Development and Health Care for a 5 Month Old Baby

Now, a 5 month old baby will slowly start to drink rice milk and fruit juice, and begin to wean onto solid foods. If your baby has been breast fed or has severe allergies, it is best to wait until 6 months old before taking this step. A 5 month old baby will become extremely curious, so it is good to take them for outings during good weather and allow them to experience new things.

Height65.2cm (Boy) 63.8cm (Girl)
Weight7.56kg (Boy) 7.09kg (Girl)
DevelopmentHand and eye coordination has developed. Happy when sees mother.
Milk FeedingPowdered milk 200cc 5 times. Breast milk separate every 4 hours. Solid foods 1 per day.

The Special Characteristics of this Period

1. Relaxing Muscle Exercises

Until this point, the body of a 5 month old baby has for the most part been spent curled up, so now some relaxing exercise is needed. This however must not be too forced, an example is to draw half a circle with the baby’s hand then raise the arm until it reaches the height of the head, gently pull the legs straight then push back towards the body, these kinds of limb stretching exercises.

2. Hand-Eye Coordination begins to Develop

When a toy is placed in front of the baby’s eyes, they will put out their hand in an attempt to grab it. Not only this, after grabbing a toy they will shake it. The toy will be placed in the mouth and babies will use their lips and tongue to feel the object, this is their method of identification. Hand and eye coordination gradually become more elaborate. The baby will examine their hands and feet closely and continue to suck. They will spend more time playing by themselves.

3. Can Temporarily Sit Upright by Leaning

A pillow or sofa can be used to allow babies to temporarily sit up straight. At this point, they will not be able to sit for long and will normally fall to one side. If they can be secured from toppling over, they will be able to sit for a long time. It is best not to force the baby to sit for too long, and it is best to accompany them whilst sitting like this.

Points to Note: Food for a 5 Month Old Baby

1. Start to Eat Baby Food

If a spoon is placed by the baby’s lips and the baby doesn’t respond by putting out its tongue, then this is the time they can start to eat weaning onto solid foods. At this point, babies will start to pay more attention to what adults are eating and when watching adults eat they will drool and will frequently swallow, so this is the time to start to wean onto solid foods. As babies need continued assistance in their development and help to keep the brain function agile, there is no longer enough nutrition contained solely in the breast or powdered milk to provide this. So you can start to wean onto solid foods. When the baby ages or become a 6 month old baby, it is best to attempt weaning onto solid foods if the baby is breast fed or the baby has allergies.

2. Eat Rice Milk Once Per Day

First, start slowly with rice milk. There are many who also start with fruit juice, but rice milk is better. Why is this? Babies who get a taste for sweeter foods will reject rice milk at a later stage, and rice does not aggravate any allergies. Soak rice for 2-3 hours then put the rice in a grinder and grind to powder, then use 10 times the volume of water to boil the rice in, firstly use 1/4 to feed to the baby. First, take a little milk, then eat a little weaning food then take a little more milk. Or first eat the weaning food before taking milk, both is ok. If the baby rejects this food, do not force them, wait another day or two and try again.

Intellectual and Emotional Development

1. Appropriate Stimulation for Curiosity

Babies will always look around them and this will stimulate their curiosity. They will carefully inspect their own hands and feet and then will suck on them. This is proof of their emerging curiosity. To stimulate this curiosity, you can provide toys that can be shaken or rocked, or when the baby is laying prostrate, place toys within their reach. This will encourage them to look at the objects within the home and although they are yet unable to speak, you can explain each item to the baby.

2. Establish the Right Habits before Sleep

Some children fall asleep whilst feeding, some fall asleep whilst being rocked back and forth, every baby has different sleeping habits. During this period, the baby will start to exhibit their own sleeping style, so it is good to develop a sleeping style that is convenient both for the baby and for the mother. Not only this, sleeping times will need to be fixed, bathe before sleep, turn off the lights, and do some small exercise, allow the baby to feel that the time for sleep has arrived. Do your best to keep this rhythm on a daily basis to create good habits for the child.

