The months have flown by and your baby has been growing like crazy. It’s not just that little body that keeps getting bigger, but his or her whole world, too. Your little one may be able to recognise people and objects from a distance and try to get your attention by waving or babbling. Enjoy the ride as you watch your baby one grow and develop this month, and read on to see what exciting things he or she will learn to do.

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Baby Development Milestones

Let’s see what exciting − and sometimes challenging − changes await you this month.

Physical Development: On a Roll

Each baby is different and will develop at his or her own pace, but once your little one turns about five months old, you may start noticing some impressive feats – for example rolling from front to back and back again, or possible beginning to grab the small objects you put in front of him or her.

Senses: Bright Colours for a Bright Mind

Your baby’s eyesight keeps on improving, and by now those peepers can see much farther than before and can also focus better. Your 5-month-old will simply love all those brightly coloured toys you give him or her to play with!

Movement: Building Stronger Core Muscles

Your baby is getting stronger and working on building those all-important core muscles. By now, your little can raise and hold her head and chest when lying on his or her stomach. The head, back, neck and shoulder muscles will continue to get stronger as your baby pushes his or her head and chest further up. You might also see your little one enthusiastically move those little legs and rocking back and forth on his or her tummy.

Personality: Your Baby Gets Experimental

Babies are fast learners. Each new experience will teach your little one so many things. At around five months old, your baby will start to experiment with a range of activities, like dropping things. This may get frustrating for you as a parent — it’s not fun to pick up a dropped rattle for the umpteenth time — but indulge him or her as long as it’s safe.

Experimenting helps your baby’s brain develop and will also help your little one better understand how all these actions impact his or her environment.

Around about now, your baby might also be exploring objects by putting them in his or her mouth. Make sure your little one can’t get his or hands on anything that could be a choking hazard, or anything with sharp edges or that’s toxic.

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How to Support Your Baby's Development

Your baby has been working hard to develop strong neck and shoulder muscles. Over the coming months, your little one will use these muscles to sit up, roll over, crawl and eventually walk.

Continue with providing daily tummy time sessions to help your little one build up these skills. Tummy time also helps prevent your baby from getting a flat head from staying in the same position all the time.

Give your baby tummy time two or three times a day, if you can. Make sure your little one is awake during tummy time, and never leave him or her unattended.

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Feeding Your 5-Month-Old Baby

Sometime at around 5 months old, your baby might go through a growth spurt, making him or her hungrier. Your little one might want to feed more often during growth spurts, and seem fussier than usual. Keep following those hunger cues and feed on demand to ensure that he or she’s getting enough sustenance. If you’re breastfeeding, keep going.

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How Much Sleep Does a 5-Month-Old Baby Need?

Around this time your baby will be able to sleep for longer at night. Some babies will sleep for 8 hours or longer at night. Each baby is different but with any luck, your little one won’t need feeding in the middle of the night by this age. Five-month-old babies still need a couple of naps, and will sleep around three to four hours during the day. If you need some help getting your baby to sleep, watch our video guide on establishing a good bedtime routine.

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A Day in the Life of Your Baby

By now you have probably settled into a daily routine that works well for you and your baby, but here is an example for how you might choose to break up a normal day:

5-month-old’s daily routine
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Your Baby’s Health: Tender Gums

It’s upsetting to see your baby is unwell, or hear your little one cry because of pain or discomfort. You try everything as a parent to make sure your little one is safe and healthy, but there are times when he or she feels sick, no matter how careful you are. Some common health concerns that may affect a 5-month-old baby include:

  • Teething. Between four and nine months old, many babies start to get their first teeth. You may notice your baby is drooling, cranky, or crying from discomfort during this time. Of course, your baby may get lucky and not feel any pain, but could still have swollen or tender gums. Soothe any discomfort by giving him a teething ring made of firm rubber or rubbing his gums with a clean finger. If you notice your little one’s drooling, just wipe his or her mouth with a clean cloth to prevent a rash.

