Your five-month-old baby

by Julie Snyder

five months oldA five-month-old checks things out three ways. She explores it with her hands, feels it with her mouth and looks at it with her eyes.

Trying to keep the toy in focus, she'll bring it close to her eyes and stretch her arm out again.

She is learning so much about the world and about herself. Your baby explores head to toe -- literally! She will guide even her toes to her mouth.

Social and emotional development

laughing babyThis month you're likely to be charmed by her first laugh. She recognizes familiar people and may woo them with a huge smile and greeting. Although quieter around unfamiliar people, she usually isn't upset by strangers. He definitely makes his likes and dislikes known now, not with words, but with social signals. He might even shove your arm away if he doesn't want to play with that toy or suspects you are going to do something sneaky like suction his nose or give him some medicine.

Language development

She strings out longer and more varied sounds, changing the shape of her mouth to change the sound. As she experiments with volume and pitch, she watches your reaction. Body language reflects her mood and wants. For example, fussing and arching her back when you're holding her may mean she wants to get down and play. New vocabulary sound -- raspberries!

Cognitive development

He's starting to realize that toys can go out of his line of vision and he watches for them to reappear. If a toy drops, he will look down for it. Your baby is trying to look at the world through your eyes. He looks where you are looking, linking what you see with what you say. Help him put a label on things by describing what you see.

Large motor skills

She plays airplane! When on her tummy, she arches her back, lifts her arms and kicks her legs. Do you think she's about to take off? You can help to move forward by placing your hands against the soles of her feet and watch her scoot forward. Her neck, shoulders, back and abs are strong and solid now and she's able to lift her chest off the floor. She might be able to roll over both ways.

Fine motor skills

reaching for toyHe is amazed at what his hands can do. He watches his hands approach a toy, figures out object's shape and changes his hand to accommodate. Although he's still raking things in he's beginning to use his thumb opposite the other fingers. Once he catches it, he might bring the toy to his mouth or shift it from hand to hand. It's a great month to begin block play.

Note: These milestones may first appear this month. It's normal for them to happen later. Worried your little one isn't developing normally? Check out these developmental red flags.

The big picture

Your five-month-old understands the world by playing with other people. Mom and Dad are two of his best playmates. Take time to introduce him to various sights, sounds, textures and experiences.

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