As they’re approaching the half-year birthday, your little one is becoming more of a social cutie. Admit it, you want to hug them, and kiss them, and cuddle them all the time. But there’s more to it and here’s what you need to know about their 5 months baby development.
What to expect from 5-month-old babies?
By now your baby should have more than doubled their birth weight. And even though their height and weight gain are not as rapid as they used to be, they should still progress at a steady rate.
And while it took them only 4-5 months to double their weight, they will need about a year to triple it.
In the meantime, you can expect your 5-month-old to gain up to 900gr (1-2 pounds) and add about 2cm (0.8) inches to their length during this month.
You may hear that at 5 months, infants are ready to sleep through the night. You’ve also heard that the ideal bedtime for a child this young is 7-8 p.m.
Unfortunately, not all babies want to sleep a full 11-12 hours a night, so they may be ready to start the day as early as 4-5 a.m.
This is because all babies are different. My firstborn used to go to bed at 7 p.m. and wake up at 7 a.m. when she was a baby. She still sleeps 12 hours a night at the age of two.
However, my second daughter falls asleep at 9-10 p.m. and wakes up at 6 a.m. We’re following the same routine, she is a happy, active 4-months old baby. She is just different.
So let your baby guide you. They are now old enough to start showing their own personality.
Encourage a sleep routine but don’t force your baby into a schedule they are not comfortable with.
Have you introduced solid foods yet? If your baby is not exclusively breastfed or has acid reflux, your pediatrician may advise that you start weaning your baby.
Here are some signs that your infant is ready to break their milk diet:
- Your baby has doubled their birth weight.
- They have complete control over their head.
- They can sit upright.
- They are showing interest watching you eat.
- The baby opens their mouth when you offer food.
- Their tongue-thrust reflex is gone.
- Baby seems to be constantly hungry.
Not sure where to start? Get the free baby food planner by signing on the mailing list.
Even if you do introduce solids to your 5-month-old baby, remember that their primary source of nutrition will still be breast milk or formula until they are at least 1 year old.
At 5 months your baby is getting pretty good at rolling over. And even if they don’t seem so confident right now, keep in mind that they can surprise you any day now.
So be sure you don’t leave your baby unattended on the bed, couch, or any other lifted surface. Also, remember to buckle them tightly when they’re in the swing.
Your baby’s spine is also getting stronger. In other words, your baby will soon be able to sit on their own. Actually, many babies are able to sit up all by themselves at this age.
Your pediatrician may recommend that you start assisting your baby to a sitting position. How? You just need a few pillows for their back, a toy to keep them entertained, and your unconditional love and support.
How to play with your 5-month-old baby?
Have you noticed that your baby has become more active in the morning? This is a natural part of their 5 months baby development and I highly advise you to take full advantage of it.
Grab some of their favorite toys, talk to them about the day ahead, or do some exercise. Just be careful not to overstimulate them, because they may get fussy later on.
Satisfy their curiosity
Your 5-month-old is like a sponge. They are ready to start absorbing anything they see around them. So it’s finally time you start showing them the world.
Keep them in a supported sitting position for a while in the stroller or in your arms and walk them around. Tell them what you see, what you hear, guide their little hands to a new texture.
Just make sure you don’t overstimulate your baby or they may have a hard time going to sleep in the evening.
Bring out the baby books
Reading to your baby has tons of benefits. Here are some reasons to start as early as 5 months old:
- Communication. Listening to you talking is setting the basics for the infant’s language development. Read in a soft, clear voice, make facial impressions and change your tone with the story.
- Visual stimulation. Books designed specifically for very young age have the appropriate images to stimulate your baby. So put the book in front of them, point and name the different items or animals and tell them who is doing what.
- Love for books. Get them used to being around a book, show them how to hold them, and later on teach them how to handle them gently. Bringing books into their everyday routines will encourage a love for reading later in their life.
Play some music
Your baby is now old enough to appreciate the sound of music.
And the good news for mom is that it doesn’t have to be baby music only. So play your favourite tunes and see how your baby likes them. Dance with your baby in arms, sing along, and this may turn into one of your baby’s favourite new activities.
Most probably, your little one still hasn’t mastered rolling over. So you may want to help them and spend some quality time together at the same time.
How? By getting down on their level.
Put a soft blanket on the floor and let the games begin. Help them roll over, cuddle them, play with different toys and enjoy their giggles.
Toys for 5-month baby
We’ve mentioned toys several times already. That’s because your baby will soon outgrow the simple rattle stage.
Luckily, the market is oversaturated with some great developmental toys.
Here are some options that are both fun and may boost your 5 months baby development:
- Teether. Your baby will soon have their very first teeth (if they don’t already). Help them soothe their itching gums with a light-weight, soft teether like this cute mushroom.
- Play mat. Give your baby a safe place to practice all their new and upcoming skills like rolling over, sitting up, and later crawling. Bonus points if it’s waterproof, easy to clean and can be used outdoors.
- Musical. Let your baby “pick” the music by getting them an age appropriate musical toy. It should be small, easy to hold by tiny hands, and preferably to have volume control (so it doesn’t drive mom crazy in a couple of days).
- Baby book. High contrast images attract the baby’s attention and help them improve their vision. Get a soft, crinkle-filled book to both encourage love for books and to stimulate their hearing.
Your baby will now need some time to wind off with their new active schedule full of playtime and different activities. So make sure you offer them some downtime too.
So turn off any distractions, dim the lights, and lay them somewhere comfortable to just rest and cuddle. You can do this a few times a day so both you and your baby get some much-deserved break from your busy schedule.
5-months baby development milestones
Pediatricians usually track the baby milestones completed at the 4 and 6 age marks.
Thus, there are not many milestones associated with their current age. Instead, they should improve their current skills and prepare for the next developmental sprouts.
Here are the milestones that you can check off this month1:
- Sucks their hands and legs.
- Sits with support.
- Can bear their weight on their legs.
- Rolls over front to back.
- Reaches for a rattle and holds it firmly.
- Pushes to elbows during tummy time.
- Learns about cause and effect.
- Learns object permanence, i.e. that objects don’t disappear just because they don’t see them at the moment.
- Mimics facial expressions.
- Responds to smiles and enjoy playtime and cuddles.
- Tries to mimic cooing and other baby sounds.