  • Conjunctivitis. This is when the white of the eye and the inside of the lower eyelid become red and inflamed. Conjunctivitis is itchy and painful, and in most cases it lasts a week or two. Conjunctivitis is usually caused by an infection, but can also be triggered by an allergy or an irritation to something like smoke. Take your baby to your health visitor, child centre or GP if you think he or she may have an eye infection, because treatment will likely be required. Conjunctivitis is very contagious, so wash your hands before and after administering any eye drops.

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FAQs at a Glance

How can I help my baby sit up on his own?

A : Babies often start to sit up around 5–6 months with support. Your baby needs to build up strength in the neck, back and arm muscles to support him or herself, so encourage this with plenty of tummy time. Later, try propping your little one up into a sitting position. Gradually, your baby will start using his or her hands to stay upright, and then sit without support.

At what age do babies roll over?

A : Though all babies develop at a different rate, your baby may learn to roll over at around five months old or later. Make sure you don’t leave your little one unattended anywhere high like the bed, changing table, or sofa because he or she might just surprise you by rolling over earlier, when you least expect it.

Is it really necessary to immunise my baby?

A : Vaccination is the best way to protect your baby against a range of diseases such as tetanus, rubella, meningitis and measles. It is offered free of charge at the ages of 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks and 1 year, and you can book your appointments with your GP.

What can I feed my 5 month old baby?

A : For the first six months of his life, your baby will only need breast milk or infant formula. Solid foods can be introduced from six months on.

How much should my 5 month old eat?

A : As a general rule, a 5-month-old baby will take about 150-200 ml breastmilk per feed, or the same amount of formula per kilogram of body weight per day. Don’t worry if your baby’s taking less – every baby’s different, and this amount may vary from baby to baby.

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Your Life as a Parent: Body Image and Self-Care

Now that a few months have passed since the birth of your baby and you’re settling into a routine, you may be starting to think more about yourself. Good for you! Taking care of yourself is important, and as a new mum it can be easy to overlook your own needs.

Like many new mums, you may be quite eager to get back your pre-baby figure, but it does take some time to achieve healthy weight loss after pregnancy. The key is to take things slow and steady. Remind yourself that although your body may not look like it used to, it has done something truly incredible by giving birth to a new life. Look at how strong you are! Here are some ideas to help you feel good, or even great, about where you’re at right now:

  • Healthy eating. Eat more fibre-filled fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; add proteins like chicken, eggs, or fish to meals; limit desserts and treats like chocolate, crisps, ice cream, and cookies; and watch your portion sizes. if you’re breastfeeding, avoid allergens, such as peanuts, and alcohol because they pass into the breast milk.

  • Exercise. Once your GP gives you the all-clear, add some gentle exercise back into your daily routine. Keep in mind that you’ll have to slowly work back towards your pre-pregnancy fitness levels, so aim to gradually build up your physical strength and endurance over time.

  • Me time. It might be challenging to set aside time for yourself, but it’s important to find balance. Make plans to go to the movies with friends, on a date night with your partner, or indulge in a spa treatment for a little well-deserved ‘me time‘.

  • Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner, family members, or your babysitter to come to your aid when you’re feeling overwhelmed or just need a break.

How we wrote this article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service (NHS).
The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.

Checklist for This Month

  • Ask your doctor or midwife about what vaccinations you should have while pregnant. Whooping cough and flu jabs are typically recommended for all mums-to-be, to protect you and your little one from serious illness.

  • Start shopping around for maternity clothes and a comfortable supportive bra. High street chains offer plenty of choices too, but a specialist shop may be able to give you more personalised advice on how best to adapt your wardrobe to your changing body shape.

  • Now could be a great time for one last getaway, or ‘babymoon’, before you get far enough along in your pregnancy to make travelling more difficult. Read our advice on travelling while you’re pregnant.