Parents often ask me to provide them with a 5 month old schedule. I don’t love posting these because I don’t teach a “fixed” schedule where 9 am every day is nap time. I feel like fixed schedules and fixed nap time can set parents up to feel inadequate. Your typical day may not match this and that’s okay! Naps are evolving at 5 months and you may be transitioning from 4 down to 3 naps. Change is happening in this month.
In my private consultations and online class, I teach a “flexible schedule.” And that’s because a fixed schedule implies that you can control or predict how long your baby will sleep or nap, and that’s not always the case, especially when you just start working on your baby’s sleep.
Your child might be teething and be waking more in the night time, and that can influence the length of her naps the next day. Really it could go either way. She might take longer naps because she lost some sleep the night before, or she might be distracted by the swelling in her gums and wake up at 45 minutes on the dot for every nap that day where previously she had some hour long naps.
If you’re following a fixed schedule, and your LO has a short nap, you’ll have some self doubt then about when to put her down next for the nap. The nap was short so do you keep your tired and potentially cranky baby up to that set 12 pm nap time now? Or do you put her down early?
That’s why I like teaching a flexible schedule because it’s really parenting skills that teach you what your baby’s needs are by age, and then how to handle days that aren’t going your way.
But I do remember being a first time parent and wanting to have some frame or reference to know where my child stood in the sleep department. So here are some general guidelines and a 5 month old sample sleep schedule to give you a frame of reference.
5 Month Old Schedule on 4 Naps
Your 5 month old needs 3-4 hours of nap time per day, in either 3 or 4 naps.
6:30 am – Wake up and feed
8:00 am – Nap 1 – ideally 45 minutes or more
9:00 am – Wake up
10:00 am – Feed
11:00 am – Nap 2 – ideally 45 minutes or more
12:00 pm – Wake up
1:30 pm – Feed
2:00 pm – Nap 3 – ideally 45 min or more
2:45 pm – Wake up
4:45 pm – Nap 4 – cat nap only 30-40 minutes
5:15 pm – Wake up
5:15 pm – Feed
6:45 pm – Top up Feed
7:00 – Bedtime routine
7:15 pm – Asleep
EBF 1 night feed.
Formula feed 0-1 night feed.
Your 5 month old is likely on the transition from 4 down to 3 naps. This happens when your baby can stay awake a little longer between naps and one nap becomes longer. The 4 to 3 nap transition blog will give you more details on this transition and provide you with a 5 month old schedule on 3 naps.