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Your Baby at 5 Months Old

What to expect for your baby’s development, milestones, eating, and sleeping in the fifth month

 

During month five, babies really begin to interact. Your baby responds to your voice by looking for you or laughing at what you say. Your child has been gaining strength, rolling over and grabbing at objects. This is also the month where most babies start putting everything into their mouths. Your baby is truly keeping you on your toes now!

Five-Month-Old Development

Is your baby drooling like crazy and chomping down on her hands, toys, and even your shoulder? Teething might be the reason. Other signs of teething include irritability, fussiness, ear pulling and cheek rubbing, and swollen gums. Most babies get their first tooth between four and seven months. The two bottom center teeth, the incisors, usually erupt first, followed by the top two middle teeth.

Also happening: more growing! Babies add about one to one-and-a-half pounds in weight, plus a half-inch in length and head circumference this month.

Movement Development

Motor

Exciting news: by the end of the month, your baby should be holding his head steady while in a sitting position. From there, he’ll tackle turning his head from side to side. 

Rolling, rolling, rolling: Some babies are able to roll both ways – back to tummy and tummy to back – by the end of the fifth month. That means it’s possible your baby will flip over in bed and sleep on his stomach. Since the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) decreases when your baby develops head and neck control, you don’t need to pick your baby up and return him to the back position. But continue to put baby down on his back to sleep.

Reach and grab: Last month your baby was batting at objects she wanted. Now she’s working on picking things up by pressing them with her palm and then curling her fingers. If she’s successful, expect her to wrap both hands around the object and give it a good shake.

Senses Development

Sight

Thanks to continued improvements in your baby’s vision, she’s getting better at distinguishing pastels and other more subtle colors. She’s also noticing and reaching for objects, and probably having some success grabbing large items. She hasn’t yet developed the dexterity to pick up small objects. Dangling toys are a great way to help your baby develop these skills and also her hand-eye coordination.

Hearing

Half of the babies at this age will turn their head in response to someone speaking. Shake a rattle and most will look toward the sound. Check with your doctor if your baby isn’t reacting to any sounds by the end of this month. It might indicate a hearing concern. 

Sensory Development

Your baby is uber curious, and one way of exploring and discovering is to mouth everything and anything he can get his hands on. Keep a variety of baby-safe toys around, and keep everything else out of reach!  

Mental Development

Since birth, your baby’s brain has been storing info and memories. Now you’ll begin to see evidence of this mental stockpiling in your baby’s newfound motor skills. Your baby might issue a kick or squeal in anticipation of a diaper change, or settle in and open his mouth when mama sits down in the rocking chair.  Also under development: your baby’s understanding of cause and effect. Watch your baby test what happens when she bangs a toy on the table, and see her reaction when she re-creates the noise again and again. What seems like just playing is actually an experiment and opportunity to learn for your baby.

Language Development

Beginning this month, your baby is likely to become a sound machine, practicing a single noise (like “ah” or “oh”) on repeat, then starting in on mastering a different noise. Enjoy those sweet baby babbles!

Social Development

With new skills to show off seemingly every day, your baby is the life of the party, and that’s just how she likes it right now. Curious and interactive, with increasing attention spans and burgeoning personalities, five-month-old babies are quick to laugh and eager to explore. They’re also learning to express their dislike of something by making a face or turning their heads away. And starting now, your baby might fuss a little when he doesn’t see or hear you. This is the beginning of stranger awareness. Your baby adores you, but he’s becoming more particular about the other people, particularly strangers, in his life.

Help Your Five-Month-Old’s Development

How To Help Your Baby

  • Demonstrate how to transfer toys. Show baby how to pass an object from one hand to the other by placing a toy into your baby’s left hand, then shift it to the right hand.
  • Build your infant's strength by helping him stand. Support him under the arms and allow him to kick and put weight on his legs.
  • Play interactive games such as peek-a-boo with your baby. Infants love repetitive games and learn about object permanence (something hidden is not gone forever) at the same time.
  • Provide engaging playthings. Babies enjoy toys that they can roll, push, pull, or throw, especially those that pop back up. These toys provide mental and physical stimulation too!

Milestones this Month

  • Baby now laughs when you make funny faces or sounds.
  • Baby puts toys or other objects into his mouth.
  • Baby turns his head to follow your voice.
  • Baby rolls from belly to back and/or back to belly.
  • Baby begins to play games with you by dropping toys and having you pick them up.

Feeding at Five Months

Your baby continues on the liquid diet this month. Breastfeeding babies nurse between five and six times a day, formula-fed babies take a bottle about five times a day, and they all drink between 24 and 36 ounces every 24 hours. 

Some parents might opt to start solids this month. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends waiting until baby is six months old to offer solids. They point to concerns about allergies and immature digestive systems, and note that the nutrition contained in solid food is not necessary for babies before six months of age. Speak to your baby’s care provider about the right time to offer solids to your baby.

Sleeping at Five Months

Babies at this age sleep for increasingly longer lengths of time at night, usually between six and eight hours in a stretch. They might still wake up once (or twice), for a total of ten nighttime hours. Daytime sleep includes at least two naps, a morning and an afternoon snooze, with some babies taking a third nap in the late afternoon. The total hours logged? 14-15 a day. 

Common Concerns at Five Months

Objects In The Mouth

It can be a little unnerving when your infant starts to put everything into her mouth. Try not to worry, as this is normal behavior for a baby at five months old. At this age, babies explore the world with their mouths. A baby's mouth contains more nerve endings than the rest of his body, so mouthing allows them to begin to understand what an object feels like. Of course, it is important to know that what your child is putting into his mouth is clean and not a choking hazard. Now is a good time to babyproof your home in preparation for  baby’s increasing mobility.

New Parent Help: "Why does my baby cry when anyone other than my partner or I hold her?”

It is normal for many babies to begin to experience stranger anxiety and, month to month, these feelings may begin to increase. Your little one may become clingy or cry when anyone other than those closest to him attempt to interact. Try to socialize him as best you can, exposing him to as many types of people, situations, and places that you can. This allows your child to learn about himself and the world around him, builds baby's confidence, and helps him to feel more calm and comfortable in different environments.

See what’s next with our month to month guides

There are many exciting developments and changes in store for your baby in the months ahead! Take a look at what to expect at six months and beyond with our month to month guides.

 
3 4 Months Old
Your Baby at 6 Months Old 4

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