Getting my 5 month old on a schedule.

Andi - posted on 03/20/2009 ( 7 moms have responded )

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He is 5 months old and breastfeeding. This is my first child and unfortunately 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 5 month old schedule I can 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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Joy - posted on 03/20/2009

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Hi....I was totally clueless at first as well. I read a book called Save our sleep which had loads of info in it and i took a whole lot from it and just trialled and errored with my now 6 and a half month old son. This is his routine for now:



7am wake and bottle



8am breakfast then bath dress and playtime



9am sleep time



10.30-11am wake and bottle



12pm lunch, playtime



1pm sleep



2.30-3pm wake and bottle



5.30pm dinner



6pm bath and play



6.30pm bottle



7pm bed



This works for us and we just change it according to guidance from the book and his age...obviously as they get older they take less sleep....good luck with a 5 month old schedule.

[deleted account]

I was in the exact same situation as you when my LO was that age. I used The Baby Whisperer to get my son on a good routine and it's been working really well for us. Check out the book or the website, www.babywhisperer.com I think. It has helped me so much with getting my 5 month old on a schedule.



At 5 months, babies can handle at least 2 hours awake (all the time between sleep), but sometimes a little more. Basically the Baby Whisperer recommends a routine called EASY (eat, activity, sleep, time for you). I started it when my son was 5 months, and our routine looked like this:

7am wake and eat, awake from 7-9, nap from 9-11, eat & awake from 11-1, nap from 1-3, eat & awake from 3-5, catnap between 5-6, awake, eat at 7, bath & bed routine, bedtime at 7. Basically they are eating every 4 hours. Since it is a routine and not a schedule it is flexible and it works more off of reading your baby rather than watching the clock. The times above are guidelines, once it's established you can tweak it and work it into something that works for both of you.



Sorry if it is confusing, I really do recommend checking out the book for more information on a 5 month old schedule. It takes a little while to establish but once you do everything falls into place and their eating, sleeping and activity habits improve. It's called The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems by Tracey Hogg.



Good luck!

Joy - posted on 03/22/2009

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Quoting Andi:

Thanks for all the help everyone on 5 month old schedules! Just a question though (for Jenny and Joy), when you say brekfast, lunch, and dinner do you mean for the baby? For example (Jenny) you said breastfeed, lunch, play. Isn't breastfeeding his lunch or do you mean rice cereal?



sorry yes i mean my sons breakie lunch n dinner...in your case if your not yet on solids your milk will be lunch etc....when my son wasnt on solids it was just milk.....i think at 5 months (cause he was on a bottle by then too) he had a bottle at 7am,11am,3pm and 6.30pm.....

Jenny - posted on 03/20/2009

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After a similar situation and the same feelings with my son (now 19 months old) here are my tips:

1. Watch your baby for sleep cues (rubbing eyes, not looking or focusing on you, irritability, hyperness) and THEN look at the clock. You may have an appropriate "schedule" but it might not work for your child yet.

2. Feed upon awakening and not going to sleep, except at night. Your proposed bedtime routine is a good one. I added soft music too everynight and now my son hears it and gets sleepy.

3. I personally loved the book "The Sleep Easy Solution" it gave a lot of good info in a balanced way and also examples of "schedules".

4. And last but not least, here was our routine at 5 months...Wake at 6am, breastfeed, change, play, breakfast at 7, play, mini version of bedtime routine, nap at 8:30 to 10 (he always "peeped" after 45 minutes which I had to learn to ignore), breastfeed, play, lunch at noon, play, mini version of bedtime routine, nap from 1-2, breastfeed, play, outside getting some sunshine, mini version of bedtime routine, nap from 4-5, breastfeed, dinner at 6, bath, jammies, play, breastfeed, music, stories, bed at 8.



Lastly, don't sweat it. Follow your heart. They do settle into better sleeping. Five months is still young. You are responding appropriately, I think, for his age. Breastfed babies do wake up more frequently because they metabolize the milk faster. The solids do help a little, but it is more about sleep timing than anything I think.



Good luck getting your 5 month old on a schedule, hang in there and enjoy your little man. He is about to really start changing and getting more and more skills and doing more and being more active which also helps sleep.

