Five Months

Me and the World - Your five month old is really changing. Most of the infant reflexes have faded out giving baby more voluntary movements. Vision has completely developed as have hearing and touch. Eating and sleeping schedules are fairly regular and the baby’s waking, attentive periods have increased. All of this means that it is time for baby to start exploring the world as something separate from himself. You may see your baby staring at her hands as she waves them around in front of her eyes. A few weeks later, she will be holding her feet up, while lying on her back, to watch them as she wiggles them. You may see him hold a toy out in front of his eyes, bring it to his mouth and then hold it out again to look at it. This is the way babies compare themselves to the outside world, which is  a very important step in mental development. Five month olds are very busy because they have so much to do.

MILESTONES (Milestones are averages and, at best, rough guidelines. Half of babies will achieve milestones earlier than noted and half will reach them later. As babies get older, they become more diverse in their development and milestones become less reliable. )

How your -5-month old moves:
1.       On his tummy, your baby will be very active. He will hold his chest up off the ground and may start “pivoting” around, pushing himself with his hands so he moves in a circular direction around his tummy. He may get up onto his hands and knees and rock back and forth. He might also lift his hands and feet off the floor in what is called an “airplane” position.
2.       Most babies can roll either from tummy to back or from back to tummy or both. Most do not roll over and over yet.

3.       On her back, she can bring her feet up to her mouth and really seems to enjoy putting her toes in her mouth.
4.       If you pull your baby to sitting using her arms, she will keep her head aligned with her trunk and will “help” come up to sitting.
5.      He can sit with support at the hips for as long as half an hour and may be able to sit along while supporting his upper body with his arms.
6.       If you hold the baby at the waist in standing position, she will take most of her weight on her feet and may bounce up and down.
7.       Some babies begin moving around, using pivoting, rolling and pushing with the feet when on back or tummy. They don’t usually aim to get from one place to another.

How your 5-month old uses hands:
1.       Grasp reflex has disappeared and grasp now is voluntary. He will use his thumb and middle and index finger to hold medium to large sized objects.
2.       Her reach is fairly accurate by now and she can reach and obtain an object that is close by.
3.       He may be able to hold a bottle with both hands and can hold a rattle or toy and bring it to his mouth.
4.       She may hold a toy and wave it around. She will use either hand and does not show handedness yet.
5.       He may start to move objects from one hand to the other and back.
6.       She will still drop one object to pick up a second rather than hold one object in each hand.
Your 5- month old’s senses
1.       Mouth is still the most sensitive area and mouthing is a very important source of sensory information for 5 month olds and they will put everything in the mouth.
2.       Eye-hand coordination is much improved as can be seen when he reaches for an object.
3.       She can now look for a fast moving object or an object that is dropped.
4.       Sense of balance is improving as he begins sitting up.
Thinking and learning
1.       The baby begins to separate himself from the rest of the world
2.       Can remain in an active alert state (playful) for more than an hour.
3.       Baby can now recognize what some familiar objects are when she sees part of it. This includes your face.
4.       Along with recognizing familiar object, situations and people, babies start to be aware of unfamiliar situations. Not yet fearful but they react with a quiet, curious look
5.       At this age, babies start to be aware that they can have an effect on things by moving them or touching them to change the shape or make a noise. These actions will often be repeated.
5-month old language skills:
1.       Your baby may start to imitate your sounds on purpose.
2.       He may also start to make sounds to his toys or to get attention
3.       The range of speech like sounds increases and includes most vowel sounds and maybe a few of the consonants like m and b.
4.       You will start to hear more tones your baby’s speech.
5.       Your baby will listen more intently and will watch your mouth as you speak.
6.       He will turn his head to look at a speaker.
Social skills at 5-months
1.       Babies can start to recognize themselves in a mirror.
2.       Starts to show emotions, protests when a toy is taken, shows fear and anger and joy.
3.       Might begin to recognize people she knows.
4.       May start to get the idea of teasing.
5.       Clings back when she is held.



1.    Now is the time to “babyproof” your home if you have not already done so. Your baby will soon be mobile and you need to find the dangers in your home to protect your baby. One way to check around is to get down on the ground and crawl around the rooms that the baby gets into and check for things that are in reach. In addition to covering electric outlets and putting latches on lower cupboards and closets, care should be taken to move all cords, including drapery cords, to a higher level. Babies can get wrapped in them and strangle and it is not difficult to move them up. Make sure that no small objects are in reach of the baby. This is difficult if you have older children who have toys with small parts but babies put everything in the mouth and anything that can be swallowed is a choking danger. You can watch your baby every waking minute but a few small safety measures taken at this time could prevent a tragedy in the event that you are distracted.
2.    Tummy time is still important but now your baby will be more mobile so may need more space.
3.    Encourage pivoting by putting toys slightly to the side of the baby when she is on tummy time. She will reach for it and will move around to reach it.
4.    Now is the time for a variety of toys that a baby can manipulate and can put in the mouth without being able to swallow them.  Toys that make noise or that have different textures are good. Soft balls or hard rattles. You can make a rattle with a small plastic bottle from a food product. Put a few large colorful beads in the bottle and make sure the cap is on very tight.
5.    Putting ankle rattles or bells (can be purchased) or pompoms on the ankles for a short time can be an interesting activity for babies who are interested in their feet. Wrist rattles are also interesting.

Sensory, thinking and learning
1.       Mirror play with you is fun. Make faces in the mirror or point to each other or wave at your baby. He may enjoy looking in the mirror by himself. There are mirrors made for babies that are safe and can be attached outside of the crib and set up on the floor during tummy play.
2.       A texture blanket or rug will provide different textures for exploration. If you sew, you can make one by sewing together squares of different materials. Something soft, something fuzzy, something smooth and even a small square of a rougher texture.
3.       Peek-a-boo type games where you partially hide a favorite toy or object and say, “Where’s your toy?” to build it up then bring the toy out and give it to the baby. Regular Peek-a-boo by partially covering your face becomes a fun game at this time.
4.       Playing with crumpled paper may be entertaining but remember that babies this age tend to put everything in the mouth so this should be with you.
5.       Finger and toe games, along the lines of “this little piggy” or “where is thumbkin”.  Body awareness is developing at this time along with the ability to anticipate and this type of games feeds into that development.

These are books that I made for my children.
Language and Social

1.       At this time your baby may start deliberately imitating sounds and gestures that he is able to make. Imitate his sounds and gestures and see if he imitates yours back. Keep it going with slight changes for as long as baby is interested.
2.       Singing simple repetitive songs and reading books to babies continue to be important. Continue with books with big pictures and a few words on each page.
3.       If you have a camera and a printer you can make a book of familiar objects of people. Take pictures of family members or familiar objects or favorite toys (about 8-10). Make sure that the picture is a single object on a plain background. Print the picture on full-sized paper. You can type a word or two to describe it but use large print. Laminate the pages. I prefer to use clear contact paper over laminate because it is softer but either will work. You can hook the pages together by punching holes in the side and tying it with short pieces of yarn or by using key chain rings.
4.       Play with sound toys like drums, bells and rattles. Things that make noise with a simple action.