5 Month Old Schedule.

Updated on November 16, 2007
S.K. asks from Rochelle, IL
13 answers

My little girl is about 5 1/2 months and I can't seem to get her on a schedule. Every time she seems to be in a pattern for waking, naps, nursing, etc... it gets blown out the window. I was just wondering if you would share some examples of what your typical day is with your 5-6 month old. I just want some reassurance that My little ones schedule is somewhat typical and that her teething is what is throwing her off. She is breastfeed and I just started giving her a little cereal in the evening. However, I usually feed her on demand throughout the day and I am hoping that her frequent waking at night is a result of her teething. My once good sleeper is back to waking up about twice a night, any advice on how to help her sleep through the night would also be appreciated. Thanks in advance for all your help and advice.

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answers from Kansas City on

Hi S.,

Just so you know, not all babies get onto a schedule, mine never did, they slept when they were sleepy and eat when they were hungry. It worked out great for us since we don't have a strict schedule either except for school time with my older one and bed time on those days.
Mi babies used to sleep anywhere without any trouble, like taking a nap in the shopping cart while I was shopping or inside a canoe when we were having fun.
It was great because we enjoyed life and they enjoyed with us without worrying about times and schedules.
I know not everybody is the same way, but just so you know that sonetimes babies do fine without strict schedules:)
Hope you achieve what it works for you!
M. Abadie

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answers from Kansas City on

I agree with the poster that said aim for routine rather than strict schedule. There are so many things in life that throw off a schedule. A person should be flexible so they can adapt to whatever comes in their life. The happiest people I know work in jobs that allow them some leeway in their schedules. But what can I say? I believe we are here to accomodate our babies and meet their needs, not the other way around. I think kids just want to be close to their moms at night. But I also agree that routines feel safe to children.


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answers from Kansas City on

Hi S.,
I have had all my kids on a schedule from the minute we got home from the hospital. All of them have been every 3-4 hours between eating times. So here has been ours from the minute we got home (my youngest is 1 year old)

7:30 Am (get up, get dresses, diaper change)
7:30 - 8:00 am breakfast
8:00 am - 9:30 morning play time and morning bottle
9:30 am - 10:30 am morning nap
10:30 am - 11:30 play time before lunch
11:30 am - 12:00 lunch time
12:00 noon - 1:oo pm play time and afternoon bottle
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm afternoon nap
3:00 pm wake from nap, get a diaper change
3:30 pm afternoon snack
This is our schedule and routine during the day

We eat dinner around 6:00 pm - 6:30 pm every night.
7:00 pm a bath
8:00 pm a bottle
9:00 pm another snack (we are in a growth spurt right now)
She goes to bed after her snack and I don't hear from her until 7:00 am or I wake her up so we stay on schedule everyday.
My 2 youngest kids were eating cereal by the time they were 3 months old. The now 3 yr old was eating 8 ounce bottles every 3 hours. My youngest was eating 8 ounces every 4 hours.

In my opinion if you increase her food intake you will see her sleep through the night. To start off with you could increas her cereal to twice a day (once in the morning and once in the evening) and the gradually add more to that. And stop feeding on demand that won't help you that only hinders you. You should be able to get her to go atleast 3 hours and start stretching her out to 4. As you keep going keep increasing the amount of food she eats (solid food). Increasing her food will help her cut those teeth and help her sleep thru the night. Hope this helps you, W.

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answers from Springfield on

I agree with the previous poster, schedules on such a young baby can be tough. My baby girl is also exclusively breastfed and feeds on demand. We are slowly introducing a schedule such as the time she goes down at night and the time she gets up in the day. We also give her cereal for breakfast at noon, 1/2 jar of a fruit at 4pm and 1/2 jar of a vegetable at 8pm, other than that we just wing it.

