Where did the time go? Your little tot is now 5-months-old! Besides being more alert, active, and fun-loving, your little bundle of joy is now more affectionate than ever. She looks at you with love in her eyes, she giggles at your silly face, and she becomes anxious when she doesn’t see you for a few minutes. She’s already your biggest cheerleader! Though sometimes, she gets distracted easily.
As your 5-month-old works on a number of new skills, it’s time for you to cheer on her little successes. Your encouragement and applause is her biggest motivation. Yes, she likes to make you happy, too!
- Becomes grabby: How does your 5-month-old baby express her ever-growing curiosity? By grabbing everything within her reach. In the past couple of months, her fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination have improved a great deal. Consequently, she is able to aim and grasp objects quickly. You shouldn’t be surprised if she likes to grab your hair and refuses to let go. As if you haven’t shed enough hair due to the postpartum hormone change. Well, a better approach to let her hone her grabbing skill is to offer her toys such as sensory balls.
- Rolls over or rolls from side to side: In addition to being able to roll over from back to front, your little one will learn to roll from side to side this month. If her main play area has been the crib in the past four months, now it’s time to expand her territory. For example, you can place her on a colorful floor mat, or a spacious playpen.
- Pulls herself up in sitting position when you hold her hands: Ever since your little one gets a taste of seeing the world while sitting up, she is eager to hone her sitting skills. Thanks to the improved motor skills, her arms have become much stronger. When you give her your hands, she grabs them firmly and pulls herself up to a sitting position. Before you know, your little one will enjoy standing up with your assistance, too!
- Fully developed perception of depth: Before 5 months, your baby sees the world mostly from two dimensions. Yep, to them, the world is flat. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, babies are able to see how far an object is from them at five months. This enables them to see the world in three dimensions completely.
Social-Emotional and Cognitive Skills
- Says “mama” and “dada”: Over the past several months, your little one is becoming more and more vocal. She loves to babble. She even babbles to her toys. But nothing in the world is more pleasant to hear than your little one calling you “mama” or “dada” for the first time. It is an unforgettable moment for all parents. Here is the catch though: she doesn’t really know the meanings of these words yet. But don’t worry, it won’t take too long before she eventually does.
- Develops stranger anxiety: At 5-month, your little one is familiar and has gotten used to the faces of her primary caregivers. She loves to be around you. However, her affection is only for familiar faces. If a stranger comes close or tries to hold her, she will become wary, anxious, and eventually cry.
- Becomes more expressive: 5-month-old babies cry far less than a newborn. They have learned new ways to express themselves. For example, they smile or laugh out loud when pleased or excited, they frown when frustrated, and they become cranky when tired or bored. Isn’t it so much fun to watch your little one makes different faces?
- Learns object permanence: Up until now, your baby thinks that whatever she doesn’t see anymore no longer exists. Well, this is going to change this month. In the fifth month, your little one learns that an object still exists, even if it is hidden. Parents, it’s time to start playing Pee-ka-boo!
Activities with Your 5-Month-Old Baby
1. Enjoy Music or Play Music Together
5-month-old babies love music! It doesn’t matter if it’s a baby’s song, a classic symphony or today’s hits, your little munchkin enjoys listening to it. Beyond listening to music, your little one likes to make music herself, too! Better yet if you can perform for her. This is a great time to introduce musical toys and rock a concert together.
Fun Activities with Music
- While feeding her or giving her a bath, play some soft spa music in the background.
- Have a Karaoke party! Find some Karaoke songs on YouTube and sing to her.
- Mother-daughter dance. Hold her or place her in a carrier, and dance to your favorite music together.
- Play today’s hit songs while she watches you folding the laundry. Plus, she will be amused if you dance along.
- Show her a musical instrument, such as baby drums, and play together.
2. Encourage Movement
Now that your little munchkin has discovered the new perspective of seeing things from the upright, lying down makes her frustrated. With strong legs and arms, and better dexterity in her fingers, she now enjoys all different positions: sitting, rolling left and right, standing while holding onto your hands, or tilting her head while sitting on the high chair. Now it’s time to go beyond tummy time and let her explore exciting ways to use her newly gained advanced motor skills
Activities to encourage movements:
- Place her in a jumper and jump with her. Watch her jumping up and down as you get some workout yourself.
- Count “1, 2, 3” and pull her up to the sitting position, and then to the standing position, if she enjoys it.
- Show her a soft crawling toy and encourage her to try crawling. Make sure that she won’t fall and hurt her head on the toy if it’s made with plastic.
- Give her rattles and sensory balls and let her practice grabbing and grasping small toys. Don’t forget, fine motor skills are important, too.
3. Explore Different Ways to Communicate, Besides Reading
It’s no secret that your 5-month-old loves to babble. She talks to her toys, to her food, and you may catch her babbling to her self in the middle of the night. Don’t be surprised if she starts to sing while you are enjoying the dinner. Babbly babies are happy babies. But that’s not all, they love it when you talk to her, too. Your voice is the greatest sound in the world to her. Keep the communication going as it is one of the best ways to boost her language skills, too.
Fun ways to hone her language skills:
- Read books to her, if you haven’t started doing so.
- Teach her common words, such as “milk”, “sleep”, “morning”, “bye-bye”.
- Tell her about what you are doing as if you are giving a workshop. For example, while cooking, tell her each step you are taking and all ingredients you are using.
- Let her watch when you video chat with your friends. You will find her observing you and squeals occasionally because she thinks that you are talking to her.
Cecilia Yeung is a successful entrepreneur and product researcher. She has a background in psychology and children’s education. As a working mother of two, she loves to write about children’s education and development.