I need a good schedule for my 5 month old.

Andi - posted on 03/20/2009 ( 4 moms have responded )

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He is 5 months old and breastfeeding. This is my first child and unfortunatly I didn't go a good job letting him "self soothe" because I would go to him for every little noise think that the sooner I helped him fall back to sleep, the less likely he would fully wake. Boy was I wrong! I didn't realize he needed to learn to self soothe and I thought I was being helpful by soothing him before he started really crying. Also, he would wake up every two hours to eat! We started him on rice cereal and he recently started sleeping for 7 hours (8-4), waking to eat then sleeping till 6, waking to eat again, then sleeping till 8 when we all get up. This usually means going to bed at 8 and waking up at 8 which I think works well for us but I'm not sure what schedule to put him on during the day.

I have heard to try a 10 & 2 nap schedule because some people say babies this age need to sleep every two hours. But does that mean he sleeps from 10-12 then is awake till 2 and sleeps from 2-4? If that is the case then wouldn't he need another nap two hours later at 6? I don't see how that would work if he is going to bed at 6. Besides, I don't think he would nap for two hours (he usually only naps for an hour).

Basicaly, I need some suggestions for a schedule to try. Should we try going to bed earlier? How long should his naps be and how should I go about doing them. I want to make our bedtime routine bath, eat, book because I've heard it's supposed to work really well and it will help get him used to falling asleep on his own. Right now we do rice cereal, bath, breastfeed. This works well but it makes it to where he has to breastfeed to sleep and I would like to change that.

Thanks for the help! (sorry this was so long)

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Lesley - posted on 03/21/2009

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Babies learn to self-soothe on their own when they are ready. In the early months, those cries and whimpers are their way of calling to us and all they want is to know that mom will come and that they are safe and secure. Whoever told you that you didn't let him self-soothe apparently had a baby that could do it from day 1. It's like sleeping. Your baby can either do it right away or can't. Doesn't mean there's something wrong with them - just the way they are. And usually the people who say things like let him cry or he should be sleeping by 8pm, etc., are people who didn't really have a difficult time with their children. Things would be different if their baby was crying for hours - then we'd see how long they left them to "self-soothe". As for naps - let your baby lead you. There's no set rule for a baby to nap - he will nap when he is tired, plain and simple. You can't make them nap and you can't make them stay awake if they want to nap. My 5 month old is up at 8am and she has 3 or 4 naps a day. She can stay awake for 2 to 3 hours and in that time we play and do things together. I fully believe that you follow what your baby wants - I don't believe on set routines - yes, a bath/bed time routine - but not a strict, structured routine that says baby has to sleep at 1pm, has to eat at 3pm, etc. He will tell you. Good luck.

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Amanda - posted on 03/20/2009

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My daughter is now 7 1/2 mo. and we have had her on a schedule since around 3-4 mo. At 5 mo. she was waking up around 7:30 or 8:00. After bottle and playtime and she would take a nap around 10 for about 45 min to an hour. She would take an afternoon nap of 1 to 2 hours at 1:00 and then another 45 minute nap around 5:00. She ate cereal in the evenings and bedtime is 8:00. She still has the same schedule only now she eats more food. She definitely is much happier being on a good schedule.

Sara - posted on 03/20/2009

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Routines are the key, I think. That way you can play with his bedtime a little. It might seem counter-intuitive, but the earlier a baby goes to sleep, the later he will sleep. But, if 8-8 works for you, then there's no need to change it. My little girl, who's 5 months as well, goes to sleep around 6:30 or 7 after a the bath, bottle, book routine. She usually sleeps until about 3, then eats, and then wakes up for good around 7am. Then she takes a nap about an hour or two after she gets up for about 45 minutes (she has never taken long naps). But, she does take a nap about every 2 hours and it's every 2 hours from when she wakes up. So, if she takes a nap at 9am and wakes up at 9:45, she's usually gearing up for another nap around 12pm. Can he fall asleep on his own right now, like after he wakes up to eat? Because that is an aquired skill, as you mentioned, so if you want him to do that you may have some tough nights ahead. I read "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth, M.D. and found it very helpful. It goes into the whole science of sleep, how important routines are and outlines a plan on helping your baby learn to self soothe. If you're interested in that, I would definitely check it out. Good luck!

Christina - posted on 03/20/2009

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if he's sleeping all night, good for you. He doesn't really need to have 2 naps as long as he has one good one, like if he gets up at 8a.m, put him down for a nap at noon, he'll sleep hopefully 3 hours and down again for bed, maybe he'll change his night habbit that way, he may go down at nite from 7 to 7. Try not to stress to much, if youre getting a full night sleep, you're doing alright!!!

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