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What 5 Month Old Milestones Will My Baby Reach — And Can I Help?

Your baby’s social smiles have probably enchanted you to the point that you’re beginning to forget they were hardly interactive at all just a few months ago. Five-month-olds are a lot of fun!

As your baby develops, you’ll notice big changes such as mobility. But there are some little milestones, too, that are worth acknowledging.

Related: The Tummy Time Toolkit is ideal for a baby who hangs out on the floor a lot!

Five Month Old Milestones

5 Month Old Milestones

Every human is on their own developmental path, so it is impossible to predict exactly when certain milestones will occur. Keep in mind, our babies are only 5-month-olds for four weeks, so it can be helpful to think about the big picture — what you’ve already observed and what’s coming next. You may notice a new behavior in a few weeks. That’s totally normal!

Here are the milestones we will notice around five months:

Resists sleep

Your little one is becoming social and doesn’t want to miss anything! Remember when they would just drift off throughout the day? Get ready for naps to be more of a production. This is a sign of a maturing brain!

Rolls in both directions

Along the Movement & Strength track of development, your baby is preparing to become mobile, exploring how it feels to move around in space using their own muscles. They may favor one side when they begin to roll, unrelated to which side will become their dominant hand.

How you can help: Revisit your child’s play area with their emerging mobility in mind. A low toy shelf from which they can access items they choose will support their independent play. Read more about how toy rotation supports concentration, even in babies!

Reaches for a dropped toy

In their Dexterity & Coordination development, your baby is showing the earliest sign of object permanence. Your baby knows the toy exists, even though it fell down. They have absorbed enough information about physics to know to look downward and enough control of their arm to reach out for it.

How you can help: Play with your baby in a way that supports this learning. Present a toy, cover it with a blanket, and then reveal it again. Over time, you can increase the number of seconds you keep the toy hidden. When you reveal it and laugh, your baby may also laugh. This inherent social behavior is a fun bonding activity. (It’s also a great trick to teach an older sibling!)

Babbles with differentiation

The sounds your baby can make with their voice will evolve over time. You’ll notice that early cooing and babbling is a string of vowel sounds. Hard consonant sounds will emerge around five or six months for some babies, or even later for others.

When your baby babbles, reply as if you’re in a conversation! Support your little one’s language development by asking questions and then pausing to give your baby time to respond. Read more about language and first words in this article: When Do Babies Start Talking?

Shows interest in meals and eating

This is another milestone that shows up at different times for different babies. There’s no hurry! Your baby may indicate an interest in food by leaning forward, widening their eyes, or even opening their mouth as they watch others eat. This means they are absorbing the practice of eating solid foods, even if their body is not quite ready with the necessary motor skills to eat!

Bring your baby to the table on a family members lap to let them absorb everything that’s going on! When they show those signs of interest, let your pediatrician know what you’ve seen and decide what solid foods to introduce first.

Interested in what milestones come next? 

How to support your 5-month old’s independence

  • Allow your child to roll, sit up, or crawl on their own, rather than placing your little one into positions you think they want.
  • If a toy rolls away, rather than retrieving it for your child, give your baby some time to struggle to reach it.
  • When offering solid foods, allow your child to lean toward the spoon a little, rather than bringing the spoon all the way to their mouth. This way they understand that they must physically take part (even this small part!) in eating.

Real Monti Kids enjoying milestones

Amari’s family offers him room to play on a mat in front of the Tummy Time Set from the Tummy Time Toolkit (Complete Subscription).

He’s showing off how strong his upper body is, ready to roll in both directions!

5 month old showing milestone development

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