5 Month Old Baby Development

Learn everything you need to know about your 5 month old baby. Track important developments and milestones such as talking, walking, growth, memory & more.

Black father kissing baby son on cheek
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Your Growing Baby

Prepping for the Major Milestones

Some of the biggest milestones, including crawling and talking, are still several months off, but now is when your baby starts to really gear up for them. For instance, most babies start to crawl between 9 and 12 months of age, but a baby as young as 6 months might start to creep, roll, or scoot to get around—another step in his never-ending quest to be mobile.

Similarly, you might not hear a first word till 12 or 15 months, but your baby's coos might have turned into babbling, complete with consonant-vowel connections that sound surprisingly like real words. He'll happily explore and expand his made-up language, letting his voice rise and fall over the sounds. The more you talk with him and encourage him, the happier he'll be to supply a new "word." Luckily, your baby has become super expressive, letting you know by his sounds or the look on his face whether he's feeling happy, sad, bored, scared, or shy. Reading his face and his tone of voice will help you figure out just what he's trying to say.

Your baby's fine motor skills are improving, as well. He might reach out his arms when he sees you bend down, his way of saying, "Pick me up!" Your baby might also begin switching small toys from one hand to the other, a precursor to throwing a ball (not to mention sharing).

Health and Safety Info

More About Feeding

Feeding remains your biggest adventure this month. You'll continue to introduce new solid foods, and even if your baby isn't too interested in downing them, he'll probably be happy to explore them with his hands. Squishing sweet potatoes doesn't seem like a great entree to fine dining, but once he's comfortable with how it feels, he might be more willing to give the taste a shot. Let him hold his own spoon too, and attempt to feed himself. He'll undoubtedly get more applesauce in his hair than in his mouth, but as with everything, he'll have to try, try again before he masters the skill.

For more adventures at the table, consider introducing a sippy cup. Most pediatricians recommend phasing out bottles by the time your baby turns 1, which gives you plenty of time to work on it, but some doctors recommend trying out a cup with a little breast milk or formula now to ease true bottle weaning later on. You can even give him a cup of water now and then; sometimes babies who seem perpetually hungry are really just thirsty.

These days, the more comfortable your baby becomes with exploration, the more he'll unwittingly put himself in harm's way. No need to panic; just keep an eye on him and gently direct his efforts away from potential dangers (say, grabbing a vase off the coffee table or wedging himself under the couch) to something equally interesting but safer, such as sitting upright to bang a few blocks together.


Coping with Separation Anxiety

How much time together is too much? According to your baby, who's experiencing the first pangs of separation anxiety at 6 months, you can never be around enough. He'll even fuss when you try to go to the bathroom by yourself. But in reality, both of you need some alone time now and then. If you've let your baby's nap schedule slide for errands or vacations, get back on track by settling him down drowsy but awake once in the morning and the afternoon. He'll get to rest off the stresses of the day, and you'll enjoy an hour of free time for catching up on e-mail, calling a gal pal, or best, catching a catnap. Once you're together again, you'll both be in a better mood.

Another good use for alone time: getting your sex life back on track. Libido picks up as your baby gets older; not only are you getting more sleep, but breastfeeding hormones that can curtail sex drive start to taper off. So just as you grab down time for you and your baby, make sure you schedule down time with your partner. Order takeout, put on a good movie, and cuddle up on the couch. Just make sure your birth control is working before you get too close, or you could be welcoming baby No. 2 sooner than you thought.

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