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The best routine for a 5 month old baby

Want to know what an ideal five month old baby routine looks like?

Whether you love a rigid routine or prefer to be a little more flexible, this post will give you all the information you need to organise your baby’s daily schedule. 

Mum with a 5 month old baby

At this stage your baby’s day is still very much made up of three simple things – eating, sleeping and playing. 

While we can make reasonable predictions for all three of those things, all babies are different so it’s important to take cues from your little one. If they appear tired, then pop them down for a nap even if it’s 45 minutes earlier than you had expected. 

If your baby is hungry earlier than usual, then feed them. 

Babies go through changes all of the time. Sometimes these are permanent changes as they grow and develop, and others are temporary, such as feeding very frequently during a growth spurt or becoming very fussy during a developmental leap. 

We’re going to break down all of the key parts of your baby’s day plus there’s a sample five month old baby routine here for you to use too. 

Related post: Ideal 4 month old baby routine

How much sleep does a 5 month old baby need?

At five months your baby will still need 12 to 16 hours of sleep in total throughout the day. 

This will be broken up between one or two big chunks of sleep at night plus three naps in the day. 

They will probably manage an awake time of between two and three hours before they need a snooze to reset during the day. 

How much milk does a 5 month old baby need?

A formula fed baby will drink around 180ml to 240ml (or 6ozs to 8ozs) every three to four hours during the day. They will be having around five to six bottles in a 24 hour period. 

For a breastfed baby you should feed on demand but you are likely to find by five months you are in a bit of a pattern that sees your baby feeding roughly every three to four hours. 

Many five month olds are still waking at night – this is totally normal! – wanting milk so continue to let them feed as they wish. 

At five months you should find the night feeds have settled down a little so you’re only feeding once or twice. 

If you’re expressing your breast milk then your baby may take between 19 and 30oz of milk per day (that’s 570ml to 900ml) according to KellyMom.

At this stage you will be looking to start weaning your baby next month which is an exciting time! 

You can get lots of tips for getting started with weaning, including how to incorporate solids into your daily routine, on this post for six month olds. It includes a meal plan with food ideas! 

Plus there are tips for making your own homemade baby food on this post. 

Many parents are tempted to get started with weaning early at five months. This is sometimes due to frequent night waking or frequent feeding.

It’s quite normal for a baby to go through a growth spurt that may cause more frequent feeding and sleep regressions in the first year that can disrupt sleep patterns.

Have a chat with your doctor or health visitor if you are thinking about starting weaning early so you can discuss all of the pros and cons of this.

5 month old baby milestones 

There’s no set path your baby should be following when it comes to milestones. Some babies will do things such as sitting up quicker than others, and others may start sitting up a little later than their peers. 

This doesn’t mean  your baby has any problems, so remember that when you read about milestones and when these should be met these are just a guide. It’s not a deadline for when your baby should definitely be doing something. 

Now we’ve got that big disclaimer out of the way, there are some exciting things happening around the age of five months with your baby. 

Sitting up 

Your baby may be able to sit upright with a little help from you to get them into position. They may also need cushions, their hands or other props at this stage to keep them upright but you may notice they’re working towards being must more stable when sitting upright.

Rolling over 

Babies tend to begin rolling over at four months so at five months your baby may well be a pro at getting from front to back and then back again. Some babies may not roll over in both directions until around six months. 

Fine motor skills

Your baby may be passing an object or toy from one hand to the other and able to pick it up as well. 

There are some great play ideas for developing baby’s fine motor skills over on this post.

Language 

While your baby may not be forming words just yet they will be making all sorts of babbling noises. 

Plus they may be able to recognise their own name, turning their head towards you when you call them. 

Tummy time 

Tummy time is still an important part of helping your baby with their physical development. At five months your baby will be lifting their chest off the floor using their hands while also lifting their legs.