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answers from Kansas City on

I have 3 kids, 4,2 and my little girl will be 6mo in a few days.All my kids have been a schedule since the came home with us. It has worked out great and they know when its time for naps and when they will eat. Now and then they get off of their routines and thats fine too, but we always get back on track. All my kid have slept all night since they were around 8wks old. They go to bed around 8:30 or 9:00 then sleep till around 7 or 8 have breakfast, and go on with our day like always and by 9 they are ready to go down again. I feel since they have always done this there is never any fights to go down for naps or bed for the night. We say its bed time and we all go upstairs and get ready have a book and they fall asleep. They have also always since they came home slept in their own beds, never with us unless they get scared and come in the night. I know its not the same for all children but this is what works for us and it works very well. Hope it all works out and good luck!

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answers from Lawton on

I would aim for a routine more than a schedule: morning nap, afternoon, and a short one about dinnertime.

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answers from Topeka on

My son has slept through the night since he was 8 wks. About the time he turned months he stopped sleeping through the night. He went through a couple of illnesses and he was teething and he was getting ready to hit another couple of milestones. I just kept sticking with our schedule and eventually he went right back to his normal sleep pattern. Your daughter might be gearing up for a growth spurt and she might be waking up because she's hungrier due to the spurt. Good luck. Eventually it'll get better

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answers from Kansas City on

I don't necessarily agree that it's harmful to have a baby on a schedule. I think it provides a sense of security because they know what is coming next, etc.. I've had my little girl on a schedule since she was a few weeks and everyone around us (including my MIL who thought schedules were the worst thing in the world) comments on how good she is at napping, eating, whatever. I'd recommend the book "Baby Wise". It helped me (and my step-mom who has 8 month old twins) get our kids on a schedule and nap pattern. You don't have to follow it exactly but it will be very, very helpful. They say their plan works for 97% of families who try it and the other 3% have babies with special needs or whatever. Just give it a read. I think you'd find it to be VERY helpful...especially if getting her on a schedule is what you're wanting in the end.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Hey there S.,

I think that it is almost impossible to have a 5 1/2 month baby on a schedule. I just slept when my daughter slept and tried to eat when she ate. That went on for us for almost a year before she created a solid schedule for herself. :)

Good luck to you!


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answers from Kansas City on

My son is 5.5 months. A few months ago, he had several weeks where he slept through the night and then he started waking again. I realized that me going in his room when he woke up was just perpetuating the situation, so I started to let him cry it out in the middle of the night. I did this since I knew he could sleep through as he had done it numerous times. It took 2 or 3 nights, but now he sleeps from about 7:30 PM to about 6:30 AM. He would only cry for like 10 minutes.

He is also exclusively breastfed and our day works like this: He gets up anywhere between 5:30 and 6:30. I feed him and he and I go back to sleep until about 7:30 when the rest of the house wakes up. He then naps about 9:00 AM until about 11:00 and I feed him then. Then our day goes on like that where he is up for about an hour and a half to two hours and then he goes down for an hour to two hour nap until 7:30 when I put him to bed for good.

I hope this helps.

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answers from Kansas City on

A schedule is a bit restrictive, but a routine would be great, and it sounds like that is what you are after. It is true that if they get enough to eat in the day, they will not wake at night. It is also true that it can be "normal" for kids to wake once or twice a night until age 3, IF the parents encourage it by co-sleeping, going in whenever the kid wakes, and feeding at night.

My son has slept 12 hours since 5 months. One of the best ways I accomplished this was using the "dream feed" to eliminate waking at night for a feed. Basically, you get them on a feeding routine of about every four hours (and it is best if the routine goes wake, feed, play, sleep so they don't get used to feeding to sleep--that is a hard habit to break and makes it difficult to get them to sleep a full twelve hours at night), starting at 7a. Put him to bed at 7p. Around 11p, go in and pick him up and feed him while he is asleep. Put him back down with no burp (they swallow much less air while asleep). DO NOT CHANGE HIS DIAPER AT NIGHT. THERE IS NO REASON, and it just wakes them up more. Visit www.babywhisperer.com for lots more tips, and read Twelve Hours in Twelve Weeks. Very helpful approaches to sleep training and developing routines. Good luck!

