Raising your first child is very much a hit and miss prospect. There are so many factors to consider that it’s frankly overwhelming. So how do you bring a little order into the chaos? In this article we are going to discuss planning a feeding schedule for a 5 month old and a little about how to use that additional time. If you are ready, let’s get started!
The importance of planning
Wait, a schedule for a 5 month old?! Is that even possible? It surely is. While it will take a bit of patience on your part setting a schedule is well worth your while. While baby might not like it at first (probably won’t like it, actually), in time your baby will adjust to the schedule and you will benefit by having just a little more time to get the rest of your life in order. Sound good? Let’s move on.
Customizing a schedule for your baby
Now, while you can consult some excellent reference material such as that of Gina Ford for creating your 5 month olds schedule, you can also simply experiment and make your own. So how long does a 5 month old need to sleep? How much do they need to eat? Well, the sleep part is easy. Generally you are looking at 11 or 12 hours a night and 3-4 hours of napping during the day (very much like the sleep routine for a 20 week old baby ). As far as eating goes with a 5 month old:
- 5 or 6 breastfeeding sessions per day
- 1-3 feeding sessions should be done at night
- If your doctor recommends it, you can start baby on solids, but generally this is not going to be until baby is 6 months old.
Now, we have gone through some 5 month old sleeping and feeding schedule samples and we have one to share with you. Use it to give you an idea for making your own schedule or use it as-is, the choice is yours and once your 5 month old falls into a routine schedule then everyone will think you are a ‘baby whisperer’!
A sample feeding and sleeping session for your baby
- 6:30 – Good morning, Angel! – Time for baby to wake up and enjoy a feeding of breast milk or formula for breakfast.
- 7:15 – Baby Lab 101 – Time to test a little solid food on baby if your pediatrician has given the okay.
- 8:00 – Nap Number 1 – After feasting, your little one may be a little bit groggy. Even if they are not, you will want to put baby down for a nap at this time. After awhile your baby will adjust to a sleeping schedule if you enforce it.
- 9:00 – Vitamin time! – Now it’s time for another feeding, either breastmilk or formula, just to ensure that baby has the proper nutrition to grow fast and strong! A little play afterwards will help those developing muscles as well.
- 11:00 – Nap or Nap and play! – Baby should take another nap, either for a full hour or for 30 minutes followed by a brief visit to the playpen
.” Your baby will adjust to a sleeping schedule if you enforce it.”
- 12:00 – Baby is hungry again! – Time for another feeding, this time for lunch, followed by an hour in the playpen.
- 1:30 – Playtime is over – To help with the nap that is about to follow and to keep baby happy and healthy, it’s time for another feeding.
- 2:00 – Nap number three – Put baby in the cradle or playpen-bed and it’s time for a longer nap, a good two hours this time. Switching between half hour, hour, and two hour napping intervals on a schedule not only helps baby get used to the new schedule but to go to sleep quickly when you put them in bed!
- 4:00 – Wake and munch – After such a long nap, baby will surely be hungry again. A little breastmilk and a lot of love and maybe half an hour in the playpen is in order.
- 5:00 – Quick nap! – A quick nap after the snack and play is a good idea for baby at this time. Only for 30 minutes, though. After the 30 minutes let baby play for an hour to get tired out for bed.
- 6:30 – Bedtime preparation – Now it’s time to put baby in bed and to play a little music. Interact with your baby, speaking softly so that your little one gets drowsy.
- 6:45 – Feed and dream – Time to give baby another feeding before bed and then to put them to sleep. You will want to feed them once or twice more later in the evening (10:30 is a good time for a feeding if you are only doing one). This will help to ensure that the little one doesn’t get hungry at 4am.
- 7:00 – Cross your fingers – With a bit of luck, baby is now sleeping deeply and you can relax a little. Enjoy a meal with your significant other if you like, take a hot bath with the baby monitor in the bathroom, or read a good book. You’ve earned it!
Some final words
While each baby is different, the schedule that we have provided will hopefully give you a good starting point for customizing a schedule of your own. Don’t be overly frustrated if your baby is reluctant to accept a schedule, give it a try for a week before changing anything and see how it goes. Sometimes it just takes patience. Other times, however, there is going to be some tweaking that needs to be done. In these cases we recommend making a schedule with a ‘best-effort’ attempt based on your baby’s behavior and sticking to it for at least a week before trying something new. Persistence pays off and once baby is following the schedule then Mom and Dad can make a few schedules of their own! Good luck and happy parenting!