How do I get my 5 month old on a decent schedule?
MOST HELPFUL POSTS
Lindsay - posted on 12/10/2008
I think that a routine is vital for the happy and healthy development of a child.
Think about it this way, a child with no specific eating time will consatntly ask for food, eat small amounts, waste a lot of food, and have restless nights because they are hungry when they go to bed, or not go to sleep because they are too full and uncomfortable.
A child with no specific bedtime will end up staying up until 12pm at night, waking up every 2-3 hours and wake up unfocussed and tired and very moody the next day.
Routines should be there but flexible, like stay up half an hour later if you are at friends, and eat roughly the time that you yourself eat (as long as that it not 7pm at night), to save A LOT of hassle later on.
The best way to put a 5 month old into a routine is to be strict on yourself. If you decide that supper time is 6pm, try your best to stick to it. If your child is not used to it, they will cry and perform for the first 2 or 3 days, but I promise you they will adapt.
If you decide that bed-time is 7pm, try to have him/her calm down straight after supper. Bath them, read to them and try not to play with them too much or they will not want to sleep.
If you are at friends, keep to the routine, feed the child at his normal feed time, before or when you go to your friends, beth baby at his normal bath time, and try to calm baby down after bath time by putting baby on a mat on the couch or in the bedroom.
By being strict on yourself and sticking to a routine, you will help your child to grow up knowing boundaries, and your child will be well rested and happy when he wakes up.
Hope that this has helped you a bit.
Melissa - posted on 12/09/2008
Schedule is probably the wrong word to use. Routine is much more attainable. I follow the "Baby Whisperer" routine E.A.S.Y:Eat, Activity: Sleep; You (while they are sleeping) and at 5 months old, this routine should happen in 4 hour intervals. So when they wake up, you feed first, then perhaps diaper change, play (usually activity is no more then 1-2 hours) then start calming activities to get them ready for either napping or full night sleep. I have a 3 month old who goes to bed at 6pm and sleeps through to 3am, feeds, then sleeps through till 7am. Activities that we do for preparing for naps are:we read 2 books while rocking, then sing 2 lullabies, then put down in crib. For bedtime rituals, we have a nice relaxing bath every night (but don't always use soap), the warm water is very relaxing to babies. Then after his bath, he gets his head brushed, and a body massage with lotion, then follow the nap routine with books and song. The bath and massage give him the cue that this is bedtime and not just another nap. I am consistent with this routine as best I possibly can. Obviously things will come up and I can't follow exactly. However, I swear by EASY. Try it out for a week or two because they aren't going to adjust to it right away, it will take consistency and dedication. Hope this helps!!
Meal times, sleep times and routines need to be consistent. If you are not following the same routine day in day out then your job is more difficult.
NOTE: I read a really good article once on babies sleep patterns. It spoke about not letting children stay awake past 7 (7:30pm) do to their natural sleeping rhythms. Once they are sleeping through the night they should then wake around 7 in the morning - again due to their bodies sleep rhythms and the rising of the sun.
So my tip - ensure baby gets to be no later than 7pm.
(oh and the dinner, play, bath, bottle, bed and story routine - is the best)
This conversation has been closed to further comments
Marta - posted on 12/09/2008
Stay consistent. every time that your little one wakes up give them a little hug, a quick drink of formula or breastmilk and back in bed. It's normal for babies to wake up once a night or even twice until they're a bit older than your little one. My second woke up in the middle of the night until he was a good seven or eight months old whereas my first was sleeping through the night as soon as his colic subsided. Remeber each child is different and their ability to sleep through the night will be completely their own.It's something that he/she will learn to do on their own in time.
I'm in the same boat. My Sam's 5 months and she recently decided that sleep is for suckers! I have started doing a bath at 5:30, then massage, bottle (usually a little cereal if she's awake enough to sit in her high chair), finally a little cuddle time with the lights low. I;m only a couple of days in but I'm sure that consistency is the key.
I would recommend a book called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. It's pretty long but it covers sleep from infants to teenagers with tips for each. I discusses many different approaches (including, but thankfully not limited to, letting them cry it out - just a warning because at first glance a lot of people think that's all it is but I promise there are many other options discussed). I've found it helpful anyways.
Valerie - posted on 12/09/2008
When my son was 5 months old, I started using the Baby Whisperer's E.A.S.Y. schedule (a three hour schedule based on this acronym for "Eat, Activity, Sleep and You"). I can't tell you how much it saved me. Go get the Baby Whisperer book right now! Her advice is so practical and easy. My son is 18 months now and I actually still use some of the lessons I learned in that book. My only regret is that I waited until he was 5 months to start it. I'll use it from day 1 with baby #2.
Tessa - posted on 12/09/2008
Quite honestly, schedules are over-rated. When you allow your child to fall into thier own patterns (eating, sleeping, etc) it helps them feel relaxed and confident. They sleep when they need to sleep (rather than when you want them to) and they eat when they are hungry (rather than eating because they have to). Of course, you can't have babies up all night and sleeping during the day, but slowing down at the end of the day with them will help them unwind.
Christina - posted on 12/09/2008
Melissa posted exactly what I would have--I have used the EASY routine with all three of mine (11, 9 & 10 months), and it really makes for happy kids. Plus, you know why they're fussing--no guessing if it's hunger or fatigue. At nighttime, we use the bath, story, and some quiet music to set the scene. We put her down awake with her lovey and she snuggles right up and is asleep in minutes--no crying. Good luck!
Melissa - posted on 12/09/2008
I also agree very much with Michelle's post. Naps are crucial! It seems strange but the more they sleep in the day during their naps, the more they will sleep at night! Sleep begets more sleep. Try for a good morning nap and a nice afternoon nap.
Michelle - posted on 12/09/2008
Remember that 5 month olds are still growing and it's normal for them to be up at night for some time yet. If it's the time of night that your baby is going to bed that you're worried about, my doctor had a great solution.
First, as the other mom's said, schedules are important. Make it consistent, at least in the beginning. If your baby is going to sleep really late, try bumping back the time you put them to bed by only 15 minutes each night. For example, if baby is going to bed at 12:00, put baby to bed at 11:45 tonight. Chances are baby won't realize it if the routine is moved gradually.
Lots of activity during the day is always good and so are naps. Yes, naps! If baby has decent naps they won't be over tired and will go to bed easier.
Hope this helps.
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