5 Month Old Baby Development
By now, your baby’s physical developments are coming fast and furiously.
When lying on his back, he’ll lift his head and shoulders. If you place him on his stomach, he’ll extend his arms and legs and arch his back.
This is a good exercise for strengthening his neck muscles, and it will help him develop the head control necessary for sitting up.
Once he can sit, stay nearby for support, even if you provide pillows to cushion a possible fall.
Support him under his arms and he’ll bounce up and down as he stands on your thighs. He’s likely to explore everything he picks up with his mouth, so be sure it’s too big for him to swallow or choke on.
Ba ba ba ba ba ba . . .
Your baby is adding new sounds to his language repertoire, and his current favorites are probably full of bubbles.
At this age, it’s common for babies to become so enthralled by one of the newfound abilities that they get stuck on it for a while. This is a normal developmental process; most babies master one skill before moving to the next.
Hearing the same sound over and over can get annoying, but learning patience now will prepare you for the endless string of “nos” and “whys” you’ll be hearing from your toddler.
Strong enough to feed himself
Though he may be able to hold his bottle now, never prop the bottle for him.
Continue using mealtime to cuddle, hold, and nurture your baby — he’ll be fiercely independent and resisting your kisses and snuggles soon enough.
At the same time, your baby’s probably showing more signs that he’s ready for solids — from a lessened tongue-thrust reflex to a keener interest in the foods you and other people are eating.
Use family mealtime to socialize with him. He’ll enjoy watching you eat, and he may even eat more himself as a result.
In another month or so he’ll be better able to sit up by himself and grasp small objects, too, adding to his dinner table skills.
Cause and effect
Your baby’s ability to interact with you, others, and his surroundings are growing daily.
At this stage, he may start playing little games as he begins to understand that simple actions have results.
He may drop objects just to watch you pick them up or to see how and where they fall.
Tiring as it sounds, you’d better get used to it. In a few weeks, this will be accompanied by fits of giggles.
Your baby’s getting better at spotting very small objects and tracking moving things.
At this point, he may be able to recognize an object after seeing only part of it — the basis of little hide-and-seek games you’ll be playing in the coming months.
Earlier your baby learned to distinguish between similar bold colors. Now he’s beginning to sort out subtle differences in pastels.
Honing in on sounds
Your baby now realizes where sounds come from, and he’ll turn quickly toward a new one.
One of the easiest ways to engage him is to jingle a set of keys. Wind chimes are great attention-getters, too.
Your baby may watch your mouth intently when you speak now and try to imitate inflections and utter consonant sounds such as “m” and “b.”
Many 5-month-olds can recognize their name; you may notice that your little one turns his head when you call him or talk about him with others.
Driven to distraction
When your baby starts fussing at the supermarket this month, you may be able to distract him for a short time.
Try engaging him with funny faces or a round of “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider.” Clapping your hands or giving him something to hold and mouth might work, too.
A growing range of emotions
Babies can’t express their emotions in the same complex way that adults do.
Although they do let you know when they’re angry, bored, or happy, they can’t express love or humor in the first few months.
But that’s beginning to change. By 5 months your baby shows a strong attachment to you by raising his arms when he wants to be picked up and by crying when you leave the room.
He may also give you hugs and kisses. And he’s beginning to get the joke — he’ll laugh at funny expressions or positions and try to make you laugh, too.
For many parents, this is when the fun begins. Go ahead and make those goofy faces and nonsense sounds, and play at pantomime and mimicry.
Is my baby developing normally?
Remember, each baby is unique and meets social milestones at his own pace. These are simply guidelines to what your baby has the potential to accomplish — if not right now, then shortly.
If your baby was born prematurely, you’ll probably find that he needs a bit more time before he can do the same things as other children his age.
Don’t worry. Most doctors assess a preterm child’s development from the time he should have been born and evaluate his skills accordingly.