Health Care

1. Supplement Water Intake

The sweat glands of a 3 months old baby will become active and perspiration will increase dramatically. Not only this, saliva will also radically increase, so the baby will lose a lot of water. Therefore, you must ensure water intake is supplemented. Previously, all the milk consumed contained sufficient water for the baby’s needs, but now it will not be enough. You must purposefully give the baby more water to drink. Especially for babies that drink breast milk, use the milk bottle to feed water, and help them to learn to drink from the bottle.

2. Long Periods of Independent Play Time

Now that the neck is able to stiffen and prop up the head and chest, the baby can develop the habit of playing by themselves. For those babies who habitually cry and are immediately cuddled and comforted, this process will need to be more gradual. This period will train the hands and palms to be stronger in order to raise the head whilst lying prostrate. This depends on the development of neck, back and hand muscles and will have great help when learning to crawl.

3. Wear Clothing Convenient for Movement

Although every baby is unique, as a rule, most babies can by this time roll over and their movement becomes greatly increased. Because of this, it is best to wear clothing convenient for such movement. The more mobile babies are, the more perspiration they will have, so it is best to wear clothing with good absorbency and easy to remove.

4. Frequently Go for Outings

This period is the most appropriate for going outside. By going outside often, it will help stimulate the curiosity of the baby, the elasticity of the skin will improve, and their immune system will become stronger through contact with multiple environments. It is best to go for a 30-60 minute outing each day. This way, the baby can play and eat well during the day and rest well at night. They can grow happily and quickly.

Use Q&A to Relieve Anxiety and Doubt

Q. Will sitting upright cause the back bones to twist?

A. A 4 month old baby can independently sit upright. Typically speaking, the baby will not do this until the 6th month. There is no scientific evidence to suggest sitting upright at an earlier age will cause the bones to twist. If the infant dislikes sitting upright and you force them to, they will feel uncomfortable. If the baby enjoys sitting upright then there is no problem with allowing them to.

Q. Even after 4 months the neck is not strong enough to lift the head.

A. For the neck to be strong enough to lift the head, typically speaking, this happens in the 3rd month after birth. If after 4 months the head is still not able to be lifted, it is highly possible there is some medical condition present. It is also incorrect to suggest that the development of a baby which is often held will be slower than that which can play independently. Not only neck, but all other areas of development namely height and weight needs to be paid attention to. It would be best to take them to a pediatric clinic for a doctor to examine.

Q. Since starting to wean onto solid foods, the feeding becomes irregular, what can I do?

A. 5 months after birth, the babies will begin to resemble adults. They sometimes have a wish to eat a lot, sometimes have no desire to eat at all. The babies now have experienced the sensation of being ‘full’. Therefore, you must wait until the baby is willing to eat and try to eat at regular intervals.

Q. Due to insufficient breast milk, I supplement with powdered milk, but the baby doesn’t like cow-milk, they will only take at most 50-60 cc in one go. How can we encourage babies to take cow-milk?

A. At 4-5 months old, the baby can differentiate between mother’s nipple and the teat of the bottle.The majority of babies who feed from the mother’s breast do not actually dislike cow milk or dislike the teat from the mother’s bottle, but it is not their habit to feed this way. Also it will feel like mother’s milk can’t squeeze more out, but by letting the baby suck on the nipple, it will start to come out again. If the weight increases without complication, there is no need to take powdered milk. At 5 month old, it is best to pay more attention to weaning the baby onto solid foods.

Weaning Onto Solid Foods for the First Time

Baby food is used to wean babies from milk onto solid food. If the mother makes this pureed food and then spoon feeds the baby, a stronger emotional bond will form rather than if baby food is bought from a shop and fed to the baby via a bottle. Allowing the baby to begin to chew food will help develop their brain function.

Each mouthful fed to the baby only needs to be 1/4 of the spoon to begin with, and then slowly increase the portion. To avoid food allergies, after 1-2 weeks, add different foods into the mix. During this period, the babies can eat rice, oats, potatoes, sweet potatoes (starch foods), onions and turnips. Spinach and carrots can only be fed after 6 months old as during the cultivation of spinach and carrots, nitrogen fertilizer is used which can cause anemia in young babies.