Andi - posted on 03/21/2009

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Thanks for all the help everyone on 5 month old schedules! Just a question though (for Jenny and Joy), when you say brekfast, lunch, and dinner do you mean for the baby? For example (Jenny) you said breastfeed, lunch, play. Isn't breastfeeding his lunch or do you mean rice cereal?

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Jenny - posted on 03/21/2009

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I mean breakfast, lunch and dinner for baby...like rice cereal, banana, avocado, etc. with whatever food he is on. It is my understanding that if you want your milk supply to continue, you need to breastfeed prior to meals. At this age, meals are just for experiences. They still get the majority of their calories from breastmilk. Hope that helps with your 5 month old's schedule.

Tara - posted on 03/20/2009

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Hi Andi, 



Well first I will tell you what our routine is: I have a 5 1/2 month old boy. He is formula fed and has started solids. We have a bedtime routine, goes to bed between 7-8 and on average wakes up between 6-7am and most of the time he doesn't wake up during the night. If he does wake up I don't feed him and I first let him try to self soothe back to sleep, if not and he is crying I go into his room but don't pick him up and try to soothe him that way. 



I put him down for a nap after ever 1 1/2 - 2 hrs at first signs of tiredness in his crib. I don't go by exact times as sometimes it may vary when he wakes up and also when we are out and about. He will nap on average 1 hour but at times 2-2 1/2 hrs! His naps do however seem to generally be within an hour or so of the same time each day, just the way it has worked out. He usually has 3 naps in total. Depending on the day, if we have gone out or how long his prev nap will depend on his 3rd nap. If for example he seems timed but his bedtime is in 2 - 2 1/2 hrs I won't put him down for a nap and may just put him to bed 20 mins earlier. 



I read a really good book "Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child" and it really really helped us. I had trouble with naps before and with self soothing etc and this book really made a lot of sense. Your bedtime of 8pm is good, but again it just all depends on your baby. Nap times will vary it seems, for my little guy anyhow as I never 100% know how long he will be down for. In the beginning he would only nap 30-40 mins but it did increase after a bit. The book also talks all about this as well. I can imagine however it is a little bit different with the nursing. 



I hope that this helps a bit, gives you an idea anyhow on a 5 month old schedule!! Best of luck!

Jenny - posted on 03/21/2009

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I mean breakfast, lunch and dinner for baby...like rice cereal, banana, avocado, etc. with whatever food he is on. It is my understanding that if you want your milk supply to continue, you need to breastfeed prior to meals. At this age, meals are just for experiences. They still get the majority of their calories from breastmilk. Hope that helps with your 5 month old's schedule.

Tara - posted on 03/20/2009

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Hi Andi, 



Well first I will tell you what our routine is: I have a 5 1/2 month old boy. He is formula fed and has started solids. We have a bedtime routine, goes to bed between 7-8 and on average wakes up between 6-7am and most of the time he doesn't wake up during the night. If he does wake up I don't feed him and I first let him try to self soothe back to sleep, if not and he is crying I go into his room but don't pick him up and try to soothe him that way. 



I put him down for a nap after ever 1 1/2 - 2 hrs at first signs of tiredness in his crib. I don't go by exact times as sometimes it may vary when he wakes up and also when we are out and about. He will nap on average 1 hour but at times 2-2 1/2 hrs! His naps do however seem to generally be within an hour or so of the same time each day, just the way it has worked out. He usually has 3 naps in total. Depending on the day, if we have gone out or how long his prev nap will depend on his 3rd nap. If for example he seems timed but his bedtime is in 2 - 2 1/2 hrs I won't put him down for a nap and may just put him to bed 20 mins earlier. 



I read a really good book "Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child" and it really really helped us. I had trouble with naps before and with self soothing etc and this book really made a lot of sense. Your bedtime of 8pm is good, but again it just all depends on your baby. Nap times will vary it seems, for my little guy anyhow as I never 100% know how long he will be down for. In the beginning he would only nap 30-40 mins but it did increase after a bit. The book also talks all about this as well. I can imagine however it is a little bit different with the nursing. 



I hope that this helps a bit, gives you an idea anyhow on a 5 month old schedule!! Best of luck!

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