We’ve been told that it’s “normal” for babies not to sleep well and that being exhausted day in and day out is just part of motherhood. And while it’s true that babies up to a certain age shouldn’t be expected to sleep through the night, that doesn’t mean that we don’t deserve rest–especially as our babies get older.
At 5 months old, your babe has got a lot going on. They’re learning how to roll over, starting to babble, working on sitting up on their own, and—this is the most exciting—they’re probably ready to sleep for longer stretches. Now that your baby’s circadian rhythms are forming and they’re becoming masters at following sleep cues and signals, sleeping through the night might not be too far off.
Can you sleep train a 5 month old?
5 months old is a great time to start formal sleep training! You’ve got the 4 month sleep regression out of the way, you’re on a solid 3 nap schedule, and your baby is biologically ready to learn how to self soothe.
Want to learn more about what to expect at the 5 month mark and beyond? Check out my 4 to 9 Month Sleep Guide.
Will sleep training my 5 month old help them sleep through the night?
Yes! But sleeping through the night doesn’t happen overnight. Sleep training will help your baby learn how to fall asleep independently—which is the first step towards sleeping through the night!
Here’s my top 6 tips to get started on 5 month old sleep training:
Tip #1: Identify sleep crutches
Sleep crutches are certain things or actions your child relies on to fall asleep, like needing mom or dad in the room, nursing, rocking, etc. Ask yourself, “does my baby fall asleep on their own?” If the answer is no, think about the ways you’re helping them fall asleep.
Once you know what their sleep crutches are you can learn how to wean them off of those crutches so your baby can fall asleep independently.
Tip #2: Put a bedtime routine in place
When it comes to bedtime, consistency is key. A soothing bedtime routine, if religiously followed, will become a cue for your baby that it’s time to sleep. As part of your bedtime routine, give your baby their last feed of the day and consider adding calming activities like a bath, story time, changing into PJs, putting on a sleep sack, and snuggles.
Tip #3: Create the perfect sleep environment
Babies are so sensitive to changes in their environment—lights, sounds, even the temperature can play a role in how well (or not) your child sleeps. Learn how to create the perfect sleep environment here.
Tip #4: Pick a sleep training method
There’s a bunch of different sleep training methods out there—you’ve probably heard of “Cry It Out” and maybe the “Ferber Method”, but know that there’s a sleep training option to meet the needs of every family. When selecting a sleep training method, do your research! The best sleep training method is one that A) you’re comfortable with and B) you know you’ll stick to.
My Ultimate Sleep Training Guide gives you all the information and guidance you’ll need, including how to choose the right method for your family.
Tip #5: Choose a start date—and stick with it
Once you start sleep training, you’ve got to stick with it or you’ll end up back to square one. So do yourself a favor before you start and check your calendar. Any events, travel, or special circumstances coming up that might throw-off your schedule? Pick a day without any conflict. Kick off at bedtime that night and continue into the next day.
Tip #6: Try your best
Again, sleeping through the night doesn’t happen overnight—it’s important to set realistic expectations and know that there will probably be some regressions along the way. This will be a learning experience for your baby and you, so cut yourself some slack.
Celebrate the small wins: baby slept an hour later than usual? Awesome! It only took 20 minutes instead of 30 for baby to fall asleep? Fantastic! It won’t be perfect, but as long as you’re staying consistent and trying your best, you’ll both get there.
Remember, sleep training takes time and consistency, but if you stick with it, you and your baby will reap the benefits! In fact, getting sleep is one of the best things we can do for our families! It allows us to be the best parents we can be and shows our kids that self-care and sleep are important.