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Nap "Schedule" for a 5 Month Old

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I am sure I am overcomplicating this, but I have heard that a 5 month old baby needs 3 hours of daytime sleep per day. Our baby varies a lot in her sleep. She'll sleep 2-4 solid hours sometimes (usually this is in her swing, but it doesn't work as well as it used to). other days, like today, I can't get her to sleep more than 30-40 minutes at a time. She's slept an hour and a half so far today and it's 3:30 now, and I have to start her bedtime routine at 7:00 and she should be down for the night at 8:00. But if she sleeps again between now and then (especially for the whole other half of her daytime sleep), it could affect her night time sleep, I would guess. And we need her to be going down for the night at a consistent time. But I don't want her to get overtired....


We didn't used to be schedule oriented. We have no schedule for feeding, except that we feed her before putting her down for a nap. Other than that, it's just whenever she seems hungry. But now, what we were doing doesn't seem to work anymore, and it's one thing one day and another the next... just whatever works for that day. And it kind of bothers me. I don't feel like the unpredictability is fair to her. How do you guys handle nap "schedules," and how do you go out and have a baby at the same time, if you have to obsess so much over nap times and routines? It seems like you could never leave the house....


They say that it's useful to follow the eat, activity, sleep cycle over and over again, but I can't imagine trying to get my baby to sleep without feeding her right beforehand. No way she is going to sleep if she's hungry, unless she's just exhausted.

post #2 of 7
When my little one was newborn, I never did the eat, wake, sleep thing because she ALWAYS fell asleep after feeding. She is 4 months now and my pediatrician said she needs about 14-15 hours total per day so for most babies that are sleeping 10-12 at night, that's about 3 hours daytime sleep.

At four months she seems to eat, fall asleep or relax in my arms for a few minutes while eating or immediately after...more relaxed then anything, and then I do something with her or let her have some "me time" while I get ready. she stays fully awake for 60-90 minutes. Then, I cradle her and talk softly and put her to bed for her nap. Sometimes she lays there quietly for a few minutes before falling asleep, but she is resting. she takes a nap for about 45-60 minutes. I don't stress about the nap schedule because she gets 12-13 hours at night, and always sleeps at some points during the day. If I need to run errands or go somewhere, we pack up and go, and if she is tired she will fall asleep in her carrier or car seat.

I would look at it on the whole and roughly keep her on a schedule. So if I feed at 8:00, she will usually be ready for nap at 9:30 and then ready to eat again about 11:00. But some days it changes by up to 60 or even 90 minutes and I'm okay with that.

In short, my daughter usually naps in 45-60 minute increments and then when we are on the go she'll nab a few minutes in addition to her two regular naps. I don't worry about a nap prep routine...if she's tired I let her sleep, if she isn't we stay up. The thing is though she sleeps straight through the night for 12-13 hours. If she was waking or struggling there, I might be more concerned that she was getting the recommended daytime napping hours.
post #3 of 7
Oh and she almost always takes a brief 30-60 minute nap around 3:30 or 4:30 and it never affects her nighttime sleep which she has from 7:00-30 to 8:00-30am. So I wouldn't be nervous about giving her a late afternoon nap or quiet time in bed and see what happens...she may fall asleep for a short nap and then be totally ready for sleep at 8.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you! I am thinking about loosening up a bit. I am just getting stressed out trying to count hours and have a schedule, and it's not worth it. From now on, I'll get her to nap whenever she starts rubbing her eyes instead of by the clock. If we're home, I'll put her down for one, and if we're out, I'll do the best I can to make her comfortable so she can nap on the go. "They" say to get your baby to sleep before the eye rubbing begins, but I don't know how to predict when that is, and then I try to get her to nap when she isn't sleepy and she gets pissed off and no one is happy. I think we'll keep the bedtime routine and that is about it.

post #5 of 7
Honestly, the only time I can get DD to ap before eye rubbing begins is when we ate "on-the-go -baby"... I live in a suburban/rural type area so the car lulls her right to sleep. Otherwise it's pretty much clockwork 60-90 minutes after eating ....and I know because of eye rubbing.

I read a ton too, and I struggle to balance, the books/reading and the reality of her personality/schedule.

I, for one, am trying to embrace "in her time" which is one reason I joined mothering. It feels more natural.

If your LO is sleeping well at night, I wouldn't be too worried about over tired. Maybe others will chime in? I'm interested in nap schedule ideas too...or just the "go with the flow" mentality...
post #6 of 7

I'll chime in :)  We're very 'go with the flow' around here...especially since my daughter (6mo) has decided that naps are for everyone BUT her!  My biggest cue that she's tired is when she starts rubbing her eyes.  Hey, it's one of the first things I do when I'm tired :)  She sleeps around 10 - 11 hours at night (usually waking to feed/snuggle two or three times) and I'm lucky if she'll have 3 thirty-minute naps in a day.  However, yesterday she slept for a total of 5 hours during the day, and so far today she's slept almost 2 hours  (it's 3pm)


My 'opinion' is that their little bodies will get as much -or as little- sleep as it needs.  Some days that might be more than other days, but as long as I put my girl down when she's tired, or at least give her 'quiet time', I think that's good enough.  And besides, schedules only work until the next growth spurt :P

post #7 of 7
Just wanted to add that my almost 6 month old only naps for a half hour at a time too. That is her normal. Frustrating, yes because it's hard to get in those things we do while baby sleeps. She would just rather play though! Also, she is a baby and babies are always changing it up on us right?
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