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Baby development: Your 5-month old

The fifth month of a baby’s life is a time to consolidate and improve everything that they have learnt so far. During this period you will be very impressed by all the social effort that your baby makes: they can now smile, laugh, babble and every time these actions seem more meaningful than before. You will now finally start noticing those heart-melting moments where your baby shows their first signs of attachment to you and other members of the family. As well as social progress, five month old babies make improvements with their motor skills and get remarkably stronger!

Physical development. Height and Weight.

At the fifth month your baby should be noticeably bigger than before. If you multiply by two their weight after birth, that’s approximately how much 5 month old baby must weigh. In the end of the fifth month your baby should be:

Weight: 6.5 – 7.5 kg (± 1 kg)

Height:  63 — 65 cm (± 3 сm)

During the fifth month your baby gains about 700g and grows about 2 cm taller.

Five month-old baby skills

In the fifth month, almost all of the baby’s reflexes are gone and babies learn new vital skills that they will be improving a lot during the next few months. Here is the list of skills that your baby should be able to learn by the end of the fifth month:

  • Your baby now can sit having his back supported, but they can’t sit voluntarily yet.
  • If you pull your baby’s hands, while they are lying, the baby will pull himself up without letting his head tilt back.
  • Babies enjoy examining themselves, they are raising their arms up and looking at them. They may also try to put their own feet in their mouth while lying on their back. When lying on their tummy, babies can raise up their shoulders and hold up their head confidently.  
  • If your baby notices an interesting object close to them, they will stretch their hand, trying to grasp it.
  • Five months old babies have no problem turning from lying on their back, to lying on their tummy (or sides).
  • If you put your baby vertically on the surface while supporting their armpits, they will be standing almost straight without bending the knees.
  • While lying on their tummy, your baby can do a “plane” position (raising their head up and moving their arms and legs).

Sleeping and Feeding

There are no great changes between baby’s sleeping and feeding patterns during this time. Most of the babies are already able to sleep through the whole night with getting up only for a few times, but some of them still find it very entertaining to be awake in the night time, occasionally asking for the food and attention. In general there is nothing that should be changed about your baby’s feeding routine, but under the circumstances below, it’s acceptable to begin with solid foods after discussing it with your pediatrician:

  • You don’t have enough of milk to feed your baby, and they aren’t gaining required weight for this age.
  • Your baby gets stomach cramps very often, constipations or burps.

Psychological and Emotional Development

The fifth month of life is time for a very active communicative development of babies, they now can express themselves much better and even try to respond to you with a smile or verbally clear syllables. You will notice how your baby is babbling on their own and repeating the same sounds for a few times. This happens because they are so impressed by their own new skills, and trying to master everything they managed to learn so far.

Language starts making more sense for five month old babies, they are carefully listening to parents and even trying to make a ‘conversation’. Your baby may babble often, but they are not as confident when you aren’t there, especially when it comes to communication with strangers. When a stranger suddenly comes in, your baby may become anxious and start crying.

If you are trying to make a silly face it can make them laugh, and if you are changing your intonation to a higher pitch – they can even take offence towards you (assuming that you’re being mad).  They now can memorise your face, hair-cut, clothes and your posture.

At this point babies can now follow the objects out of their view, and if you hide their toy, but let it peek slightly- your baby will still manage to recognise it. Some babies at their fifth month of life are able to pick their favourite toy and remember its colour, shape, size and texture. By the time they are about 6 months old, your baby’s hand control improves enough that they can now grab an object and pull it toward themselves.

Remember, that each baby is unique and develops at their own pace, but if some of these skills are completely absent, you should see your pediatrician just in case.

Exercise & Games For Your 5-month Old

Exercise. It’s highly recommended for the babies to keep doing daily exercises along with a massage for 20-30 mins. Most of the attention should be put on development of the musculoskeletal system, as not far from now your baby will learn how to independently sit and later crawl. Don’t make them stay in their crib for too long while awake, it may dull their desire of exploring the world.

You can continue with the massage methodics that you were doing on your baby’s fourth month but also it would be great to add some light kneading.

Examples of exercises:

  • Your baby must be lying on their back. Put your thumbs in their hands so they can squeeze them, wrap the rest of the fingers around their wrists. Expand their arms to the sides and pull your baby towards yourself, making them sit. Then pull up their hands while supporting them with one of your hands, use your free hand to stroke their spine from the bottom up to the top. This should make your baby straighten their back reflexively. After this, gently lay them back, supporting their head.
  • Your baby already makes their very first steps to learn crawling. Put their toys a bit further away than the outstretched hand of the child, support their feet with your hands and let them crawl to reach the toy. It’s good training for all the groups of muscles.

Games. Learning through playing games is a simple and fun way to help boosting the baby’s development! Here are some ideas for playing with your child:

  • Pronounce the sounds, imitating animals, while naming each of them and showing their pictures.
  • Read fairytales and rhymes for your baby, it helps developing memory.
  • You can attach small bells or bright stripes to your baby’s clothes, which will be ringing and moving while your child moves.
  • Enter gradually new syllables to your baby’s vocabulary, listen carefully to what they are trying to say and pretend that you are answering, to keep the conversation. It’s very important for child to see your mimics, gestures and intonation.

Don’t be disappointed if your little one doesn’t seem to enjoy playing them for the first time, it all will depend on their mood and temper. If this is the case, then you can try to modify these games a little or even create your own.

Does your child like playing games? What is their favourite game that you are playing together so far?

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