5-6 Months Old Sleep Schedule

5-6 Months Old Sleep Schedule

At 5 to 6 months old, your little one is starting to interact with you more & stay awake longer in between naps. This is also when they can start to have more consolidated naps & have longer stretches of sleep. They are also going through a lot developmentally; they may start to roll over in both directions, sit up with or without support, begin to recognise familiar faces and objects, babbling, reaching for and grasping objects with greater coordination. It is also around 6 months old when they can start eating solids. This depends on their "readiness", which includes being able to sit up independently & taking more interests in food.

How many hours of sleep does my 5-6 month old need?

Due to the rapid growth and development that your baby is experiencing at this age, they need a certain amount of hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. This vary from child to child for they all require different sleep needs. However, typically at this age, they need around 12-16 hours of sleep. If you have a low sleep needs child, then they are likely at the lower end of this range and if you have a high sleep needs child, then you would find that they are on the higher end of this range. You need to determine your individual child's sleep needs by observing what their mood & behaviour are like after their naps; are they happy or are they irritable & upset? Note that some babies wake up upset regardless of how long they slept for, but their mood gets better after a few minutes of waking up.

What wake windows should my 5-6 month old have?

A 5-6 month old baby usually stays awake for about 2 to 3 hours before needing a nap. In the morning, these awake times are often shorter, but as the day goes on and the baby gets a bit older, they tend to get longer. You might notice that your baby can't stay up for a full 3 hours before bedtime until they're closer to 6 months old.

Here's a typical routine for a baby between 5 and 6 months old:

Should I still be following "Eat, Play, Sleep" at this age?

The short answer is no. This is because as babies grow older and stay awake for longer, it might become challenging to stick to the "eat, play, sleep" schedule while ensuring they're getting enough calories throughout the day. I recommend feeding your baby based on their hunger cues, offering breast or bottle feedings every 2.5 to 3.5 hours throughout the first year.

Here's the tricky part about the "eat, play, sleep" routine: If your 5 or 6 month old has been awake for 2.5 hours and seems ready to nap, you might need to feed them so they don't wake up early due to hunger. On the other hand, your baby might be okay waiting until after the nap for a feeding. Observe how your baby reacts to decide whether to feed them before or after the nap.

Note: If you decide to give your baby a top-up feed before a nap, ensure you do it at least 30-45 minutes before to avoid them from dozing off at your breast or the bottle. This can shave off some of their sleep pressure, leading to shorter naps. Ensure you break feeding & sleeping by doing something else in between. This could be changing their nappy after their feed or reading them a story.


5 to 6 month old Sample Schedule:

Note: Please keep in mind that these are just examples. It's important to pay attention to your baby's signs of hunger and how long they nap to decide whether to feed them before or after their nap. Make sure to observe your baby and be attentive to their specific requirements.


How many naps should my baby be taking at 5-6 months of age?

Aim for 3 naps a day at this age. If your baby is taking more than 3 naps because they're short, it's a good idea to check their wake windows to make sure it's right for their age. As they grow, that third nap can become tricky. While most babies switch from 3 naps to 2 around 7.5 to 8 months old, some might be ready to make that change as early as 6 months old. This is truly because every baby is unique with different sleep needs. It is important to observe your individual bub & know how much sleep they actually need.

When your baby is ready for a nap transition, remember that it will take time and consistency. It's common for the transition to take 2 to 4 weeks before your baby fully adjusts. Stay open to changing bedtime during this transition! You might have to shift bedtime as early as 6:00-6:30pm while your baby gets used to fewer naps and longer periods of awake time. If you need more assistance with nap changes, check out my 5-24 Months Sleep Guidewhich covers nap transitions, formal nap training, age-appropriate methods to help your little one sleep, early morning waking & so much more.

Tip: Don't let your little one nap longer than 2 hours to ensure they are getting their calories up during the day (feeding every 2.5-3 hours) & also to make sure they are not getting too much sleep during the day, which can result in frequent night wakes, split nights or early rising.

If you’re wanting 1:1 support, I also have options available for you. Individual babies have unique sleep patterns and needs, and what works for one may not work for another. My 1:1 support will help you in choosing a responsive method that sits comfortably with you and best suits your bub and their temperament. These options are for 5 months to 4 years old. If you’re want more information on what working together might look like and learn more about my methods, I’m happy to chat. Book your free 15 minute discovery call here. This is your no obligation pathway to better rest.

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