The First Year
How to Take Care of a 5-Month-Old Baby
Looking for 5-month-old baby care tips? Wondering what to expect from a 5-month-old baby? Find the answers to your questions here, as well as guidance for establishing positive feeding and sleeping schedules for your baby between 20 and 24 weeks old.
What to Expect During Your Baby’s Sixth Month of Life
At five months old, your baby is becoming more and more independent. He or she is on the peak of some monumental changes: getting ready to sit up, talk and even crawl by him or herself. Taking care of a 5-month-old baby can be some of the most fun you’ve had thus far as a parent, but that doesn’t mean this period doesn’t come with unique considerations.
As your baby prepares to become an independently moving machine, you are probably equally excited and nervous. How can you keep them safe? How can you establish positive habits for eating, sleeping and more? What if your baby isn’t showing the developmental signs you expect?
First off, take a deep breath and relax: Every baby is different. While this article will tackle some of the common things to expect when your baby is between 20 and 24 weeks old, it’s usually okay if your baby doesn’t hit all of these markers yet. If you are concerned, always speak to your pediatrician — but understand that your baby may just need a little more time to hit these milestones.
Whatever your baby’s development looks like at 5 months old, it’s important to be prepared for anything. Here, find some helpful 5-month-old baby care tips and information to alleviate your concerns.
What to Expect from a 5-Month-Old Baby: Important Milestones
For many babies, major developments occur between six and 10 months of age. Many parents get excited when their baby reaches five months, hoping these developments start showing a little early.
Many five-month-old babies will start showing signs of crawling, talking and sitting up at this age — but not all will. Remember to always be patient when caring for a 5-month-old baby; your child will get there when they are ready.
If you’re wondering what to expect from a 5-month-old, here are some general changes that some babies experience during this time:
- Your baby can start distinguishing between different colors at this stage, although they will prefer bright primary colors.
- Your baby may start turning their head to the sound of their name and other noises.
- Your baby will continue to imitate your words and sounds, and you may even be excited to hear syllables like “ma-ma” or “da-da.” It will still be a few months before your baby starts assigning meaning to words and purposely calls you by name.
- Your baby may be able to roll over on his or her own or be warming up to the idea by swaying from side to side.
- Your baby may start kicking out their feet when placed on their stomach as a preparation for crawling. Get ready to chase them around the house soon!
How to Take Care of a 5-Month-Old Baby: Getting Started
During this month, there is usually no need to schedule any immunizations or check-ups for your baby. However, always talk to your pediatrician about your baby’s personal health schedule and any necessary visits.
For most parents, their care of a 5-month old baby involves many of the same steps utilized in months before. Your baby will continue to settle into their own schedule, and you will both be comfortable with your day-to-day routine. But, you may find it’s time to incorporate some new things into your baby’s schedule, or that they start changing up their routine on you with no warning. This is all normal but, if you’re worried, you can always speak with your pediatrician about these changes.
In general, there a few things to keep in mind when knowing how to care for a 5-month-old baby and all the new changes they may be experiencing. Most of the concerns that parents of 5-month-olds have is in regard to two major aspects of their schedule: feeding and sleeping.
5-Month-Old Feeding Schedule
After five months of formula or breastfeeding, your baby and you have likely developed a solid routine when it comes to how much and how often feeding time should occur. But, during this time, your pediatrician might suggest something that throws a wrench in your existing feeding schedule for your 5-month-old: solid foods.
While you will continue to feed your baby breastmilk or formula for a few more months, you can now introduce solid foods into their diet. Talk with your pediatrician to figure out what to feed a 5-month-old during this introductory period; usually, options like cereal, rice, applesauce and other soft food are good things to start with.
Your 5-month-old’s feeding schedule with solids will depend upon their personal preference. Some babies will take to solid food more quickly than others. Don’t ever force your baby to eat something they’re not interested in, and don’t be disappointed if the transition takes longer than expected. On the contrary, if your baby is very interested in eating solids, you can feed him or her up to three ounces of solid food, three times a day.
5-Month-Old Sleep Schedule
If you’re lucky, you may discover one huge change in your 5-month-old’s sleep pattern: he or she is sleeping through the night without waking! At this point, many babies will sleep up to 10 hours at night and be more comfortable soothing themselves back to sleep if they wake up in the middle of the night. If your five-month-old is not sleeping through the night yet, that’s okay — keep using a positive sleep routine to get them used to the sleep pattern you want from them.
But, how much sleep does a 5-month-old need outside of their nighttime snoozes? Again, every baby is different, but you can usually expect your baby to sleep about five hours during the day, split between three naps. Keep an eye on your child during the daytime hours; recognize when they are starting to get tired and put them down for a nap during that drowsy period, not when they’re already asleep. This way, you can create sleep independence for your little one.
In general, what to expect from a 5-month-old baby will be different for each parent — you are the one who knows your baby best. Remember to enjoy this time in your baby’s life instead of worrying about what “should” be happening. Before you know it, you’ll have a six-month-old on your hands!