Your baby is growing and changing each day; this is such a fun stage! Aside from your five-month-old baby’s sleep schedule changing, he is smiling, laughing, regularly interacting with you, and rolling around your living room.
These are great times to be a parent! It’s nice to see your baby with some personality and spunk after months of having a blob-like baby.
Hopefully, at this point, your baby is out of the four-month sleep regression, but you may still be feeling some of the effects of that struggle. We’re going to take a look at what you should expect this month and some potential problems you might face this month.
Let’s get started!
How Many Hours Should a Five-Month-Old Baby Sleep?
Now, you’re slowly working towards consolidating naps, which will make scheduling even more comfortable than before.
A baby of this age still sleeps a lot. He should take three or four naps per day for a total of three or four hours plus sleep 11 to 12 hours at night. Those hours at night are rarely consecutive. Most babies will wake up between one to three times per night to eat.
Most babies are unable to stay up longer than two hours at a time before they need to nap again. Trying to push the awake time longer will result in an unhappy, overtired baby who fights going to sleep again for the next naptime or bedtime.
Should He Sleep Through The Night?
As we discussed in the fourth-month-old sleeping guide, chances are your baby won’t be sleeping through the night at this point. Sleeping through the night is defined as a five or six-hour stretch of time, and most babies at this age still need to wake up in the middle of the night to eat.
If you’re lucky enough to have a baby who sleeps through the night at this stage, be thankful! It means that you and your baby figured out a schedule and routine that works well for you too.
How Much Should a Five-Month-Old Baby Eat?
For your five-month-old, breastmilk or infant formula is still the primary nutrition for this age. It needs to come before solid foods. At this time, your pediatrician might recommend that you start introducing some solid foods if your child meets the milestones required. Otherwise, you will add solid foods around six months old.
So, your baby is going to still eat at night; you can expect your baby to eat one to three times per night.
This is crucial:
How much your baby eats throughout the day does affect sleep. If your child doesn’t eat enough throughout the day, then it makes sense that your baby will try to make up for that at night. So, if your baby seems to be waking up a lot at night and is hungry, make sure you’re feeding your baby enough during the day.
- Chances are your breastfed baby is nursing every two to three hours at this point. Most breastfed babies never go longer than three hours without eating. So, expect to nurse your baby five to seven times throughout the day.
- Formula-fed babies need an average of 24 to 32 ounces per day. If you are introducing solids, you can slightly decrease this amount once your baby gets the hang of eating solid foods.
- If you decided to introduce solid foods at five months rather than six months, here are the general amounts recommended.
1-2 servings of baby cereal
1-2 servings of fruit
1-2 servings of vegetables
A Sample of a 5-Month-Old Baby Sleep Schedule
Our goal with this schedule is to avoid your baby becoming overtired. Remember that your baby can stay awake for a maximum of two hours between naps. Babies tend to want their first-morning nap rather soon after waking up for the day.
If you find that your baby can stay up longer between naps, you can increase the time before the next nap. Try to increase that time gradually. Move it by 20 to 30 minutes to see how your baby handles the time change.
|Wake Up & Feed
|Feeding and Nap
|Start Bedtime Routine
|1-3 nighttime feedings
Potential Sleeping Problems with Your Five-Month-Old
Here are some problems that you might face with your baby this month.
My Baby is Waking Up a Tons Again!
Do you feel like your baby is back in another sleep regression? While some babies have a regression around four months old, it’s also possible for it to be closer to five months old.
Regressions happen for a reason. They’re tied to developmental milestones, such as working on a new skill or a significant change in their sleeping cycles. Either way, when your child is working on something major, their sleep can be temporarily affected.
If you already hit the four-month sleep regression, check to make sure your baby isn’t teething. Teething is a primary culprit behind sleeping issues for the first year; it doesn’t feel good at all! When your baby is teething and lying down, it can make their ears hurt as well.
No teeth? ?
Your baby might be working on a developmental milestone, such as independently sitting. Doctors cannot fully explain to us why babies stop sleeping well, but there is typically something major on the horizon. Be sure to stay consistent and not change anything. It will pass, but if you change how your baby goes to sleep, they might not adjust back as fast.
When Do I Need to Move My Baby to His Crib?
Around five-months-old is when your baby might become too big for his bassinet. You might have to move your baby to his crib, and that can seriously disrupt sleep. He’s spent his entire life sleeping in his bassinet or co-sleeper in your room, so you should expect some hiccups.
Here are some signs that your baby is ready for his crib.
- He’s over the height or weight limit for the bassinet.
- He can roll over both ways.
- Your baby can sit up independently.
- You notice that your baby is waking himself up at night by rolling into the side of the bassinet.
- He has less room to stretch out, which is causing him to wake up more often.
If you decide it’s time to move your baby, start with trying one nap a day for a few days. It will take time for your baby to adjust, so have plenty of patience. Once the first nap is good, move to a second nap. Leave nighttime for the last transition.
Do I Need to Sleep Train My Baby?
Sleep training is not a need, but rather something that some parents want to do. It’s not a necessity to encourage your baby to sleep well.
Yay or Nay?
You’ll find that sleep training is a controversial subject in the parenting world, with people on both sides of the fence. In the end, you should understand it’s not a necessity, and there are ways to sleep train without allowing your baby to cry it out. If you decide to use that route, it’s your parental choice, but don’t feel forced to do something that doesn’t feel right to you.
The most important thing for you to work on now is to develop a great sleep routine, especially at night. You can try a no-tears method for sleep training called The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley, M.D.
My Child Cannot Go to Sleep Without Rocking or Nursing – What Can I Do?
Sleep associations can be a real problem as your baby gets older IF it bothers you. I never minded rocking my babies to sleep, but if it bothers you or makes your baby sleep worse, then it might need to be changed.
Understand that it took five months to develop these sleep associations, so you cannot get rid of them in a day. It takes time for you to get rid of these associations.
If you always rock your baby to sleep, rock your baby until he is drowsy and lay him down. Yes, your baby is going to be upset. Pat your baby’s bottom, rub his back and encourage him to fall asleep. Remember, he should be sleepy when you do this.
Continue to do this for a few days for bedtime and nighttime. ?
If you find that your baby is waking up every hour to breastfeed, that is a sleep association, and if it’s bothering you, you don’t have to offer the breast. Pat his bottom, snuggle and kiss him, and try anything to comfort your baby during this time. Eventually, your baby will understand that he doesn’t need to nurse as much at night.
However, before you do that, be sure you’re feeding your baby enough during the day!
Consistency Is Key
Babies at this age need as much consistency as possible. They need to know what is coming next; routines help your baby feel secure. At this time, your baby is working on consolidating naps and avoiding being overtired. Try following the suggested schedule, and look forward to next month when solid foods will come into play for most babies!
Hey, this is Linda. My biggest accomplishment in life is being a mother of four children. Their current ages range from almost ten years old down to 20 months old.
I’m passionate about writing parenting articles because I understand so well all of the problems and trials you face as a parent. From breastfeeding woes to budgeting problems and behavior problems, along with everything in between, chances are I’ve faced it over the last ten years. Read more about Linda here.