Your baby is 5 months old! Feeling a bit like a coach? You’ve been giving baby tons of encouragement over the past month —as they’re (probably!) trying to sit unassisted in a tripod position. Give baby the space to try on their own, but stay within arm’s reach, just in case they start to topple. You’re probably also inspiring baby’s language by having conversations around the house. The ultimate reward for all your efforts will be when you (will soon) hear those wonderful words: "mama" and "dada."
It seems each day brings new 5-month-old baby milestones, and your little one has been practicing their motor skills and showing off their unique personality. As exciting as these moments are, you probably still have some questions surrounding this new stage. What can babies eat at the five-month mark? How can I keep my 5-month old busy? And perhaps most pressing: What time should a 5-month-old go to bed? (This whole early parenting thing is still very exhausting!)
Parenting has a nonstop learning curve, and we’re here to help. From understanding a 5-month-old baby’s feeding routine to structuring a (somewhat) normal sleep schedule, here’s what you need to know as you celebrate this stage.
Your busy 5-month-old baby is working on a number of skills that’ll really come in handy for moving around and getting things done, and they’re working on getting bigger too.
5-month-old baby weight and length
You probably want to know: How much should my 5-month-old weigh? The average weight for a 5-month-old baby is 15.2 pounds for girls and 16.6 pounds for boys; the average length (aka height) is 25.2 inches for girls and 25.9 inches for boys.
Of course that doesn’t mean your 5-month-old baby should weigh and measure exactly that. Remember: Healthy babies tend to follow a natural growth curve, staying within the same percentile range as they grow older. As long as baby’s sticking to the curve, that’s an indicator of healthy growth. And your child most likely gained about 1 to 1.25 pounds since last month!
You won’t typically hear the phrase “5-month-old growth spurt"—but it’s well known that babies tend to have growth spurts around the four- and six-month marks, and you’re right smack in the middle of those two. As we know, not every baby is exactly the same, so if you suspect yours is having a growth spurt—they’re extra hungry and feeding like crazy for a few days—then they probably are.
5-month-old’s five senses
- Baby’s ability to distinguish between different colors is improving—it’s not just the bright, bold colors they can tell apart but now it’s pastels and other subtle colors too.
- Baby can now spot a toy just out of reach, and grab it. Go baby!
- Baby will turn their head to hear a rattling sound and may start to turn their head when they hear a voice.
- They’re listening to what you’re saying and may soon start to imitate your words. Once they start making some sounds they like—“oh” or “ah” maybe—they might keep on repeating them. How cute!
5-month-old baby milestones
What do 5-month-old babies do? Here’s an idea of what’s likely going on with yours this month:
- Baby’s eyesight is growing sharper by the day. So what can babies see at 5 months old? Babies at this age will start noticing things several feet away and can differentiate between colors. They can also focus on objects without crossing their eyes.
- Baby is fascinated by their hands and may have started bringing both of them together. (Patty-cake time!)
- They’re likely reaching with both hands, grasping things and holding them using all their fingers.
- Baby is about ready to start learning about object permanence. Hide an object and then reveal it, so baby will start to learn that things still exist even when they can't see them.
- They’ve either started rolling over or are swaying side-to-side, getting ready to reach this milestone. Average age to start to roll from tummy to back is 4 months old; after that, baby will start to roll back to tummy. A 5-month-old not rolling over isn’t a cause for concern, but if baby isn’t at least trying to roll by their six-month checkup, you should let the pediatrician know.
- For your 5-month-old, crawling may be on the horizon. Babies tend to start crawling between 6 to 10 months, but some especially determined babies get started earlier than that.
Having a baby sometimes feels like one minor illness after another. These are some common health questions parents of 5-month-old babies ask:
- Can a 5-month-old be teething? (Yes!)
- How often should a 5-month-old poop?
- My 5-month-old is constipated. How can I get my 5-month-old baby to poop?
- My 5-month-old has diarrhea. What should I do?
- My 5-month-old baby a cough. What should I do?
- My 5-month-old is vomiting. How can I help my 5-month-old who’s throwing up?
- My 5-month-old has a fever. What should I do?
- My 5-month-old has a stuffy nose. How can I help my 5-month-old who’s congested?
Feeding baby may be getting more complicated than it used to be. Nursing may have turned into nursing and pumping; bottles may have turned into bottles and baby food.
How much should a 5-month-old eat?
Wondering how much and how often a 5-month-old should eat? Five-month-old babies typically breastfeed or bottle-feed every three to four hours and may have started eating solid foods about two times per day.
- Bottle feeding: How much formula for a 5-month-old baby? Many babies this age eat 4 to 6 ounces of formula about four to six times a day.
- Breastfeeding: You should be nursing baby every three or four hours but each breastfed baby may be slightly different. What’s important is that baby seems content, your boobs seem to have been emptied (they’re soft) and baby’s gaining weight healthily.
- Pumping: If you’re pumping breast milk, you’re probably wondering how many ounces of breast milk for a 5-month-old is enough. Five-month-olds need about 25 ounces of breast milk per day. So you’ll need to divide that by how many feedings your baby usually has. So if you feed baby about eight times per day, they should get about 4 ounces of breast milk at each feeding. That’s about how much milk a 5-month-old should drink.
To double-check that baby’s getting enough breast milk, you can check their diapers. How many wet diapers for a 5-month-old is healthy? About four or five very wet ones per day.
What can babies eat at 5 months?
