Infant Development: Your Baby's Fifth Month

Your baby has just reached her fifth month of life. What kinds of development should you expect during this month?

You've almost reached the halfway point of a year when you enter the fifth month with your baby. By now, you have probably decided whether or not you want to stay home with your newborn or get back to work and send her to a day care. Either way, the attachment level to your baby has grown exponentially from the second you first laid eyes on her. Every single day you find yourself wondering how you could have spent your entire life without her chubby little body in your arms. She is going through a period of rapid development as she proceeds through her first year. During this fifth month, what new developments can you expect from your little baby?

You have probably noticed that your baby's legs and arms have become much stronger. Now, when she accidentally kicks you in the arm as you change her diaper, it might actually hurt a bit. Her arms are much stronger, so don't be surprised when she accidentally flings one of her small toys straight across the room. Try placing your baby down on the floor or carpet on her tummy so she can start to get the crawling motion in. She will probably attempt to lift herself up off the floor with her legs and hands. To help strengthen her legs, hold her up under her arms in a standing motion and let her feet touch the floor. You will feel her little legs try to press down and stand, but she is not yet ready to be let go. By the end of the fifth month, your baby will be able to sit up on the sofa or on a chair. While she probably won't be able to sit up without any support, she is beginning to gain strength in her neck and back muscles.

As she moves through her fifth month, you will notice that she is really loving to hear the sound of her own voice. She has moved on from simple cooing to making longer sounds. Granted, she may not be speaking English yet, but she is making an effort to communicate with you with her goos and gas. To help encourage her talking, mimic her sounds and speak to her often. This is will tremendously in her speech development. She may also hear herself make different sounds with her lips and decide that it is fun to hear herself and repeat them over and over. Encourage her to find her own voice.

As your baby develops her motor skills, let her pick up age-appropriate toys so she can get a better use of her hands. Since she may start picking up everything she sees, be sure to keep all small objects out of her reach. She is beginning to really make use of her hands, so allow her to touch several objects in the house (with your supervision) that have various textures.

When your baby was still a newborn, she probably allowed your entire family and all of your friends to pick her up without incident. As your baby begins to recognize those around her, including her parents and siblings, she may not be so eager to be picked up and handled by those she deems strangers. Help her through this period by allowing others to gradually hold her, so she does not get fussy with every new person who picks her up.

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