5 Month Old and Sleep Training

V - posted on 04/12/2013 ( 7 moms have responded )




Lately, I've been really insecure about my parenting skills and my little one. He is now 5 months old and a few days. He is big baby...90% in length and 80% for weight. He is still exclusively breastfed and is not showing signs of wanting solids yet.

He is happy and healthy and I love him to death.

However, he has never been a great sleeper over night. Waking often has been our way of life since baby has come into our lives. However, my baby isn't a fussy guy. He just wants some boob and then he's off to sleep.

We keep a really consistent schedule with him for naps and he has a night time routine and has had this routine for months. It consists of bath, sleep sack, breastfeeding, a bit of a cuddle, and then laid in crib. No major issues with this. He goes to sleep around 7 pm.

Around 4.5 months of age, with no significant sleep training (other than consistent naps and night time routine), he started waking just once in the night. I felt like the heavens opened up! I would wake at that time, give him some milk, and put him to sleep (in his crib), for another couple of hours until morning.

Well, now he is teething. He has up and down days re: pain/fussiness. All in all, he is now waking again every 3 hrs (for the past 2 nights),

I realize this has tons to do with his teething, but realize I have to sleep train him too. At 5 months, the books say he shouldn't even be up at night at all. I know you can't sleep train when a child is going through illness or pain or whatever, but I know I have to make some changes re: sleep, soon.

As a result, I've just got myself in a tizzy and I am now feeling really insecure about his sleep and his b/f'ing at night habits I've established. Stuff like: Is he too big? Is he getting enough sleep at night? Am I creating bad habits with him?

My hubby and I plan to do more sleep training tonight and I hope to get him off the breast during the sleep hours (over night).

Any advice?
Any reassurances?
Am I doing anything "right"?

Feeling insecure today ladies!


Sally - posted on 05/10/2013




Babies are people, not pets. They do not need to be "trained". Medically, "sleeping through the night" is a five hour stretch. Almost no babies are physically capable of it before 6 months and very few are before 2 years. Breastfed babies are even less capable because their food digests faster. Honestly, even very few adults do it. We just don't remember waking up. If he was developed enough to sleep longer without nursing, he would do it on his own.
I know we all want to do this "right", but unfortunately most of the baby books are mostly focused on placing parents wants ahead of babies needs. That you're worried about it and want to do what's right for him shows you're a good mom. Relax, enjoy your baby, give him what he needs, and ignore the so-called "experts" who make you feel insecure.
Good luck

Mommy - posted on 05/22/2013




My son is 9 months and still wakes up twice a night. He has a night time routine, is a great eater, and takes his naps on schedule. My daughter was the same way. She eventually grew out of it.

Celeste - posted on 04/14/2013




Toss the books! If they are making you question your parenting skills and instincts, IMO, they aren't the right books. It sounds like you're doing great by meeting the needs of your baby! It's normal at this age to wake up to want to nurse especially during growth spurts, yes, even big babies. Big babies still need to eat even during the night!

If it makes you feel any better, my twin boys didn't sleep through the night til they were close to 2. And yes, many people asked me if they were sleeping through the night. I go against "mainstream" twin parenting. It just doesn't feel right to me. I don't schedule them, I don't read the books that many of them read (ie. Baby Wise).

Here are some sites about sleeping through the night:


Hang in there. I know it's hard and you want to know if you're doing a good job, I feel the same and my twin boys are 6 and daughter is 10.


View replies by

Mindee - posted on 05/14/2013




I absolutely agree with these other mothers. I have 3 little ones, my oldest is 4, my youngest is 7 months and was 11 lbs at birth. (No gestational diabetes, just a big boy). He's been in the 96th-99th percentile across the charts his whole life. He is exclusively breast fed, though I do occasionally now let him have a taste of baby food when he seems interested, which isn't often. He used to wake a few times each night. Recently he's begun waking just once a night to nurse. This is completely normal. Babies get hungry often. If all you had was a glass of milk, you'd be hungry frequently too.
It's not even possible to spoil a baby. Ignore anyone who tells you otherwise.
And no, babies don't need to be 'trained' to sleep either. Being a mother isn't a 9-5 job, and neither is being a baby. It's 24/7, forever. The beginning years and teenage years just come with less sleep. lol

My FAVORITE parenting book of ALL TIME is: Good Nights, by Dr. Jay Gordon, M.D. this book is uplifting, encouraging, and, most importantly, full of FACTS rather than an individual's opinions. It actually teaches about the different phases of growth vs. sleep patterns, results of sleep studies in babies and children, effects of crying it out and sleep training, etc. It is wonderful and empowering, and I highly recommend it!
On another note, babies grow SO fast! You're going to blink and he'll be all grown, so when he wakes and won't go back to sleep for a while, take the opportunity to ENJOY that little miracle of yours! I'm trying my best to do this with my little guy, and it's making all the difference in the world.

Valerie - posted on 05/08/2013




I am going through exactly what you are going though, and I am exhausted.
My son is exactly the same, the only difference is that he is bottle fed.
I have absolutely no advice to give you, I have tried everything. I have even unplugged the baby monitor...I still wake.
I think our boys are just hungry that's all, and we just have to ride this wave of exhaustion.
Take care.

V - posted on 04/13/2013




Thank you Lori A.

Your post made me feel better.

I'm getting freaked out cause books are saying a 5 month old can sleep all night with no feeds. Then people ask me how often I wake up with my LO. On average, I wake up at 1 a.m., then 4-5 a.m., to feed my guy. When I was just getting up once, the 1 a.m. waking disappeared for about a week (and then reappeared!).

When I mention the wakings (with 10 minute feeds and I'm back to bed), these "people" (other mommies, family, etc), all say, "He's a big boy. He doesn't have to eat all night!." And books are all stating that 5 month olds do not have to wake biologically. Then I wonder....

Like every mother, I want him to be happy and healthy. I don't want to harm him in any way, esp. by my "ignorance" or parenting skills. One one hand I feel I am totally taking care of my baby's needs. Then on the other hand, I wonder if I'm just too "soft" to give him more structure/training at this point.

You are right though. I just have to do what feels right and continue to educate myself but not get lost in the literature. In fact, my LO went down at 6:35 tonight. He woke up at 9:45 p.m and I held him. He wouldn't get back to sleep and his little tummy was growling. So I gave him boob and that was that.

Right or wrong. It's done. I'm happy.

It helps to vent. THANKS!

Lori - posted on 04/12/2013




First of all - it sounds to me like you are doing an EXCELLENT job.

Sleep training is NOT necessary. Most babies change their sleep patterns many times during their first year. That includes going from not sleeping through the night, to sleeping through, and back to not sleeping through. YOU do NOT have to do anything to teach him how to sleep. Many parents want to to do sleep training in the hopes of a good night sleep, but just because you don't sleep train now does NOT set your LO up for sleep issues later. In fact, what you're doing now is meeting his needs. YES NEEDS! A baby under the age of 1 has NEEDS, not wants.

As far as him being a big baby... that's OK too. You can NOT overfeed a breastfed baby. You can overfeed a bottle fed baby (breastmilk or formula), but if baby eats from the breast, baby will not overeat.

As far as books you are reading! It's great that you are educating yourself... however please keep in mind that there is tons of info out there on how best to raise your baby. Some of that info is great, other is not so great. Look into both sides of an issue, and then decide for yourself what will work best for you and for your baby. NO BOOK is gospel when it comes to YOUR baby. You are the mommy! If it's working for you and your LO, then why change it.


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