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Baby Month By Month

5 Month Old Baby

Your baby is five months old!

Feeling a bit like a coach? You’ve been giving baby tons of encouragement over the past month —as he’s (probably!) trying to sit up by himself. Give him the space to try on his own, but stay within arm’s reach, just in case he starts to topple. You’re probably also inspiring his 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."

5-Month-Old Development

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 he’s working on getting bigger too.

5-Month-Old Baby Weight & 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 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 baby most likely gained about 1 to 1.25 pounds since last month!

“5-month-old growth spurt" isn’t a phrase you normally hear—but it’s well known that babies tend to have growth spurts around four months and around six months, and you’re right smack in the middle of that. As we know, not every baby is exactly the same, so if you suspect yours is having a growth spurt—is extra hungry and feeding like crazy for a few days—then he probably is.

Five Senses

  • Baby’s ability to distinguish between different colors is improving—it’s not just the bright, bold colors she 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 his head to hear a rattling sound and may start to turn his head when he hears a voice.
  • He’s listening to what you’re saying and may soon start to imitate your words. Once he starts making some sounds he likes—“oh” or “ah” maybe—he might keep on repeating them. How cute!

5-Month-Old Milestones
What do 5-month-old babies do? Here’s an idea of what’s likely going on with yours this month:

  • Baby is fascinated by his hands and may have started bringing both of them together. (Patty-cake time!)
  • He's likely reaching with both hands, grasping things and holding them using all his fingers.
  • He’s 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 when he can't see them.
  • He’s either started rolling over, or is swaying side-to-side, getting ready to reach this milestone. Average age to start to roll from tummy to back is four months; 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 at her 6-month checkup, you should let the pediatrician know.
  • For your 5-month-old, crawling may be on the horizon. Babies tend to hit this milestone between 6 to 10 months, but some especially determined babies get started earlier than that.

Is My 5-Month-Old Healthy?
Having a baby sometimes feels like one minor illness after another. These are some common health questions parents of 5-month-old babies ask:

5-Month-Old Baby Feeding

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? How often should 5-month-old eat?
Your baby breastfeeds or bottle-feeds every three to five hours and may have started eating solid foods about three times per day.

Bottle feeding: How much formula for a 5-month-old baby? Many babies this age eat four ounces of formula about 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. Typically, a baby needs about 25 ounces of breast milk per day. So you’ll need to divide that by how many feedings your baby typically has. So if you feed baby about eight times per day, he should get about 3.1 ounces of breast milk at each feeding. That’s how much milk a 5-month-old should drink.

To double-check that baby’s getting enough breast milk, you can check her diapers. How many wet diapers for a 5-month-old is healthy? About four or five very wet ones per day.

What can baby eat this month? How much baby food for a 5-month-old is recommended?

Solid foods: If you and baby’s pediatrician have decided to feed baby solids, go slow and follow baby’s cues. You might start out with one ounce at a meal and gradually increase the amount to about three ounces three times a day, if it seems like baby enjoys eating that much. 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 he’s interested in eating them, the more you should feel free to feed him—up to three ounces, three times per day.

Can I give my 5-month-old water?
Typically, doctors say to wait until baby’s eating solid food before introducing water to baby. So if he’s eating baby food, you can probably give him some sips of water too. Just don’t overdo it—baby can get full by drinking water, which means he’ll be missing out on the nutrients he needs from breast milk, formula or solid food.

5-Month-Old Feeding Schedule

Photo: Megan Rubey

5-Month-Old Sleep

How much should my 5-month-old sleep? How long should a 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 his own unique sleep personality.

A 5-month-old baby tends 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.

Here’s a typical sleep schedule for a 5-month-old baby.

5-Month-Old Sleep Schedule

Photo: Megan Rubey

My 5-month-old won’t sleep! Why?
We hear parents say “My 5-month-old wakes up every hour” or “He used to sleep and now suddenly he’s not!”

A 5-month-old not sleeping could be for a variety of reasons but one of the most common is sleep regression. At this age, 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 your baby get back to snoozing more soundly. So can getting baby used to falling asleep in his own in the crib, rather than in your arms (we know—easier said than done!). Luckily, 4- or 5-month sleep regression 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 your baby cry—yes, there are usually tears involved—feels cruel.

If your 5-month-old 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 regular sleep routine and have dropped most of his middle-of-the-night feedings. Read more about how sleep-train a baby to see if it’s right for your family.

Is a five-month-old sleeping on his stomach okay?
Continue to put baby to bed lying on his back to reduce SIDS risk. Once he starts rolling onto his tummy, there’s really not much you can do about letting him 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 his head and shoulders and can roll over on his own, it’s okay for him to sleep on his stomach.

5-Month-Old Schedule

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 he grows.

5-Month-Old Baby Schedule Example
A 5-month-old's daily schedule might look something like this.

Photo: Megan Rubey

5-Month-Old Baby Checklist/Tips

  • Schedule baby’s six-month checkup, if you haven’t already.
  • Put an unbreakable baby mirror in front of baby’s face and watch his delight as he admires and entertains himself.
  • 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 photo.