Your Baby's Physical Development: Month 5
Baby's mobility may start to take off this month as her ability to sit, crawl, roll, and stand with assistance continues to improve. Each baby approaches these physical developments at his or her own pace, but there are ways to support and promote each skill as it begins to emerge. Read on to learn what to expect of your baby's physical developments this month.
What to expect: You may have a jumper for your energetic little one, but it's best to place your baby on the floor for the majority of her playtime. (A jumper is fine for short amounts of time.) "Walkers are not recommended for any age and you'll want to limit time in exer-play saucers or swings so that the child gets other types of stimulation," says Jennifer Shu, M.D., a pediatrician, Parents advisor, and co-author of Heading Home with Your Newborn. As your baby realizes that she can get herself into new positions -- or simply experiments with being able to lift her chest, head, and arms off of the floor while lying on her stomach -- she'll develop strength that will be crucial to her development in the months ahead. Your baby will likely begin being able to sit unassisted for short periods of time and may begin to stop herself from falling forward or sideways with her hands.
Your little mover may enjoy standing with your assistance, as it gives her the opportunity to see the world from a new perspective. "Standing doesn't negatively affect bone growth, so it's okay to help them stand," Dr. Shu says.
Periodic spurts of extreme fussiness may accompany the arrival of a tooth, and Baby may begin to be very grabby -- grasping tightly onto anything within reach.
Progression: Baby will likely become more skilled at sitting upright, rolling over easily (and around the room), and at bringing objects to his mouth this month. He may even show off his early crawling skills by doing an army crawl, mostly using his arms to pull his body around the room.
How to help: Provide Baby with ample time to play and explore on the floor, in a safe area that's been thoroughly babyproofed. (Get down on your hands and knees to see what Baby could possibly get into.) Play physical games with your baby, such as helping her to go from sitting or lying down on her back to standing (repeatedly) or letting her push off of your hand with her feet so she can get the hang of crawling forward.
Try rotating toys each week so that Baby has new objects to interact with on a regular basis. If your baby seems to be having a hard time moving around, turn the heat up and strip baby down -- he'll be much more able to move without bulky clothes or a diaper in the way.
You can also hold a favorite toy off to the side to encourage your baby to roll over, or place her lovey just out of arm's reach.
Don't freak out if: Your baby is happy leading a more sedentary life; it's no cause for concern.
When you should you worry: If baby doesn't seem to be getting stronger or hitting any of the milestones mentioned, check in with your doctor to make sure that everything is developing as it should.
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