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 are 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.
- Pulls herself up in a 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 it, your little one will enjoy standing up with your assistance, too!
- Better Vision: At 5 months, your little one can see the world a little better. They are getting a clearer view of your face and her surroundings! At this age, your little one’s central vision is improving rapidly and she is less near-sighted.
Social-Emotional and Cognitive Skills
- Stays friendly to everyone: At 5 months, your little one is still friendly to everyone she sees. She loves to be held or to be around family members. But pretty soon, she will learn to tell who is a stranger, and she may not be too pleased when she is held by someone new.
- 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 drum, 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 workouts 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 of 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 vocalize. She talks about her toys, to her food, and you may catch her “talking” to herself in the middle of the night. Don’t be surprised if she starts to “sing” while you are enjoying dinner. Vocal babies are happy babies. 5-month old babies love to test their vocal cords with different types, pitch, and loudness of the sounds they make.
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”, and “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.
Dr. Leah Alexander, MD, FAAP began practicing pediatrics at Elizabeth Pediatric Group of New Jersey in 2000. She has been an independently contracted pediatrician with Medical Doctors Associates at Pediatricare Associates of New Jersey since 2005.