Caring Tips

1. Don't disturb the baby when it's playing alone

While it's important for the baby to play with its mother, it's also crucial to train it to play on its own. If it doesn't cry when it wakes up, looks at its limbs and starts playing with them, then it's time to train the baby to play on its own. When the baby is playing happily on its own, the mother should avoid joining it intentionally. That's because it's now aware of its surroundings and will start crying as soon as it sees its mother even though it may be playing contentedly by itself just now. Things which may be dangerous to the baby should be kept away. Only put out what it wants to play.

2. Two naps daily

You should create an ambiance for the baby to sleep less during the day and peacefully at night. Babies at this age sleep once in the morning and once in the afternoon, which makes it two naps during the day. And it should get one full night of peaceful sleep. If the baby plays too much before bedtime, it's very difficult for it to get to sleep. If it doesn't sleep during the day, it'll be extremely tired and couldn't get enough sleep. So, don't let it play too boisterously near its bedtime. Giving the baby a warm bath will also help it sleep better.

3. Build up strength in the legs

Just like the neck and arms, the baby's legs will gradually become stronger. It even knows how to cheekily grab its armpit and pretend to jump up and down. It'll also look as if it's about to take a stride. Exercises or simple gymnastics which help to stimulate leg muscles should be done more frequently. It's also a very good leg exercise when the mother grabs the baby's legs while letting it hang upside down or let it lay down and then spread both legs towards the side of its body.

4. Stimulate sense of hearing

Five months after the baby's birth, it'll be extra sensitive to the sounds around it. A squeaky toy can be used to stimulate its sense of hearing. Moreover, let the baby enjoy music highly beneficial to its emotional development. However, there are cases in which the mother likes music but her baby doesn't. So it's good to observe the baby's reactions and only let it listen to the music it likes. Carry the baby and sway to the rhythm or pull funny faces according to the music. These parent-and-baby interactions are way better than letting it enjoy the music alone.

Q&A: Dispelling Worries and Anxieties

Q: I heard that it's better to eat weaning food before 10 in the morning. My kid drinks milk at eight in the morning and 12 in the afternoon. How do I coordinate and feed it weaning food?

A: Weaning food is not necessarily to be eaten in the morning. They can be eaten at a time when it's convenient to both you and baby. If possible, feed the baby weaning food at the same time daily.

Q: Is it okay if I wean my baby on porridge, off-the-shelf weaning food and fruit juice?

A: The nutritional value of weaning food which the baby is being fed at this point in time isn't of the greatest importance. The importance of weaning in the beginning is in mimicking a swallowing action when feeding your baby porridge with a spoon, or letting it try some other food besides milk. Off-the-shelf weaning food is made of a mixture of various grains. The mother is unsure whether it contains ingredients that would trigger allergies in the baby. So it's best to avoid off-the-shelf weaning food. If man-made additives such as preservatives and artificial coloring have been added to the fruit juice, take extra care when feeding it to the baby.

Baby Walkers

There's no scientific evidence that walkers can help babies learn how to walk faster. When the baby is in the walker, its mother can take care of other chores or take a break. However, the walker doesn't help the baby's development at all. If the baby is put in a walker at a too early age, its spine will be pressurized by the baby walker or frequent accidents may happen.

Being in a walker can help widen the area of activity and increase the number of objects the baby can explore. This is a little helpful in its emotional development. However, the baby may also be able to touch dangerous things or topple over in its walker. When it comes to the baby's safety, it's best to think over carefully whether you should put it in a walker.

If you want to let the baby use a walker, it's better to wait until it is six months old, when its lower back is stronger and can sit upright. For babies who can sit up earlier, the earlier they can ride the walker. Babies who learn to sit up later will only use the walker at a later stage. There's no need to worry as every child develops at a different pace. Wait until the baby naturally develops and matures before letting it ride the walker.

That’s it when it comes to the details needed to know about a 5 month old baby.


Editor in Babiology, mother of two, highly passionate about sharing the pregnancy care and post delivery care learning with the readers.

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