Your baby’s routine at five months

NapsThree naps of one to three hours in length
Awake time1.5 to 2 hours
Night time sleep10 to 12 hours with one or two night feeds
Bedtime7pm

The best 5 month old baby routine

This baby routine does not include a dream feed at 10pm. This is a feed that you give to your baby while they are still asleep – you gently lift them from their cot and offer a feed then put them down to continue sleeping afterwards.

Whether you include this or not is really up to you. Some parents find it is a huge help at getting baby to sleep through to 7am, while others find it makes not difference.

Some time between now and seven months your baby will consolidate the lunchtime nap with the late afternoon nap. This will become longer, and a little later in the day at around 12.30pm to 1pm.

For now most babies at this age still need those three naps spaced out throughout the day to keep them happy until bedtime.

TimeWhat’s baby doing
7amWake-up and feed
7.30amPlay while parents have breakfast
8.30amNap
10amWake-up and feed
10.30amGo for an outing or play at home
11.30am/middayNap
1pmWake-up and feed
1.30pmPlay or go for an outing
2.30pmNap
4pmWake-up and feed
4.30pmPlay
6.30pmBathtime
7pmFeed and go to bed
The best daily routine for a 5 month old baby

You can download a PDF of this 5 month old baby routine right here:

Sleep training your baby at 5 months

If you’ve had five months of extremely interrupted sleep then you’re probably wondering by now when this is going to end!

Do not panic. Although five months feels like a lifetime when you are exhausted, it will get much easier.

If you want to have a go at sleep training your baby then many experts say four to six months is an acceptable time to do so.

But this does not mean you have to get started with sleep training right now, or ever! There are lots of tips from baby sleep expert Sarah Ockwell-Smith on what is normal in the first year when it comes to sleep and how to cope with it. She advocates a gentle approach to sleep training where you accept baby’s natural rhythms rather than try to force a change.

All babies will naturally begin to sleep for longer, and with the introduction of solids this particularly can have an impact on sleep.

There are a few things you can do to help your baby sleep for longer stretches at night if you find they are waking more than twice overnight:

  • Analyse your daily routine. Double check your baby is getting enough naps and having around five to six proper milk feeds during the daylight hours. If they are overtired they may be restless overnight and difficult to settle.
  • Ensure they know the difference between day and night. When feeding your baby at nighttime keep the lights low or off and don’t start playing at this time. Try to settle them back to sleep as quickly as possible after feeding at night.
  • Help them learn to settle to sleep without help. You can gently wean your baby off sleep props such as being rocked to sleep by putting them down drowsy but awake so they nod off in their own cot.

There are lots more tips about gentle no cry sleep training over on this post if that is something you would like to try.

Play ideas for 5 month olds 

When it comes to play time what can you do with a five month old baby?

By now your five month old will be a lot more physically active compared to their newborn days and so will love playing with a range of toys. 

As they are now probably rolling around the floor they will love exploring areas of your home, so you will need to double check all of your baby-proofing efforts are still up to date.

These are some great fun play activities to do with your five month old:

  • Make some noise. Rattles are a great toy for babies in the first year. Why not get a few different ones that make slightly different noises and show your baby that they are different. Then let them have a try. You could also give them a wooden spoon and saucepan to bash as a makeshift drum.
  • Blow bubbles.
  • Roll about on a play mat. Many baby play mats feature mirrors and different materials so baby can explore a variety of textures.
  • Explore different scents. Get some fresh herbs and let them handle and smell them to explore the different scents.
  • Sing them nursery rhymes.
  • Name the different parts of their body.
  • Explore a box or bag of treasures. Fill a box or a bag with toys, things like ribbons and interesting items such as feathers or pinecones. Let them hold the objects one by one and explore the different textures and weights.

Final thoughts on your baby’s routine at 5 months

When it comes to setting out your own baby’s daily schedule at five months remember to take cues from your baby.

At five months you will hopefully have become a bit of an expert at spotting when they are hungry or when they are tired. Follow their rhythms and use this sample schedule as a guide for your own daily routine!

The best routine for your 5 month old baby

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