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Welcome to the kids sleep show, where we help tired parents from around the world to get their children to fall asleep independently, sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for Life. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. Now let’s sleep together. Hello, everyone, welcome to this week’s episode of the Kids sleep show. I am chatting with you this week all about the five month old baby sleep regression, and how your five month old should be on a three nap schedule. So we’re going to cover two important things today. First, we’re going to kick things off with that five month sleep regression because I see a lot about it. Some people say hey, is there a five month sleep regression other people say hey, we never really experienced a five month sleep regression. So I want to start with just the term sleep regression. What is it? And why does it happen? So sleep regressions can honestly happen at any age, you could go to google and type seven monthly progression, eight months, the progression nine months the progression, and you’re going to find some articles somewhere from some sleep consultant, talking about that particular regression. When you say the term sleep regression, in reality, it means sleep has regressed, it’s gotten worse for some reason, right. So when you have a sleep regression that’s happening, it typically means that baby has gotten used to something new, perhaps it was caused by a developmental leap. Like at five months, maybe they’re learning to sit up, but they can’t get back down. At nine months, maybe they’re learning to pull themselves standing, but can’t get back down. Maybe they had a cold or went to Grandma’s for the weekend. And things got a little bit off the rails. Anytime there’s a disturbance in what was frankly, good sleep that has turned bad we call a sleep regression. So when we talk about sleep regressions, you can honestly experience no sleep regressions throughout your entire baby’s life. And that really depends on how well your child develops the skill of independent sleep, and how Cognizant we are as parents around what’s happening. I coach a lot of newborn and expecting parents on building a strong Sleep Foundation from birth. And many of my clients months and years down the road, we’ll say Courtney, I’m so grateful that I hired a newborn sleep consultant, because they never had to sleep train. And we never had a sleep regression. But if you’re not so lucky, and you’re sitting there going well, my baby’s five months old and things just suck, we’re going to talk about how to fix it, and what that could potentially look like and where the cause came from. So first and foremost, at five months of age, your child should be taking approximately three naps a day, it’s typical that a five month old is on a three nap schedule. They need somewhere around three to three and a half hours of daytime sleep spaced across three naps. So a typical 7am to 7pm type of day for your baby would mean that their naps were happening somewhere loosely around 930 1230 and 330. From a schedule standpoint, and so, but in order for that three nap schedule to occur, your baby actually has to possess a couple things. First, they have to have the ability to settle independently for their naps. If your baby can’t go to sleep yet, without support, meaning rocking, to sleep, nursing to sleep, bouncing to sleep, walking to sleep, holding to sleep cosleeping any of those things, then it probably means that your baby’s not taking three long, decent naps in that particular schedule unless they’re supported. And I’ll tell you why. When a baby doesn’t have the skill of independent sleep, the problem is they’re going to wake up after one cycle, which could be 30 to 45 minutes, and they’re going to expect you to do that thing to get them back down. So now they’re taking a lot of really chronic short naps throughout the day. And by the end of the day, they’re probably pretty overtired. You end up skipping that last nap of the day because they don’t really need it from an age standpoint, but from the way their day when they’re overtired. So they do need it and then you sort of clash. Now you’re left with what do I do? I either have a freaking out baby till bedtime, or I put them down to sleep early. So the first thing you want to work on is how would your baby’s settling for naps when a baby builds the skill to independently settle, it also then means that they’re going to independently consolidate. So if your little one is struggling to independently settle, you want to make sure they can independently consolidate and then from there, you’ll start to see that three naps schedule taking place once 80 weeks from independently settling for a shorter nap. Okay? They put themselves to sleep but they’re up 3040 minutes later,
right, leave them alone, you want to give them at least 10 minutes to kind of wake up, look around the room recognize that they’re actually still pretty tired, and then let them put themselves back to sleep, even if there is a few minutes a fuss in there, because that’s going to help teach your baby that the expectation is they should actually go back to sleep and consolidate for one more cycle. And then over the course of about a week, you’re going to see those naps start to lengthen. If you’re awake windows are wrong. For your five month old, you will also see trouble in all different areas. Okay, you’re probably still on a four nap schedule, which is causing problems, they may not be consolidating independently, you’re Miss reading cues and putting them down. So now they’re pissed off going down because they’re not actually ready to go to sleep despite them yawning, which could just be a sign of boredom, right? So sometimes as parents, we’re Miss reading cues that are five month old is putting out around when they are ready to take a nap and what the nap schedule should be. At five months of age, as a general rule of thumb, you’re looking at about a two hour and 15 minute, or two and a half hour awake window between sleeps equally across the day. Well, you want to make sure that you look the most at is the proper timing for your child because they have to build up what’s called sleep pressure.
