Dr. Sarah Mitchell
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What You Need to Know About Your 5 Month Old Baby Sleep

By 5 months, your baby has likely doubled her birth weight.  So much change has been happening to your little one and her sleep should be starting to stabilize.

Here are 3 Things You Need to Know About Your 5 Month Old Sleep.

  1. How Much Should a 5 Month Old Sleep? 
  • Most 5 month olds need 11-12 hours of overnight sleep.  11 hours is more common, while 12 hours is a lovely thing.   
  • Most 5 month old needs 3-4 hours of naps
  • Most importantly is that overall range of 15 hours of total 24 hour sleep. 
  1. Your 5 Month Old Baby Needs 11-12 hours of Nighttime Sleep  

When parents come to me for help at 5 months, it’s very common that they are feeding to sleep 2-3 times per night, or more.  Sometimes they aren’t feeding to sleep but rocking or re-inserting a pacifier throughout the night. The end goal of my class or coaching is that your average 5 month old is eating 0-1 times in the night assuming good milk supply and proper weight gain.  Many formula feed babies will be able to sleep 11 hours without eating. On average, EBF babies are eating once, but I do frequently see some babies sleeping 11 hours without eating.  That’s not necessarily average though. 

  1. Your 5 Month Old Baby Needs 3-4 hours of Daily Nap Hours 

Naps at 5 months are starting to stabilize and move toward a 3 nap schedule around 6 months.  You can read more about 5 month old sleep schedules here,

5 months is often the transition from 4 naps down to 3 naps which you can read more specifically about here.

At this age, that long morning nap tends to be shortening up.  The longer nap is slowly becoming the 2nd nap of the day.  Ideally you’re seeing more 45 minute or longer naps. 

If taking 4 naps, the 4th nap is usually a cat nap of 30-40 minutes.

If your first two naps are an hour or longer, you might be only having 3 naps and that 3rd nap is 30-40 minutes in length. 

What’s important at this age is that your baby is connecting sleep cycles on at least one nap of the day and having at least one nap that is longer than 45 minutes. 

If you’re stuck on 45 minute naps only, read this article Blissful Baby Naps and Why You’re Not Having Them

If you still haven’t recovered from the 4 month sleep regression, you might be having numerous night waking.  This is because the drive to sleep is biological, but the way we sleep is a learned habit.  Overtime, your baby has learned to rely on you to help her back to sleep when she wakes in the night.

5 Month Old Baby Sleep Regression

Sleep regressions are always related to progress, your baby is growing physically or neurologically.  Sleep tends to be disrupted during this time as your baby is distracted by physical discomfort, such as teething, or neurological leaps such as learning to roll, pull up or walk.  Both these things distract your little one from relaxing down into sleep.

It’s common to see a content but awake baby in the middle of the night hanging out happily in her crib when she’s learning to roll.  Rolling can happen as early as 4 months but 5 months tend to be an average time for this to occur.  This can also manifest with 5 am wake ups.

In general, most literature doesn’t point to a 5 month sleep regression per se.  Nothing like the 4 month sleep regression but anytime your child is excited or distracted by life, sleep can be disturbed.  That’s why it’s can be very important for some parents to have an independent sleeper.  A baby who can relax themselves into sleep from being completely awake.  Then they can reproduce this in the night and the parent isn’t waiting or trying to get baby back to sleep for hours on end during a “sleep regression” or “sleep blip.”

Other Helpful Blog Posts that you might be interested in

5 Month Old Sleep Schedule

4-3 nap Transition at 5 Months of Age: Why its Important for Your Baby

Will Starting Solids Help My Baby Sleep Through The Night?

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