5-month-old baby: Development, growth and milestones

by Emily Gilbert |
Updated on

Your 5-month-old baby is quickly hurtling towards their half-birthday - where has the time gone? Although it can feel overwhelming how fast time is going, it's exciting to watch your little bub develop their little personality and move towards lots of baby milestones. Here's what you can expect from your 5-month-old baby this month.

5-month-old baby development

Sleep - At five months your baby will probably be sleeping for around 12-15 hours per day with a few naps during the day and one longer stretch at night," says midwife and co-founder of The Baby Academy, Susan Hogan. "Every baby is different though, so don't worry if your little one's sleep schedule is a bit different. It is important to establish a consistent bedtime routine and create a comfortable sleep environment for your baby. This may include a dark room, a soothing white noise machine and a comfy crib or bassinet. As your baby grows their sleep needs may change so it's important to be flexible and adapt your baby's sleep routine as needed. Baby will still be sleeping in the same room as you at five months, and then from six months old, they can move into their own sleep space/nursery."

Cognitive development - "Your 5-month-old baby will be starting to make more sounds and may even be trying to say their first words. They'll also be using body language such as pointing and gesturing to communicate. As your baby grows they will be learning to understand more of what you are saying and they will start to respond to simple requests and commands. Encourage your baby's communication by talking, reading and singing to them and responding to their sounds and gestures. This will help to build a strong foundation for their language development," Susan explains.

Physical development - At five months of age, your baby may be able to hold their head up well and may even be trying to sit up. "They'll also likely be able to reach for and grab toys and will be developing their hand-eye coordination," says Susan. "At this age, your baby's fine motor skills will be developing and they will be able to grasp and hold small objects with their hands. They may also be rolling over and learning how to crawl-your baby will be more active now, and may start to move around more on their own… so baby-proofing your home is now key!"

Feeding - At this age, your baby will be drinking a lot of milk. "Breastfed babies will continue to feed on demand. Formula-fed babies will be taking around 6-8 ounces (180-240mls) per feed and will be feeding around 5-6 times per day.  It's generally recommended to wait until around six months before introducing solid foods, but every baby is different," Susan advises. "Breastmilk or formula provides all the nutrients that your baby needs. It's always best to talk with your Health Visitor or GP if looking for advice."

5-month-old baby growth

After their growth spurt at four months your baby will weigh around 12-16 pounds (approx. 5.5-7.5kg) and be around 26-28 inches (approx. 66-71 cm) long. "Every baby is different though, so don't worry if your little one is a bit smaller or larger," reassures Susan. "It is important to keep track of your baby's growth by monitoring their weight and length, but it's also important to remember that every baby develops at their own pace. Your 5-month-old baby's growth will be closely monitored by your Health Visitor or GP at regular check-ups so don't hesitate to ask any questions you may have about your baby's growth and development."

5-month-old baby health

Conjunctivitis - Also known as 'red eye' or 'pink eye', Conjunctivitis is a condition where the clear membrane covering your baby’s eyeball becomes red and inflamed. This is typically developed from a viral or bacterial infection or even an allergic irritation and will usually last between one and two weeks and go away on its own. If it's been longer than this or you are concerned your child might have an eye infection, you should contact your health visitor or GP.

Nappy rash - At one point or other, all babies experience nappy rash. This occurs when your baby’s skin becomes irritated due to prolonged contact with poo and wee. Thankfully you can easily ease your little one's discomfort by using a nappy rash cream.

Things to think about at 5 months

Play - Make sure to give your little one plenty of opportunities to explore and play as this is a crucial time for their development. Playtime is an essential part of your baby's development and it provides them with the opportunity to learn and discover new things. Why not introduce some musical toys?

Baby proofing - You may notice that your little one is rocking on their stomach. By doing this, they are starting to practice those all-important muscle movements that are required to help them roll over. Soon they'll be trying to sit up and before you know it, trying to crawl! If you haven't already, you should consider baby-proofing your home.

Sleep routine - "Try to establish a consistent sleep schedule as this can help them (and you) get the rest they need," Susan suggests. "A consistent baby bedtime routine and sleep schedule can help your baby to establish healthy sleep habits and will also help you to plan your daily routine."

About the expert

This article contains expert advice from midwife and co-founder of The Baby Academy, Susan Hogan. Sue’s main mission in all of the work she does is "supporting new families, helping them to feel confident and in control during their pregnancy, their birth and as they grow as a family unit."

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