5-Month-Old Baby: Milestones and Development

March 21, 2023
 minutes read
Written by
Mandy Treeby
Chief Baby Sleep Consultant
Medically reviewed by
Elissa Gross, DO
Board Certified Pediatrician & Lactation Consultant

The first year of a baby's life is full of rapid growth and development, with each month bringing new milestones and achievements. By the time a baby reaches five months old, they have likely made significant progress in their physical, cognitive, and social abilities. In this article, we will explore some of the key development milestones that a five-month-old baby may reach.


Sleep for a 5-Month Old

Sleep is a crucial part of a baby's development, and by the time a baby reaches five months old, they may be showing some signs of establishing more regular sleep patterns.

Sleep Duration

By the time a baby is five months old, they may be capable of sleeping for longer stretches at night, with some babies even sleeping through the night (6-8 hours). However, it's important to remember that every baby is different, and some babies may still wake up for one or two feedings during the night.

During the day, your five-month-old baby should take three naps, each lasting between 30 minutes to two hours. It's important to ensure that your baby gets enough total sleep throughout the day and night, as sleep is critical for their growth and development. If you need help getting your baby on a schedule or teaching them how to fall asleep independently, download the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™ - most parents see sleep improvements in less than a week!

Sleep Environment

Creating a sleep-conducive environment is important for helping a baby establish healthy sleep habits. Here are some tips for creating a safe and comfortable sleep environment for a five-month-old:

  • Keep the room at a comfortable temperature, between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Play brown or white noise to provide a consistent background noise that can help your baby fall and stay asleep.
  • Keep the room dark and quiet during sleep times, and use blackout curtains or shades to block out sunlight.

5 Things you can do to help your 5-month old with sleep

1. Follow a consistent bedtime routine this will help your baby know it’s time for sleep.

2. Bedtimes always need to be flexible, somewhere between 6 and 7pm is ideal – use the earlier time when naps don’t go well.

3. Separate feeding and sleep, so feeding isn’t the last thing your baby does before falling asleep.

4. Establish ‘ok to feed’ times for night wakings, if your baby still needs to feed in the middle of the night.

5. Try baby massage: Massaging your baby before bedtime can help them relax and wind down for sleep. Use gentle strokes and touch to calm your baby and create a peaceful environment.

When your baby sleeps is almost as important as how long they sleep. For example the morning nap is more mentally restorative and the afternoon nap is more physically restorative.

Mandy Treeby, Pediatric Sleep Coach and Co-Founder of the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers

Your 5-Month Old’s Physical Development

Five-month-old babies continue to develop their motor skills, including their ability to sit up, roll over, and reach for objects. Here are some key milestones to look for in a five-month-old's motor development:

  • Rolling over: By this age, many babies will have learned to roll over from their back to their stomach and vice versa.
  • Sitting up: Some babies may be able to sit up on their own or with support by the time they are five months old.
  • Reaching and grasping: Five-month-old babies will start to develop their hand-eye coordination, reaching for and grasping objects with greater accuracy.

Sensory Development

A five-month-old's sensory development continues to progress, with babies becoming more aware of their surroundings and engaging with the world around them. Here are some key sensory milestones to look for:

  • Vision: By this age, babies' vision is improving, and they can see objects at greater distances. They may also be able to track moving objects with their eyes.
  • Hearing: Babies' hearing is also improving, and they can now differentiate between different sounds and voices.
  • Touch: Five-month-old babies continue to explore the world around them through touch, and may start to develop preferences for certain textures and objects.

As a parent or caregiver, it's important to provide plenty of opportunities for your baby to explore and develop their physical abilities, while also providing a safe and nurturing environment to support their ongoing growth and development. In case you have questions or concerns about your 5-month old’s development be sure to reach out to your pediatrician.

Your 5-Month Old’s Cognitive Development

At 5 months old, babies experience significant cognitive development as they become more aware of the world around them and their own bodies. Some of the major cognitive milestones that occur during this period include:

  • Improved Memory: Infants at this age have improved memory skills and can recall past experiences, such as recognizing familiar faces and objects.
  • Better Problem Solving: At 5 months, infants begin to develop problem-solving skills by experimenting with different actions to achieve their goals, such as reaching for a toy or trying to grasp a spoon.
  • Enhanced Social Interaction: Infants at this age become more interested in social interaction and will begin to engage in social games such as peek-a-boo or making noises to attract attention.
  • Increased Awareness of Cause and Effect: Infants at 5 months old start to understand cause and effect relationships, such as realizing that a toy makes a noise when they shake it or that kicking their legs causes movement in their bouncy chair.

Overall, cognitive development at 5 months old is marked by significant progress in memory, object permanence, problem-solving, social interaction, and cause and effect relationships.

