This article outlines the average 5-month-old baby schedule, including milk feedings for breastfeeding and formula-feeding babies, solids, naps, and nighttime sleep.
5 month old baby’s sleep
At this age, if you are not lucky enough to have a baby who sleeps through the night, many 5-month-olds are still waking 1-3 times to eat at night. Anything more and likely you have a sleep association problem. Your 5-month-old should be taking 3-4 naps per day for a total of 3-4 hours per day plus 11-12 hours at night. If you’re having trouble with naps, you might be interested in helping your baby nap.
Obviously, all babies vary, but here are some sample schedules you can use to make your own for your unique baby. Schedules are iffy at this age because many babies simply cannot stay up past 2 hours to get to the next scheduled nap-time, so at this age, it’s likely naps are still on the short side, but come frequently. Over the next several weeks, you can work on getting down to just 3 naps to get closer to the 6 month schedule.
I should warn you that I am in the camp that breast milk or formula should be the primary nutrition for the first year and solids come secondary. Below are the amounts we recommend if your pediatrician recommends solids before 6 months, the age at which most are recommending now. For more information on starting your baby on solid food, we have a series of blog posts dedicated to the subject. We include recommendations about how and when to start solids, as well as helpful information on food allergies, recommended products, baby-friendly recipes, and more.
Amounts per day:
• At least 5-6 breastfeeding sessions per day (4-6 during daylight hours, and 1-3 at night) or 24-32 ounces formula or combination (decrease solids if your baby is not taking in at least this much)
• Water is unnecessary (breast milk and formula have plenty of water in them).
And, if your pediatrician recommends solids this young (it is generally recommended at 6+ months):
• Up to 1-2 servings baby cereal (1 serving = 1-2 Tablespoons dry)
• Up to 1-2 servings fruit (1 serving = 1-2 Tablespoons) If your baby has any constipation issues, focus on P-foods (pears, prunes, etc.)
• Up to 1-2 servings vegetable (1 serving = 1-2 Tablespoons)
Note: If you do not start solids until 6 months (like me!), you will work your way up slowly to the number of servings above.
This schedule works best for babies who become overtired quickly and can stay awake for about 1.5 – 2 hours between naps:
6:30 – Wake and Breast milk or Formula
7:15 – Solids (if your pediatrician has recommended starting this early)
8:00 – Morning Nap (at least 1 hour)
9:00 – Breast milk or Formula
11:00 – Nap (often 30-60 minutes at this age)
12:00 – Breast milk or Formula
1:30 – Breast milk or Formula
2:00 – Nap
4:00 – Breast milk or Formula
5:00 – Catnap (30 minutes)
6:30 – Begin bedtime routine
6:45 – Breast milk or Formula and Bedtime
7:00 – Goal to be asleep
+Plus possibly 1-2 nighttime feedings
If your baby is able to stay up longer between naps, and is not as sensitive to overtiredness, you may want to take a look at our 6 month schedule, and modify the schedule above to more closely match the 6 month schedule.
Note: Many people prefer to follow an eat-play-sleep routine, which is a good routine to follow, however, sometimes hard to implement at this age when the amount of time between naps is not long enough and your baby wakes too early from his nap because of a feeding. I take all of that into consideration when making my schedules. The most important part is to be careful not to create sleep associations with feedings too close to sleep times, which we saw become important at 4 months old.
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