Development and Characteristics of a Five Month Old Baby

Parenting September 27, 2008 Print Friendly and PDF

Parenting Tips for Your 5 Month Old Baby

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How I Grow

  • I rock, roll, and twist my body.
  • I kick my feet and suck on my toes.
  • I keep my head and back straight when I sit if you support my body.
  • If you hold me under my arms, I stand up, jump up and down, and stamp my feet.
  • I have pretty good aim when I grab at something.
  • I can roll from my tummy to my back, and I may be able to roll from my back to my tummy.

How I Feel

  • I usually cling to you when you hold me.
  • I stop crying when you talk to me.
  • I am starting to show fear, anger, and disgust. It doesn’t mean I’m bad, it just means I’m growing into a normal person with many emotions.
  • I’m beginning to be aware of my feelings. I notice your feelings, facial expressions, and body language.
  • I have my good days and bad days — just as everyone does.

How I Understand and Respond

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  • I recognize my name.
  • I look around when I hear sounds.
  • I can tell the difference between me and others in the mirror.
  • I may cry when I see strangers.
  • I look for something if I drop it.
  • I remember what I just did.
  • I am very interested in toys that can be touched and chewed on. I like to twist, shake, and bang my toys.
  • As I play, I learn about nearness and distance. I also learn about inside and outside.
  • As I play and explore, I learn about space, form, and texture. Play helps me learn about the world.

How I Talk

  • I watch your mouth and try to imitate you when you talk to me.
  • I make sounds such as ee, ah, ooh, and maybe da, pa, ma, ba.
  • I babble to myself, to my toys, and to people — I get attention that way!

Sometimes parents wonder if there are signs that their baby is not developing normally. There are lists of warning signs, or red flags (as some people call them), to help you find out if your baby is developing normally. To get more information on these warning signs, go to this Web site:

Learn more about Your 5 Month Old Baby from Just In Time Parenting. You can also go to our Resource Links for additional information on child care and development.

Note to Parents: When reading this newsletter, remember: Every baby is different. Children may do things earlier or later than described here. This newsletter gives equal space and time to both sexes. If he or she is used, we are talking about all babies.
References: These materials were adapted by authors from Extension Just in Time Parenting Newsletters in California, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Tennessee, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.