Five-month-old babies still need breast milk, formula or a combination of both. Does baby watch you intently while you eat your own breakfast? It might be time to start your 5-month-old on solids.
Wondering how much baby food for a 5-month-old is recommended? The five-month mark is an exciting time as baby might be ready to take on solid foods. If you and your pediatrician have decided to move forward with baby solids, go slow and follow baby’s cues. You might start out with one ounce and one meal and gradually increase the amount to about three ounces as often as three times a day.
How much fruit and veggies or how much rice cereal for a 5-month-old largely depends on the baby. The longer baby’s been eating solids and the more they’re interested in eating them, the more you should feel free to feed them—up to three ounces, three times per day.
Can I give my 5-month-old water?
Typically, doctors say to wait until baby is about 6 months old or eating solids before introducing them to water. That said, if they’re eating baby food, you can probably give them a few sips of water too.
5-month-old feeding schedule
Don’t know how to space out feedings? Here’s a basic schedule that might work for you and baby:
Is baby sleeping well yet? If not, it might be time to consider sleep training. Read on for some common solutions to get you and your 5-month-old sufficient shut-eye.
How much should my 5-month-old sleep?
How many hours a 5-month-old should sleep depends on the baby! Just like everything else, there’s a range—there are big sleepers and not-so-big sleepers—and oftentimes the amount baby sleeps depends on their own unique sleep personality.
Five-month-olds tend to sleep around 15 hours a day, including about up to 10 hours at night (some babies wake at night and others don’t!) and two or three naps, adding up to around five hours of daytime sleep.
What time should a 5-month old go to bed?
Again, this will depend on your specific scenario and needs. At 5 months old, baby should be on a two- or three-nap schedule, with the last nap ending ideally no later than 5 p.m. Experts generally recommend putting baby to bed for the night around 7 or 7:30 p.m.
5-month-old sleep schedule
Five-month-olds need plenty of rest. Here’s a typical sleep schedule for a 5-month-old baby:
My 5-month-old won’t sleep!
We hear parents say “My 5-month-old wakes up every hour” or “They used to sleep and now suddenly they’re not!” If your child isn’t sleeping, it could be for a variety of reasons; one of the most common is sleep regression. The 5-month-old sleep regression is common because babies naturally begin to sleep less deeply, and their brains have developed and become more active.
A soothing sleep routine can help baby get back to snoozing more soundly. Getting baby used to falling asleep on their own in the crib, rather than in your arms (we know—easier said than done!) is also important. That means you want to avoid rocking them to sleep. Pediatricians also recommend not feeding baby to get them to fall asleep; rather, put them down when they’re drowsy but still awake.Don’t worry, this sleep regression stage usually only lasts about two to six weeks. Read more tips for dealing with sleep regression.
Is sleep-training a 5-month-old a good idea?
Maybe! Some families swear by sleep training, others think letting baby cry—yes, there are usually tears involved—feels cruel. Do what’s best for your family.
If your 5-month-old baby does not sleep through the night, and you’re interested in giving sleep training a try, now is probably a good time. Experts say babies might be ready for sleep training if they’ve gotten into a regular sleep routine and have dropped most of their middle-of-the-night feedings. Read more about how sleep-train a baby to see if it’s right for your family.
Is a 5-month-old sleeping on their stomach okay?
Continue to put baby to bed lying on their back to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Once baby starts rolling onto their tummy, there’s really not much you can do about letting them sleep in that position.
In fact, a lot of babies find stomach sleeping really comfy. Some worried parents feel the need to go into the nursery and flip baby over, but rest assured that once baby can lift their head and shoulders and can roll over on their own, it’s okay for them to sleep on their stomach.
Five-month-old babies are just coming into their own, and they want in on the fun! Looking for things to do with a 5-month-old baby? Check out this list of baby activities that will give you an idea of 5-month-old activities, as well as things to do with baby as they grow.
5-month-old baby schedule example
A 5-month-old's daily schedule might look something like this:
As baby grows and develops each day, you’re probably wondering: How can I keep my 5-month old busy? Here are some fun activities to keep them engaged and entertained:
- Take baby for a walk. As their eyesight improves, baby will begin focusing on different aspects of nature, from trees to flying birds. This is great stimulation for baby; plus, a change of scenery and fresh air can be good for you too!
- Put baby on the floor to explore. Whether you put baby on their back or tummy, this floor time gives them a chance to move around, explore and strengthen those little muscles. (Just sure to babyproof the area first).
- Play music. Baby’s hearing is getting better; they’ll love listening to different kinds of music. Sing along and dance with baby.
- Continue to read. Reading every day will help encourage early language skills.
- Schedule baby’s six-month checkup, if you haven’t already.
- Put an unbreakable baby mirror in front of baby’s face and watch their delight as they admire their own mug and self-entertain.
- Need a new car seat for your 5-month-old baby? Look into a convertible seat that can be positioned both backward (until age 2 or 3) and forward (after that).
- Take baby’s 5-month-old baby milestone photo.
- Baby has likely started putting everything in their mouth by this age, so clear your space of small choking hazards.
Five-months-olds grow up right before your eyes. Your little one will surprise you each day with their new tricks. Their personality is getting more defined by the minute, and you’ll soon have a bubbly 6-month-old on your hands. Where has the time gone?
Medical content was reviewed by Dina DiMaggio, MD, a board-certified pediatrician at Pediatric Associates of NYC and NYU Langone Health in New York City, and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is also the coauthor of The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers.