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5 month old milestones

Are you ready to learn all about the needs and development of your 5-month-old baby?! You have come to the right place. I have written an extensive guide for you including what to expect when it comes to developmental milestones, sleep, breastfeeding, and even how to best play with your 5-month-old baby to encourage brain development and growth! My guide is backed not only by experience but also by research!

This post contains affiliate links, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Important Note: I do extensive research when writing these posts. I synthesize my research using many academic and reliable sources as well as my own personal experience. I fact check using the CDC, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (APA). I also consult the following reference books both for making decisions on raising my daughter and writing these posts:

If you are interested in researching and learning, in depth, about your 5-month-old baby I highly recommend buying the above books or checking them out from your local library! They will be a must-have resource for the coming months!

5 Month Old Milestones

  • Lift head 90 degrees when on tummy
  • Hold head steady when held upright
  • Raise chest and head with arms when on tummy
  • Keep head level with body when pulled up to sitting
  • Roll over tummy to back (no longer EVER let your baby be on the bed or couch unsupervised!)
  • Laugh out loud
  • Reach out for objects
  • Follow an object that is 6 inches above face as it moves from side to side
  • Be able to see across room and recognize familiar people
  • Like to play
  • Babble
  • Clearly show happiness and sadness
  • Use eyes and hands together

Sleep Milestones for a 5-Month-Old

Sleep Basics

  • Total sleep in 24 hour period: 15 hours
  • Nighttime sleep: 10-11 hrs
  • Daytime sleep: 2-3 naps for a total of 2-3 hours

*These are averages. Remember your baby might sleep a little more or a little less. You should always talk to your pediatrician if you are concerned.

Because your little one can hold more food in their growing belly chances are they can sleep for longer periods of time. You are looking at 6-7 hours of uninterrupted nighttime sleep at a time!

However, before you get too excited your little one should be going to bed around 7 pm each night! That means with 7 hours of nighttime sleep will have your baby waking you up around 2 am. Read my tips to establish a rock solid bedtime ritual. Some babies at this time do sleep for an uninterrupted 10 hours! So you might be one of the lucky ones!

Don’t worry too much though! Nurse your baby when they wake up and put them directly back to bed. After that, your baby should sleep through till the morning!

This is how a nighttime schedule could look for you.

6:30 pm Bathtime, books

6:45 pm breastfeed or bottle

7:00 pm Put baby to bed

2-3 am middle of the night feed (don’t wake baby up, wait for baby to wake up on their own)

7 am Morning Wake up

Don’t forget! Babies should always be placed on their back to sleep. Remember “Back is Best” Placing your baby to sleep on their back reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) tremendously.

A note on napping: Around 4-5 months you might be wondering why your child won’t sleep longer than 45 minutes during the day. Read this post by The Practically Perfect Baby to get your baby napping longer. I started using their method and never looked back. (Not sponsored or an affiliate, just obsessed with their method)

Since your baby will soon be able to roll over while sleeping (or maybe already is!) it is time to start transitioning away from swaddling your little one! You want him to be able to move around freely. I love sleep sacks for this purpose. For those of you that don’t know a sleep sack is basically a wearable sleeping bag! So cozy! I really liked this transitional sleep sack swaddle for when I was transitioning my daughter away from being swaddled. After she got used to the sleep sack I moved to this one and also this one!

Breastfeeding a 5-month-old

As your baby is able to consolidate breastfeeding sessions you will probably be looking at nursing about 5-6 times over a 24 hour period. This could be every 3-4 hours. Most babies will consume around 5-6 oz per feeding for a total of 24-36 oz.

A sample breastfeeding schedule could look like this:

7 am: Wake up and Nurse

9 am: Nurse and nap

10:30 am Wake up from Nap

11:00 am Nurse

1:00 am Nurse and Nap

2:30 am Wake up  

4:00 am Nurse/ Bottle

6:45 am Nurse

7:00 am Bedtime

2am/3am: Middle of the night Nurse

Downloadable His and Her Household Task Checklist
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How to Play with your 5-month-old

  • Talk to your baby all day long! This starts developing their language skills
  • Sing and Dance
  • Read books
  • Mimic sounds back to her to show the process of talking
  • Hug and snuggle often to show your baby affection and to build a sense of security!
  • Tummy time! You should continue doing LOTS of tummy time!
  • Play with baby blocks and soft toys to stimulate hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills
  • Encourage her to roll over by placing toys just out of reach!
  • She will love looking at the “other baby” in a small unbreakable baby mirror
  • Be sure to spend time playing on the floor with your baby every day!

Appropriate Toys for your 5-Month-Old

Helpful Tips for Baby’s 5th Month

Guess what?!?! You can definitely be doing some gentle sleep training!!! This is an exciting milestone to reach! Read to see how you can establish a rock solid bedtime ritual and survive sleep training!

If you are headed back to work after your maternity leave check out my tips and tricks for returning to work after maternity leave.

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