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answers from St. Louis on

Feeding her on demand IS the problem. You are encouraging no routine. I have had 3 children on a set routine from day 1 including naps (though the regular naps really came closer to 2-3 months). It all revolved around feeding schedule and the rest fell into to place and became the obvious pattern. Babies obviously nap a lot at first and less over time. By 5 months we had 2 naps a day. Is your schedule with your baby normal and what many other moms have? Yes, those with no routine established have the same pattern. Can a routine be established even at that age? Yes and even younger. How? She should be eating every 4 hours by now with exception of during growth spurts at which time she will need to eat more frequently to build your supply (these can last a couple of days or a week). Her digestive system at 5 months is not mature enough to handle solid foods yet. I know it works for people to load their kid up with something heavy to sit in their tummy that cannot be properly digested, but it is unhealthy and breaks the digestive system. I nursed all 3 of my kids and found only one of them required what I called cluster feeding to make it through the night. All of my kids were sleeping 8 hrs a night by 5-7 wks. Cluster feeding as I mentioned helped with one of them. He required to nurse in the evening from 6-10 every 2 hrs rather than every 4. After that he slept beautifully. You NEED a routine now because it will only get more impossible as your child gets older...putting you in a position of another one of the many parents with a toddler that "won't take a nap" by the age of 2. Talk about no fun!~

I had a fantastic breastfeeding consultant. She was very harsh with me (I say it lightly because she was fun but straight forward and strict), and we called her the nipple natzi. She is the one that helped me realize that routine was important from day 1. The key besides feeding on schedule was do not be afraid to wake the baby in the day for a feeding. If the baby is hungry she will wake you at night...don't wake her then. At 5 months your baby has already established the pattern of waking you at night. I would stick with feeding every 4 hrs in the day and try cluster feeding at night. When your baby starts getting teeth that you can feel breaking through the gum AND once she is at least 6 months, then that is the sign that she is starting to produce those digestive enzymes needed to break down solid foods such as veggies and fruits. Some people believe they can also digest easier to digest grains like rice and oats, but grains are actually harder to digest than veggies and fruits. It is true however that rice and oats are easier to digest than the grains the are full of glutens like wheat, barley and rye.

Something else to consider is what is in your diet? I know that my milk was more satisfying when I stayed away from refined sugars and tried to eat a balanced diet rich in protein and good fats. I could even see a difference in my milk content when pumping milk that had more fat or that was more like 1% (thick or thin cream would settle at the top). So maybe see if there is some deficiency in your diet that may help to fix, or this may not even be the factor. Just carefully review your diet is what I am saying.

My kids as I said ate every 4 hrs and I always nursed before nap and bed. Our naps were at 10am and 2pm. They started being 2 hours each (at 3-4 months or younger). Then they shifted to 45 min in the am and 2 hr in the afternoon nap. Then one of my kids shifted again to 2 hr in the am and 45 min in the afternoon. You can still be flexible with the napping a bit, but if you keep that eating routine strict, your whole schedule falls into place. There is a great series of books that talks about this as well called "On becoming babywise" "On Becoming toddler wise" "On Becoming preschool wise" "On Becoming Childwise" "On becoming pre-teen wise" "On becoming Teenwise". It is an amazing series.

Good luck and I hope that you don't get offended by anything I wrote. I am trying to be honest and straight forward. You will find what works for you and what you start now lays the foundation. You can do it, just try not to get frustrated and understand that it is a process that you can master. God Bless!!

B. :)

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answers from Springfield on

Forced schedules can be very harmful to babies. I agree with the other two women.
If she is only waking up and going back to sleep after being fed and comforted, then that is very typical. My boys did that until they were about a year, to a year and a half. As long as they only woke up once or twice I didn't worry about it. I also had them in bed with me so I only had to role over and nurse or cuddle them.

Anyway, your limits might be different. I'm just letting you know what worked for me. When I have set limits I have eased my boys into it with as much love and time as it takes. Good luck.

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