5-Month Old Growth: Weight and Height

At 5 months old, both boys and girls experience significant growth in terms of height and weight. However, it is important to note that every child grows at their own pace and there may be variations in growth patterns.

Boys Growth at 5-months

On average, boys at 5 months old have a weight range of around 13 to 18 pounds (5.8 to 8.2 kg) and a height range of 24 to 26 inches (61 to 66 cm).

Girls Growth at 5-months

Girls at this age have a weight range of around 12 to 17 pounds (5.4 to 7.7 kg) and a height range of 23 to 25 inches (58 to 63.5 cm).

It is important to monitor your child's growth and development regularly and consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns. During regular check-ups, doctors will measure your child's height, weight, and head circumference, and compare the measurements to growth charts to track their progress.

How much does a 5-month old eat

The amount of food a 5-month-old baby eats can vary depending on several factors such as the baby's weight, growth rate, and individual appetite. Additionally, the feeding pattern can vary depending on whether the baby is exclusively breastfed, formula-fed, or eating solid foods .

For breastfed babies, the general recommendation is to feed on demand or every 3-4 hours. The amount of breastmilk a 5-month-old baby needs can range from 24 to 32 ounces per day.

For formula-fed babies, the amount of formula can range from 24 to 36 ounces per day, and the baby may have 5-6 feedings in a 24-hour period. The amount per feeding can range from 4 to 8 ounces, depending on the baby's weight and appetite.

For babies who have started on solid foods, the amount of food consumed can vary depending on the baby's readiness and willingness to eat. Typically, babies at this age can start with 1-2 tablespoons of pureed or mashed foods, once or twice a day, gradually increasing to 3-4 tablespoons. Always check with your pediatrician before starting your baby on solids.

It is important to note that every baby is different and their feeding needs can vary. It's best to follow your baby's cues, such as signs of hunger or fullness, and consult with a pediatrician if you have any concerns about your baby's feeding pattern or nutrition.

Should you wake a 5-month old to feed?

While some 5-month olds may already be sleeping through the night, for many they still need to eat during the night and may continue to do so until closer to 9-months. To help with overnight feeds you can establish ‘ok to feed times’ – download the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers app to guide you through that process.

What to Expect at Your 5-Month-Old’s Wellness Check

At your 5 month old’s wellness check, you can expect the pediatrician to perform a comprehensive physical examination to check your baby's growth and development. Here are some of the things the doctor may do during the visit:

  • Measure weight, length, and head circumference to track growth and development.
  • Check the baby's vital signs, including heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure.
  • Observe the baby's motor skills and development milestones, such as rolling over, sitting up, and reaching for objects.
  • Assess the baby's vision and hearing by performing simple tests.
  • Ask questions about feeding, sleeping, and other habits.
  • Check the baby's immunization schedule and administer any necessary vaccinations.
  • Discuss any concerns you may have, such as feeding problems or sleep issues.

The pediatrician may also provide guidance on how to support your baby's development and answer any questions you may have about parenting. It's essential to attend these regular wellness checks to monitor your baby's health and ensure they receive appropriate care.

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By five months of age, most babies will be able to hold up their head and chest when lying on their stomach, reach for and grasp objects, roll over, babble, and show more interest in their surroundings. They may also begin to sit up with support and respond to their name. It's important to remember that each baby develops at their own pace, so some of these milestones may be achieved earlier or later.

At 5 months old, a baby's intellectual development includes increased curiosity about their surroundings and recognition of familiar faces and objects. They may also begin to use their senses to explore and learn about the world around them, such as reaching for and grasping objects, putting objects in their mouth, and responding to different sounds and voices. Additionally, they may begin to understand cause and effect, such as the relationship between dropping an object and the sound it makes.

Babies typically begin rolling over at around 4-6 months old, although the exact timing can vary. Initially, most babies will roll from their stomach to their back before learning to roll from their back to their stomach. It's important to provide plenty of supervised tummy time to help babies develop the strength and coordination needed to roll over and reach other developmental milestones.

At 5 months old, your baby's fine motor skills are developing rapidly. They may be able to reach for and grasp objects, transfer objects from one hand to the other, and bring their hands to their mouth. Additionally, they may begin to explore objects with their fingers, such as feeling the texture of different toys or fabrics. These activities help to develop the hand-eye coordination and dexterity needed for more complex movements later on.

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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 American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment. 


AAP. 2021. Starting solids foods. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Starting-Solid-Foods.aspx

CDC. 2001. Data Table of Infant Weight-for-age Charts. https://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/html_charts/wtageinf.htm

CDC. 2001. Data Table of Infant Length-for-age Charts. https://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/html_charts/lenageinf.htm

Hirshkowitz M et al. 2015. National Sleep Foundation's sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2907341

LPCH. Infant sleep. Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=infant-sleep-90-P02237

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