Reaching the 5-month mark is an exciting time for parents. Many doctors look for baby milestones by month four and six, so you will likely be noticing many changes in your baby at this point. A 5-month baby will start to show signs of their personality and will be responding to affection by displaying emotions in various ways.
The cognitive and physical developmental milestones that your baby reaches at this stage can give rise to many questions. What should my baby do at month 5? How much should a five-month-old eat? How far can a 5-month old see? This article provides the answers to these questions and any other queries that you may have about care giving at this stage.
Baby Development by Month: Fifth Month
Month 5 is seen as a transition period for babies, as they gain an increasing ability to make sense of the world around them. Their muscles are strengthening, their senses are sharpening, and they are developing close relationships with the people around them.
At this stage, it is important to spend as much time as possible with your baby during the morning time as this is the stage when they will be at their most active, attentive, and agreeable. Many parents even introduce playtime to their morning routines, using cognitive-boosting toys to aid their child’s development at a time when they are most mentally active.
The brain of a 5-month baby is like a sponge, absorbing all new information. Introducing new stimuli, such as different music and sounds, can be a good way of taking advantage of your baby’s fascination with the world around them. It can also be good to switch the angle of your baby’s crib from time to time, so that they process new visual information and can focus on different objects in the room.
As much as your baby enjoys experiencing new sensations, however, it is important to not overwhelm your child. Getting sufficient rest and naptime is essential, and your baby will crave downtime in order to process all of the new information that they are receiving.
Average Baby Weight and Physical Changes
It is common for new parents to ask questions such as, “what is the average baby weight at month 5?” or “what is the average baby length”, and the truth is that it can fluctuate greatly. Parents and caregivers should not pay too much attention to averages as each baby progresses at a different rate. As long as their baby is consistently gaining weight, there shouldn’t be a problem.
That being said, the average 5-month-old baby boy weighs around 16 to 17 pounds, and the average girl weighs between 15 to 16 pounds. In terms of height, the average length for boys is between 15 and 16 inches for both boys and girls.
Other physical changes include the possibility of your baby’s first teeth arriving. If your baby has been drooling more than usual or seems to be uncharacteristically restless, they may be experiencing teething. At month 5, this would be earlier than average, but it is not unheard of for babies to start experiencing the symptoms of teething at this stage.
Baby Movement Milestones
A 5-month old baby should be able to lift their upper body using their arms while lying on their tummy. It’s possible that they will start to roll over, too, and it is important to never leave your baby on a bed or raised surface if they are able to do this. 5-month old babies can often sit upright for long periods of time, too, though they may still need a pillow to prop them up. All of these movements are strengthening your baby’s muscles and, before you know it, they will be using these muscles to crawl.
Baby Vision Development
When your baby is 5-months old, their color perception is clearer, and they begin to differentiate between different hues and softer shades. As their vision improves, their depth perception becomes more accurate and, consequently, they will be able to better comprehend the distance of objects, this will lead to your child increasingly reaching for objects within their range of vision.
Children can have eye examinations from 6 months onwards. If you are concerned about your child’s vision, it is important to book an examination as soon as possible – the earlier a vision impairment is detected, the greater the likelihood of correcting it before their vision fully develops.
Baby Hearing Development
A 5-month old baby is starting to comprehend the sounds around them and everyday sounds, such as a dog barking or the rattling of house keys when closing the door, will become familiar to them. Understanding words is a step too far at this stage, but it’s quite probable that your baby will be able to notice tone changes in your voice when giving an affirmative or negative response or command.
Your baby will likely be doing lots of babbling and cooing when they are 5-months old. As they grow older, they will try to imitate the sounds that come from their caregivers and will introduce new consonant sounds into their vocabulary, such as “m” and “d”. They may also begin to put consonant and vowel sounds together, which means that it won’t be too long until you hear “ma-ma” or “da-da”.
Baby Sense of Smell Development
A 5-month baby’s sense of smell has been developing at a fast rate ever since they entered the outside world. They already notice strong smells and can detect different people from their aromas. Now, your baby will use their sense of smell to detect ‘threats’ or unknown entities that make them feel uncomfortable. This will lead to your baby responding in an unsettled manner when they smell something unfamiliar.
Soon, your baby will start to eat solid foods, and their sense of smell will be essential for deciding what they do and don’t like. Their diet preferences will largely be determined by the aromas given off by food items and, oftentimes, your baby will grow up liking similar tastes to their parents due to the fragrances they become acquainted with in the womb.
