleep needs. With that said, you can have naps of varying lengths. I love 5-month-old sleep schedules because you have a fair amount of flexibility in adjusting the nap routine to meet you and your baby’s needs.

For example, if you have a doctor’s appointment in the morning and this will only allow for a 45-minute first nap, you have the chance to make up sleep later in the day with a second and third nap.

If the minimum requirement is 3 hours of daytime sleep you only need to focus on achieving 2 hours plus 15 minutes of sleep over the two other naps. You can aim for the second nap to be 1 hour+15 minutes and the final nap to be an hour in length.

If your baby is sleeping soundly for their first nap, always wake them by the two-hour mark to keep their feeds on track, then adjust the following naps to avoid oversleeping during the day. The second nap can be a full hour with a third cat nap.

If you have errands to run later in the day, you can leave the house a few minutes prior to the time you suspect your baby will fall asleep, this can allow a cat nap on the go to bridge to bedtime.

Expert Sleep Tip: Aim for the first nap of the day to be at home within your baby’s sleep space. When we start the day with a solid first nap, we have increased flexibility with nap 2 or 3 being on the go if needed. This can serve a positive purpose if we have daycare or school pick-up for older kids.

Below are examples of 5-month-old sleep schedules:

5-Month-Old Sample Schedule, wake windows 1.75/2/2/2.5:

  • 7:00 am – Up/Milk Feed
  • 8:45-10:00 am – Nap 1 (1.25 hours)
  • 10:00 am – Milk Feed
  • 12:00-1:15 pm – Nap 2 (1.25 hours)
  • 1:15 pm – Milk Feed
  • 3:15-4:30 pm – Nap 3 (1.25 hours)
  • 4:30 pm – Milk Feed
  • 6:30 pm – Bedtime Milk Feed
  • 7:00 pm – Bedtime

The above sample schedule would be suitable for a baby on the lower end of the wake window range. This is also suitable for the baby who is capable of napping beyond 45 minutes. This sample provides 3.75 hours of daytime sleep with 12 hours of nighttime sleep, for a total of 15.75 hours of sleep. For the baby who needs higher than average sleep, this would be fitting for them.

5-Month-Old Sample Schedule, wake windows 1.75/2/2.25/2.5:

  • 7:00 am – Up/Milk Feed
  • 8:45-10:00 am – Nap 1 (1.25 hours)
  • 10:00 am – Milk Feed
  • 12:00-1:00 pm – Nap 2 (1 hour)
  • 1:00 pm – Milk Feed
  • 3:15-4:30 pm – Nap 3 (1.25 hours)
  • 4:30 pm – Milk Feed
  • 6:30 pm – Bedtime Milk Feed
  • 7:00 pm – Bedtime

The above sample schedule is for a baby who gradually needs an increase in wake windows as the day goes on, it also provides 3.5 hours of daytime sleep with 12 hours at night, for a total of 15.5 hours of sleep in 24 hours.

5-Month-Old Sample Schedule, wake windows 2/2.25/2.5/3:

  • 7:00 am – Up/Milk Feed
  • 9:00-10:00 am – Nap 1 (1 hour)
  • 10:00 am – Milk Feed
  • 12:15-1:30 pm – Nap 2 (1.25 hours)
  • 1:30 pm – Milk Feed
  • 4:00-5:00 pm – Nap 3 (1 hour)
  • 5:00 pm – Milk Feed
  • 7:30 pm – Bedtime Milk Feed
  • 8:00 pm – Bedtime

The above sample schedule is for a 5-month-old baby who tolerates longer wake windows and needs an above-average wake window before bed. This sample schedule provides 3.25 hours of daytime sleep with 11 hours of nighttime sleep, for the 5-month-old that struggles with a full 12-hour night, this schedule provides 14.25 hours of total sleep and is appropriate for a baby with lower sleep needs.

5-Month-Old Sample Schedule, wake windows 1.75/2/2.25/2.75:

  • 7:00 am – Up/Milk Feed
  • 8:45-10:30 am – Nap 1 (1.75 hours)
  • 10:30 am – Milk Feed
  • 12:30-1:30 pm – Nap 2 (1 hour)
  • 1:30 pm – Milk Feed
  • 3:45-4:30 pm – Nap 3 (45 minutes)
  • 4:30 pm – Milk Feed
  • 6:45 pm – Bedtime Milk Feed
  • 7:15 pm – Bedtime

The above sample schedule is ideal for a 5-month-old that enjoys taking a long first nap. This provides 3.5 hours of daytime sleep with 11.75 hours at night for a total of 15.25 hours.

If your 5-month-old wakes after 1.5 hours for the first nap, adjust each nap with the age-appropriate wake windows. Keep in mind if they miss out on 30 extra minutes of snoozing during the day, they still hit the minimum 3 hours of daytime sleep.

Alternative 5-Month-Old Sample Schedule (short/micro naps):

  • 7:00 am – Up/Milk Feed
  • 8:45-9:30 am – Nap 1 (45 minutes)
  • 9:45 am – Milk Feed
  • 11:15-12:00 pm – Nap 2 (45 minutes)
  • 12:15 pm – Milk Feed
  • 2:00-2:45 pm – Nap 3 (45 minutes)
  • 3:00 pm – Milk Feed
  • 4:45-5:30 pm – Nap 4 (45 minutes)
  • 5:30 pm – Milk Feed (top up)
  • 7:15 pm – Milk Feed
  • 7:45 pm – Bedtime

If your 5-month-old takes 30-45 minutes all day and wakes up consistently happy, this is a good indication they are ready for longer wake windows. Only adjust the wake window before the nap that is short or problematic.

