Your Baby's Intellectual Development: Month 5
Time with your little one may feel like it's started moving at warp speed as your baby starts checking off milestones faster than you can keep up with the baby book. This month, your baby may start to recognize voices and will start exploring anything within reach (even your face) with a much keener interest. Here's what to be on the lookout for in month five.
What to expect: The past few months have brought a marked improvement in your baby's ability to use her hands. This month, she may be able to accurately reach for an object with one hand. Everything will still go right into her mouth, but she may start transferring objects between her hands as her dexterity continues to develop.
Faces might interest him more this month, so don't be alarmed if your little one loves to explore every inch of your face with her hands. She may try to put her hands in your mouth, will likely pull your hair, and may even attempt to suck on your chin. (You never knew you were so interesting, did you?)
Your baby will continue to experiment with her noise-making abilities and will likely alternate between cooing, grunting, and loud lip-smacking. You might even start to hear long strings of babble as your baby really starts to find her voice.
Progression: Your little one will likely master the art of reaching accurately with one hand by the end of the month and will likely become more and more curious as he grows. Expect your baby to be more aware of his surroundings and more interested in getting up close and personal with anything that catches his eye.
How to help: "Exposing babies to different sights and sounds, such as outside at the park or around other children, is good for brain development," says Jenn Berman, Ph.D., a Parents advisor, and the author of SuperBaby. Peekaboo will likely still hold Baby's interest this month as he continues to grasp the concept that objects remain even when he can't see them. Your baby may also enjoy playing with blocks -- start by offering just one or two and watch his grasping abilities improve over time. Whether or not you've started offering solids to your tiny tot, he may enjoy the social aspect of meals. Let Baby sit on your lap or in his high chair during mealtime, either eating right alongside you or simply playing with a cloth napkin or his baby spoon. Just be sure that any hot food or breakable items are well out of his reach -- he'll be ready to grab anything that sparks his interest!
Don't freak out if: Your baby is still relying on both hands to get at what he wants; he might take a bit longer to master the art of reaching accurately with one hand. These intellectual developments will continue to come in waves, so be patient with Baby if his progress seems to stall now and then.
When you should you worry: If Baby doesn't seem to be interested in her surroundings, seems extremely floppy, doesn't attempt to roll over or sit, or doesn't respond to your voice or loud noises, call your pediatrician. "If you, as a parent, ever have a gut feeling that something is wrong, you should always listen and call the care provider right away," Dr. Berman says.
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