It’s adenosine, it’s a sleep pressure hormone. And if they don’t have the right sleep pressure, or sleep drive, as you’ll hear sleep consultants call it, then they’re not going to be able to fall asleep and stay asleep because they’re not tired, they don’t have enough pressure to drive them through multiple linkages of nap cycles. Okay, another issue that you see around five month olds is actually they’re starting to roll. So now they roll onto their belly, and then you flip them back onto their back and then they roll on to their belly and you flip them back. And all of a sudden, you become this mechanism that at three in the morning, you have to go in and flip your baby back. Because they’ve rolled on to their belly, well, you just become the mechanism, you have inserted yourself as a prop. So if a child around this age has started to do some things that are kind of impacting the nap or impacting the way in which they sleep through the night, you have to manage that by skill development right during the day, three times a day, practice teaching them to roll and roll back and roll and roll back. And they’ll usually have a dominant side. But you want to get them figuring out that they either are going to be comfortable on their belly. And once they get there on their own, they can sleep that way, as long as the sleep space is safe, or you have to teach them if you roll on your belly and get stuck. Here’s how you get back little baby and you show them through practice. And just like any skill over the course of a couple days, you can quickly get them going from back to belly, that leap is passed. And then you don’t have to worry about it causing any sort of asleep disruption or disturbance. The next thing you want to look at is the timing. And if your naps are off or your child is overtired, going into bed, it can cause early morning waking. So early wakings are actually commonly caused by kids being overtired, which seems counterintuitive. Kids also sleep a certain number of cycles overnight. So if your child is sleeping, you know, 15 cycles, and each cycle is 15 minutes, right? When you work through the whole night and where your child lands. As far as the morning goes, it is almost to a tee when they wake up, right. So just without taking you through every 15 minutes cycle all night for lack of you know, 10 minutes of me explaining it right? Let’s assume they wake at 4am. And they put themselves back to sleep and they sleep another cycle and their cycles are 15 minutes, and they sleep till 450. And they kind of Twitch. And then they shift a little bit they don’t wake up. They’re just like shifting around in between cycles. And then they they go down again until you know from four to 450. And then to 540. They get up and they do something else and they go not tend to get up yet. And then they go again another 15 minutes and you’ll start to see that the patterns of like, I won’t get 455 40 you know and then 630 or 720 Your kids are often completing a certain number of cycles every night and then waking up. But if they’re overtired, sometimes it can misfire hormones, and it throws that pattern off. And then they wake up early, even though you can visibly tell that they’re still really tired. So you want to pay attention to managing awake windows, managing overtired when you’re going into bed time and really make sure that you’re kind of balancing like I have a lot of parents that I do private sleep coaching with who I’ll say put your child to bed early tonight. And they’re often astonished to find that they actually sleep in late or the next day, because they were overtired, and then also where that cycle hits, baby wakes and goes no, not quite time to get up yet. And they’ll go back down for another cycle. So it’s definitely you know, all of this combined that at five months old, you’ve got happening, you’re going from four naps to three naps. And then between six and seven months, you’re going from three naps to two naps and a three hour week window. Right. So just when you have it figured out at five months, you’re going to hit six, seven months and you’re going to have this issue sort of pop back up again where you’ve got to drop that third nap, but in general, you know, that’s how I would manage The day really look at a three nap day, try to make that four to three transition around five months of age. And you know, just remember that intake also, at this age, kids should be able to go through the night, they should take 24 to 32 ounces in the daytime hours, then they should be able to sleep through the night if your child is not sleeping through the night at this age, but you have started solids, my advice to you is remove the solids, milk is the most nutrient dense thing that your child needs to sleep through the night solids aren’t
gonna help them get there. So, you know, two ounces of applesauce is not as nutrient dense as milk. Neither is two ounces of avocado, I mean, it’s got some good fat, but it’s not as nutrient dense is that milk, which is going to be what carries them sustainably through the night with the fat and the protein. Okay, so if your baby’s not sleeping through the night yet, and you are still feeding them overnight, you tend to drop that feeding, it’s trying to just add a little bit more milk in each day in the daytime hours while you gradually reduce that milk overnight. And then over the course of about a week, give yourself a week to make these adjustments, you’ll start to see a three nap schedule align any little hiccups from a five month sleep regression, as we call it will dissipate and be consistent in what you’re doing. And your baby will respond. They have to independently settle for naps bedtime and overnight, they have to be sleeping through the night or pretty close to it. You know, again, I’m never going to tell you not to feed a hungry child, but you have to understand where they’re using milk for a habit or where they truly need milk for intake from a nutrition standpoint. And if that’s happening, look at your food intake and minimize that to sock them for have full of a little more milk during the day. Okay, and then balance your awake windows, be consistent in your approach, have a great routine and bedtime have everything really structured. And then it’s rinse and repeat consistency is the number one piece of advice I can give you as a parent. So many clients come to me in my private sleep coaching and say I tried this method. I tried that method. I tried this method. I tried this method. I tried this method. I’m like Well, no wonder your baby is so confused. They do not know what to expect. They do not know if they’re going to get fed or picked up a rock or bounced or given some gas drops or changed in the middle of the night or changed it nap or bounced at nap or whatever the million things are that we’re doing to try to get them to sleep. First and foremost, independent sleep second, maximizing that intake during the day. And third, the right schedule, which around five months again, is three naps. So if you have any questions, please feel free to join me out in my free sleep community. It’s called lumber made simple. I do live trainings and coaches out there every single week to make sure that you get the best sleep in your home and keep it for life. Thanks so much. I hope everyone has a beautiful rest of the day. Make sure you go enjoy some time with your children and leave the rest to us. Hold on one more thing before you go. As a valued listener of the kids sleep show. I want to help you build a great sleep or not just in the times you’re listening to the show. But all day every day. Every week of the year. I have a new Facebook group called slumber made simple. It’s a place to gather with other parents looking for sleep support, laughs and the latest in sleep research to build a family that is rested and at their best day in and day out. If you want to be part of the community where you can get free sleep support, weekly training sessions, unbelievable content and so much more. Head on over to tiny transitions.com forward slash community that’s tiny transitions.com forward slash community or head over to Facebook and search slumber Made Simple. drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.