A 5-month-old’s sleep is at a crossroads.
On the one hand, their circadian rhythms are taking shape, creating a sleep cycle that’s more organized than ever; on the other, however, a 5-month-old has likely just experienced the 4-month sleep regression.
So, as your 5-month old’s sleep moves ahead, it also takes what can appear as a tiny step back. This likely raises a lot of questions, like “Should my 5 month-old nap transition?,” “What is a sleep regression,” and, one of our personal favorites: “How long should a 5-month-old nap?”
To take the guess work out of your baby’s sleep, we’ve spoken to other parents and baby sleep experts to round up all you need to know about a 5-month-old’s sleep schedule and habits.
A Sample 5-Month-Old’s Sleep Schedule
Your baby’s unique, so when creating your baby’s sleep schedule, focus less on the specific clock times and more on wake windows and sleepy cues.
A wake window is how long your baby is awake between sleeps, while sleepy cues are the things a baby does when they’re tired, like yawn, rub their eyes, or pull their ears. If you see a sleepy cue, your baby is reaching the end of their wake window and it’s time to start your bedtime routine.
To learn more about how wake windows and sleepy cues work, and how you can use them to help your baby sleep, download the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™. It creates a personalized sleep coaching plan for you and your baby so you can help them learn how to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Sample Sleep Schedule for 5-Month-Olds with 3 Naps
How Many Total Hours Should a 5-Month-Old Sleep?
About 14.5 hours over a 24-hour period.
Can a 5-month-old baby sleep through the night?
Many can, yes – especially if they’ve been through sleep training, but some babies this age will still wake at night for a feeding – most babies can eliminate night feeds by around 9-months of age. You can prevent prolonged wakeups from night feedings by learning how to dream feed your baby.
Note on Rolling Over: 5-month-olds are also mastering the art of rolling over. It’s common for one to roll over and struggle in the night – if this happens, give them a second to “correct” themselves. Many can and will. If they’re still struggling after a minute, go in to gently adjust their position.
How much nighttime sleep for a 5-month-old?
About 11-12 hours, though there may still be a few brief wakeups for feedings.
How much daytime sleep for a 5-month-old?
A great amount is 2.5-3.5 hours over 3 naps. If your 5-month old is still taking 4 naps, this is a good time to complete the 4 to 3 nap transition.
What is a 5-month-old’s wake window?
For 5-month-olds taking 3 naps a day, their wake window is typically 2-3 hours between sleeps.
Is there a 5-month-old regression?
No, there is not a traditional 5-month sleep regression but there may still be a few night wakes from the 4-month regression and as your baby’s circadian rhythms continue to develop.
What is a Sleep Regression?
Sleep regressions are brief but sporadic periods when a baby who is sleeping well will suddenly have some trouble sleeping, usually in the form of bedtime protests or night wakeups. Though they’re called “sleep regressions,” we prefer to call them “sleep progressions” because sleep regressions coincide with your baby’s developmental milestones. As frustrating as a sleep regression can be, there are ways to quickly manage sleep regressions.
Do 5-Month-Olds Nap Transition?
While some babies complete the 4-to-3 nap transition when they’re 4-months-old, others nap transition at 5-months. If your baby hasn’t completed the 4-to-3 nap transition, it may be time.
You’ll know it’s time to nap transition your baby if you see these signs:
Difficulty Falling Asleep or Protesting at Naptime: If your baby can’t fall asleep during a nap time or protests that nap by crying, they may no longer need that nap and be ready to nap transition.
Difficulty Falling Asleep at Bedtime: If your baby has consistently been falling asleep at a certain time but then, suddenly, is having trouble falling asleep at bedtime, they may be getting too much sleep during the day. If you see this sign of a nap transition, you may want to begin your baby’s 4 to 3 nap transition.
Your Baby Misses a Nap and Isn’t Fussy: Isn’t this a nice surprise? If your baby misses a nap they used to rely on and they are not fussy, chances are you can ditch that nap.
Increased Fussiness: On the opposite end of the spectrum, babies who are ready to nap transition but haven’t done so yet can become fussy from getting too much sleep. If your baby is taking their regular naps but is suddenly cranky, it may be time to adjust their sleep schedule.
What if I’m Not Ready to Nap Transition Yet?
There are many reasons parents may not want to nap transition: for example, you need that nap time to catch up on work, chores, or your own sleep. If your baby is ready for a nap transition but you still need more time, you can temporarily move your baby’s bedtime back to extend their last wake window. This is only a temporary fix, though. If your baby is ready for a nap transition, you should try to complete that nap transition within a week or two or risk throwing their schedule too far off course.
“Sleep Phases and Stages,” National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute at the National Institutes of Health.
“Bedtime routines child wellbeing & development,” BioMed Central Public Health.
“Uninterrupted Infant Sleep, Development, and Maternal Mood,” Pediatrics.
How We Wrote This Article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.
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