5-Month-Old Feeding Needs

5-Month-Old Feeding Needs

Since your baby is older we do not need to feed as frequently during the day (every 2-2.5 hours) since your baby has a higher capacity to take in larger volumes per feed and therefore spread feeds slightly further apart during the day. Regardless you still want to offer feeds approximately every 3-3.5 hours throughout the entire day, avoid exceeding 4 hours feed to feed.

Some 5-month-old babies are showing all signs of readiness relating to being ready to start solids. Always receive approval from your baby’s physician or Paediatrician if you have questions or want confirmation. We ideally want to see 5-6 milk feeds during the day.

This is also when we often will see night feeds drop out completely or move to one night feed. Every baby is different. I have seen exclusively breastfed babies stop their night feeds at 12 weeks of age and others hang on to a feed until they are reliably taking solids at 6 months of age. For the babies who are strictly on bottles, since you as the parent can see and measure the quantity they take during the day, you will have a better idea if they are receiving adequate daytime caloric intake. This can help you determine if your baby is waking at night out of habit or due to true hunger.

If your baby is bottle feeding and taking a large volume overnight, this will naturally cut back how many ounces they will take in their bottles during the night. This is also known as reverse cycling. Once you determine if your baby is waking out of habit, you can slowly cut back the ounces offered at night for your baby to pick those calories up during the day.

Once we see wake windows reaching 2 hours and above, some babies will need a snack or top-up feed before their nap to avoid waking up early due to hunger.

Again for the babies who are on bottles they usually can go the 3-3.5 hours before needing a feed, some babies can do a full 4 hours feed to feed if they can naturally intake a larger volume. For babies who are exclusively breastfed, if you find baby is waking up early from naps with hunger signs, you can try offering a top-up feed 20 minutes before nap.

Expert Sleep Tip: Feeding 20-30 minutes before the nap vs. directly before the nap can help avoid creating a feed-to-sleep association. It is also recommended to keep the baby awake and feeding outside of the nursery can help with this challenge.

5-Month-Old Sleep Struggles

baby yawning

You may have heard about the 4-month sleep regression, this is a developmental and permanent change to your baby’s sleep cycles. The 4-month sleep regression can occur as early as 12 weeks of age and as “late” as 5 months of age. During a sleep regression parents often notice an increase in night wakings, early morning rising, and protesting the process of falling asleep for naps or bedtime. 

If you are now starting to experience sleep struggles, this is an ideal time if you want to improve sleep for your baby through a sleep training method you feel most comfortable with. 

Another common sleep struggle for a 5-month-old is mastering the skill set of rolling. When your baby is placed on their back which is important for safe sleep practices, they eventually learn to roll. Upon reaching their belly your baby may startle and cry, unsure how to flip back over. 

You can go into your little one’s room and re-position the baby onto their back, however, your baby may continue to flip over onto their belly, causing this to be repetitive. It’s best to practice tummy time during the day and help encourage your baby to roll back to the belly during periods of wake time. 

Expert Sleep Tip: If your baby is approaching the 5-month mark and still swaddled, you want to transition them into a sleep sack. Approaching the time of rolling if a baby is still swaddled it poses a risk factor. There are transitional suits you can try before moving to a sleep sack. 

Ideal Bedtime

It is best to base bedtime off wake windows if the last nap of the day varies in length. Ideally, we are placing the baby down 11-12 hours from the time they woke up in the morning. The best determining factor for bedtime is to base it on age-appropriate wake windows, with the last wake window of the day being the longest.

Usually, a baby’s sleep drive is highest between 7:00 – 8:00 pm. If your 5-month-old requires a full 2.5 hours before bed. The last nap would end between 4:30-5:30 pm. 

FAQs – 5-Month-Old Sleep Schedules

Question: How long should a 5-month-old be up between naps?

Answer: Wake windows for a 5-month-old are between 1.75-2.5 hours, therefore your baby should be awake at least 1.75 hours before being placed down for a nap and ideally not exceeding 2.5 hours before presenting the opportunity for sleep.

Question: How long can a 5-month-old sleep at night?

Answer: A 5-month-old baby can sleep through the night. This can encompass sleeping for 6-8 hours, having a feed, and going back down for the remainder of the night. If your 5-month-old is waking multiple times a night and struggles to fall back asleep independently, you may consider focusing on improving sleep for your baby.

Question: What is a typical sleep schedule for a 5-month-old?

Answer: We would see an average of 3 naps a day (max 4), achieving 3-4 hours of daytime sleep and 10-12 hours of sleep overnight.

Question: What time should a 5-month-old wake up for the day?

Answer: Ideally we want to see 11-12 hours of night sleep, with a minimum of 10 hours of sleep at night. With that said, if you baby is falling asleep at bedtime between 7:00-8:00 pm we can expect a wake up anywhere between 6:00-8:00 am. It is most common for a wake up anywhere between 6:30-7:30 am for a 5-month-old baby.

Final Thoughts

At 5 months of age, we can start seeing consistency in daytime naps, lengthening naps, and longer stretches of night sleep, with the potential to sleep through the night. You are gearing up to introduce solids so keep your eyes peeled for signs of readiness, a full belly will be imperative to successful sleep. 

If your 5-month-old is struggling with short cat naps or micro naps, know it can be due to a wake window issue or a sleep association. If you’ve been nap trapped for 5-months this may be the turning point to focus on improving sleep for your family unit.

You have many tools available with proper wake window knowledge and if you need additional support there are many sleep consultants would focus on customizing a plan suitable for your baby.

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