Your baby just turned 5 months old. *Pats head* It's going to be OK.
Your Baby Is 5 Months Old, Now What?
Things are changing, and we’re not talking about all those diapers you run through. At five months old your baby is starting to sit up, move, and roll — if only for a few seconds.
Now that your baby is around 5-months old, your baby has motor skills to complete simple actions such as picking objects up. At this point, you’ll probably notice that they seem to want to put everything…literally, everything, in their mouth. So, why is this? Babies are learning with each slobber. Even at this stage, babies are able to construct abstract ideas of what an object may look like, just by putting it in their mouth!
Babies establish touch-sensitivity in a head-to-toe sequence, meaning that their touch sensitivity is established in their mouths prior to establishing sensitivity in their hands and below.
With new movement come new questions and new worries. We’re here to ease this transition for you and your babe.
5 MONTH MILESTONES!
Rolls over from front to back, but rarely back to front
Sits with support of a pillow or “Boppy”
Scrunching, crunching, and wobbling to find stability
More aware of their hands, might get a little grabby
Babbling is happening, oohs and gaa-gaahhhs to get your attention
Your Baby’s Brain at 5 Months
During the first 1,000 days of life, your baby’s brain is growing faster than it ever will. Before age 2, 80% of their brain will have developed.
Additionally, 60% of your baby’s caloric intake is going straight to their brain. In short: it’s called brain food for a reason. In the last decade, scientists and researchers have circled the first 1,000 days–the period from conception to age 2–as the most important time in a person’s life for nutrition. The concept of the 1,000 days was first established in 2008, when The Lancet, a noted British medical journal, published a landmark series on maternal and infant nutrition. The report concluded that nutrition consumed during this period has a lasting impact through adulthood and that nutrient deficiencies can lead to “irreversible damage.”
According to the Journal of Pediatrics, there are three standout factors that have profound effects on early brain development. They include: “reduction of toxic stress and inflammation, presence of strong social support and secure attachment, and provision of optimal nutrition.”
At Yumi we focus on the third factor: optimal nutrition. This means getting your baby the key nutrients they need at the right time. Key nutrients for brain development are defined as those for which deficiency that is concurrent with sensitive or critical periods early in life results in long-term dysfunction.
During pregnancy, folate is the vitamin that helps prevent defects in your baby’s brain and spinal cord. This superhero vitamin continues to play a vital part postpartum. Moms need it. Babies need it.
Studies show a lack of folate has negative consequences for brain development during infancy and increased risk of depression during adulthood. But don’t folate fret. This water-soluble B vitamin is found many natural foods including dark green leafy vegetables and beans– all of which are safe to eat for those just starting solids.
At 5 months, your baby is showing even more emotion as their brain’s basal ganglia matures. They’re now constantly exuding emotions, ranging from sad to content to outright joyous. They’re also likely paying more attention to the facial expressions of the people around them. For instance, researchers have found that between 5 to 7 months, babies will become more aware of faces that are fearful.
Your Baby’s Muscles at 5 Months
It’s time to teach through touch. In addition to learning thought slobber, babies also learn through social touch. This action includes touch while reading, which may increase ability to learn auditory patterns.
One study showed that, infants were able to better track patterns when read a book about body parts and shown where their tummy, hair and shoulders were.
Your Baby’s Eyes at 5 Months
At birth, your baby can only see in black and white. During this time, your baby’s eyesight is rapidly developing. Out of the womb, a baby’s world is blurry – somewhere between 20/200 and 20/400. But by the five month mark, the world is coming into sharp focus and may be as strong as 20/25.
By the five month mark, the world around them is coming into sharp focus. At this point your babe can now distinguish pastel colors. By the end of the 5 month mark, your babe will have developed all their primary visual capabilities like depth perception, color vision, fine acuity, and well-controlled eye movements. (The eye-rolling starts early.)
Babies at this age can now move their eyes quickly, distinguish between the shades of colors and are enjoying a somewhat new sense of depth perception (which usually begins to form around the 5-month mark). You’ll notice your child fixating on visually stimulating objects, such as a complex pattern, a mosaic of color or even his/her own reflection. At this age, they are also adept at recognizing faces and processing that information in the right hemisphere of their brain — the same way that human adults do. Between now and 6 months, they will also begin to change their body position to visually track an object.
Deficiencies in riboflavin (otherwise known as vitamin B2) can cause blurring, itching, watery sore or bloodshot eyes. It can even make your baby sensitive to light or easily fatigued. Other nutrients that support healthy eyesight include: vitamin A, zinc, and lutein.
Green vegetables, such a broccoli and spinach, are high in riboflavin and are great Stage 1 baby foods. Remember: the earlier and more often you expose your baby to healthy options, the more likely they are to become healthy eaters for life.
As your baby’s vision continues to develop, keep exposing them to books and toys with a wide range of hues to expand their awareness of color.
Your Baby’s Sleep at 5 Months
Sleep you say, what’s that?
By around 3 months, most infants start producing melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone which puts their sleep cycle into a more regular rhythm.
At this stage, your baby should be sleeping around 15 hours per day, including nap times. On average, if your baby naps for around 4 hours per day, then they should be clocking 10-11 hours of sleep at night. Some babies — though not all — will be able to sleep through the night. Hunger — or a lack of it — usually determines when a baby wakes or sleeps.
Sleep provides a number of benefits. Studies have shown that irregular sleeping schedules during early childhood can have negative effects on learning abilities, spatial awareness and behavioral issues later in life. Now is a great time to establish a bedtime routine. Make sure your baby is well-fed before bed, so hunger doesn’t interrupt their sleep. The fuller they are at bedtime, the more likely they are to sleep through the night.
Don’t stress if you’re not there yet!
Your Baby’s Tummy at 5 Months
At 5 months your baby is just starting solids, or is showing signs that they are ready to start solids. In general, babies begin solid foods between 4-6 months.
According to the Mayo Clinic, it is around this age that babies typically stop using their tongues to push food out of their mouths and begin to develop the coordination to move solid food from the front of the mouth to the back for swallowing.
Starting your baby on solid food before 4 months is hazardous to their baby immune and digestive systems, which aren’t yet equipped to properly process food and defend against potential allergens. As a result, the risk for food allergy, eczema, celiac disease, and other gastrointestinal issues are higher. But once you have the go-ahead from their pediatrician and they are showing signs that they’re ready (see tips here), it’s off to the food races.
In the early stages, we encourage giving your baby a variety of foods and textures: think single ingredient purees, often referred to as Stage 1. Think: mashed up avocado, banana, steamed veggies, and scrambled eggs. As your baby progresses in solid foods, you can move towards more complex flavors and textures such as cooked beans, whole wheat toast, smashed berries, and roasted root vegetables. Your baby will eat whatever you give them, so it’s up to you to provide them with healthy, nutrient-dense options. Don’t be afraid to venture out – this can be a great time to introduce your baby to new flavors and reinforce healthy eating habits for the rest of your family.
As with any “first,” it’s all very exciting. However, they are trying new foods for the first time which can simul-tummy-ously make for gas and constipation. It’s all very normal, and at the same time pediatric constipation is painful for all parties.
It’s a party all on its own. Fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods (roughage) that pushes through the digestive system, absorbing water along the way and easing bowel movements. Incorporating fibrous, natural foods into your baby’s diet will ensure more happy toots and less tears.
As your baby begins to show more emotions, it becomes especially important that you interact with your baby as much as possible. Have conversations with them, play games with them, and read them books. This is a beautiful time, so enjoy every second of it!