Baby Feeding Schedule
Children crave routine and, although this can be difficult in the chaotic world of baby care, having an approximate timetable can make a big difference in your baby’s life. When devising a schedule, it’s important to keep in mind that your baby will typically eat between 4 to 8 ounces of breast milk or formula at every feeding.
Some parents introduce solid foods at the age of 5 months, though it is usually not recommended until month 6 onwards. Your baby may be ready, however, if they are able to hold their head up unassisted, open their mouth when food is near it, and have doubled in weight since birth. If you decide to start introducing solid foods, it’s important to note that formula and breastmilk should still be the main source of nutrition initially. If you are introducing homemade baby food, be careful not to feed your baby too many vegetables that are high in nitrates, such as beets, spinach, turnips and carrots.
Baby Sleep Schedule
A lot of babies are able to sleep throughout the whole night when they are 5-months old, sometimes in 8 to 10 hour stretches. This can be encouraged by establishing a set bedtime routine that teaches your baby when it’s time to wind down for the evening.
A 4-month baby requires between 14 to 15 hours of sleep every day and will usually have 2 to 3 naps during the day. It is nothing to worry about, however, if your baby does not sleep throughout the entire night yet, as some babies are not able to do this until later on in their development.
How to Change Baby Sleep Schedule
At the 5-month mark, it is important to establish a set routine for the evening times. This routine will help your baby develop their internal clock and will teach them difference between day and night. To encourage your baby to wind down in the evenings, devise a regular schedule that suits your situation and stick to it. This can be as simple as bathing, feeding, and reading a story at the same time every evening before putting your baby to bed. Once a schedule has been adopted, your baby will soon get used to it.
Some parents adopt certain sleep training techniques, such as the cry it out and no more tears method, in order to encourage their baby to sleep throughout the whole night. The main principle of these techniques is to allow your baby to self-soothe when they wake up during the night.
Baby Emotional Development Milestones: Fifth Month
One of the most common emotional developmental milestones at month 5 is stranger anxiety. This typically manifests as crying or unsettled behavior when your baby is around strangers and is a normal response to unfamiliar people and environments. If your child becomes unsettled when around a new face, be sure to sooth them to reassure them that everything is okay.
Your baby will have developed a strong emotional attachment to their parents or caregivers at this stage and will be able to express their emotions by laughing, smiling, crying, babbling, and squealing. A baby’s personality may begin to shine through when playing games and they will react positively as you play together.
Baby Daily Routine at Month 5
Up until now, your baby’s daily routine will have been largely set by their needs – eating, sleeping, and feeding as required. Now, though, it is important to start establishing a regular routine that teaches your baby about the different patterns of a day. You don’t have to meticulously stick to the routine, but it is good to have a general outline of the day planned out so that you and your baby are more organized.
One parent’s schedule may look completely different to another, as devising a routine is personal and should be tailored to best suit the situation. When devising a schedule, however, parents and caregivers should be mindful of certain requirements. 5-month old babies require 14 to 15 hours of sleep every day and need to be fed between 4 to 8 ounces of breast milk or formula at every feeding. They should also have enough time scheduled for playing and bonding, especially in the mornings.
Baby Causes for Concern at Month 5
At this stage in your baby’s growth, certain abnormalities or developmental problems may become apparent. Parents and caregivers should look out for the following symptoms that may indicate that further medical attention is required:
- Baby’s eyes are crossed.
- They are unable to sit up for any period of time.
- They are emotionless and do not smile.
- They are not gaining any weight.
- They are not tracking items and appear uninterested and disengaged.
Baby Checklist at Month 5
In order to keep track of your baby’s development progress, it is a good idea to monitor their growth using a checklist. If their fine motor skills are developing correctly, a 5-month old baby should be able to:
- Reach for objects within viewing distance.
- Pay attention to familiar voices and sounds.
- Hold objects in their hands.
- Grasp small body parts, such as fingers and toes.
- Track close objects while they are moving.
How do I know my baby is developing?
A good way to know that your baby is developing at a normal rate is to keep checklists (such as the motor skills development checklist outlined above) in order to track their progress. The range of ‘normal’, however, varies greatly at this stage, and each baby progresses at a different rate.
How can I help my baby’s development?
Certain toys can help your baby’s development, especially colorful and musical toys that allow your baby to process new sensory information. It is also a good idea to schedule playtime during the mornings, as this is the time when your baby’s brain is at its most active.
What age do babies start doing things?
At this stage, your baby should be able to grasp objects, sit up for short periods of time, and lift their upper body whilst lying on their tummy. In the next few months, your baby may start to crawl and will begin to verbalize more consonant sounds as they try to imitate the sounds around them.