5 month old baby milestones: Development, growth, speech, language, and more

Updated Jan 22, 2024
5 month old baby milestones: Development, growth, speech, language, and more | Huckleberry

At 5 months, babies are working on exciting skills like rolling over, sitting up with support, babbling, and engaging with toys. They’re also able to express emotions a little better through sounds, smiles, and other facial expressions. You’ll probably find yourself taking pictures and videos of your little one even more at this age to capture these big changes! 

In this article, we’ll take you through the milestones you can expect from 22 - 26 week old babies, give you a handy 5 month old development checklist, and provide useful tips to help ensure your little one is learning and growing as much as possible. 

Editor's Note:

When we discuss babies and development at Huckleberry, we use their adjusted age (vs. actual age). Not all babies will reach 5 month old milestones simultaneously — and that’s normal. There’s a wide spectrum when it comes to how fast babies grow and develop. While many infants do reach these milestones between 22 and 26 weeks, this isn’t always the case. If you have any concerns or questions about your child’s development, reach out to their pediatrician.


IN THIS ARTICLE: 

5 month old baby milestones at a glance

5 month development milestones

5 month development milestones checklist

5 development tips for 5 months

Takeaway: Development milestones for 5 month olds

5 month old development milestones FAQ


Between 22 - 26 weeks, babies often practice independent movement in the form of rolling over from back to tummy and tummy to back. Expected 5 month old gross motor milestones also include sitting with support along with kicking and wiggling their limbs intentionally.

When it comes to 5 month old language development, it’s all about babbling. Expect to hear plenty of “gaga” and “goo” from your cute baby!  Babbling will also usually be accompanied by plenty of coos and smiles too. These early exchanges are setting the foundation for speech development down the road. 

At 5 months, we recommend around 14.5 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period. This might look like 11 - 12 hours at night and 2.5 - 3.5 hours during the day spread out over 3 - 4 naps. Keep in mind these are rough estimates and it’s best to keep an eye on your little one’s mood and energy levels to assess their sleep needs. Some babies have higher or lower sleep needs and their day may look a little different.

When it comes to daytime sleep, most babies taking 4 naps a day can stay awake about 1.5 - 2.5 hours. Once they transition to 3 naps a day, this wake window will typically increase to closer to 2 - 3 hours. There’s often a transition period while your baby adjusts to taking one fewer nap per day so don’t be surprised if some days your little one takes 4 naps and some days they take 3 for a while. While the nap transition might make it a little hard to plan your day, rest assured it’s temporary. 

At this age, babies typically eat every 3 - 4 hours. This might look like 4 - 6 feedings totaling around 22 - 28 oz of formula or breast milk in a 24-hour period. A good way to tell if your 5 month old is getting enough calories per day is by checking to see that they have 4 - 6 wet diapers per day. This is typically a good indication that your baby is hydrated and properly fed. 

Solids are also on the horizon too! While previous recommendations have suggested starting your baby on oatmeal at 4 months, the American Academy of Pediatrics [1] currently recommends waiting until 6 months of age to introduce solid foods. 

At 5 months, your baby might be showing signs of readiness for solids like bringing objects to their mouth, showing interest in solid food, improved head and neck control, and being able to sit unassisted with support. These are all important indicators that your little one is developmentally ready to consume food other than breast milk or formula. 

Typically a baby’s birth weight doubles by 4 - 5 months [2]! Weight gain is usually around 1 - 1.25 pounds between 5 - 6 months. Your little one’s height will likely increase by .5 - 1 inch this month. Their head will likely grow around .5 inches too.

Note that it can be normal for your little one to grow more or less than this between 22 - 26 weeks. At well-baby visits, your child’s doctor will chart their height and weight to check that they’re growing at a regular pace and can pinpoint any trends that need attention. Typically well-child visits occur at 4 and then 6 months, but if you have concerns about your baby at 5 months, consult their pediatrician. 

Rolling over: Your baby is likely working on rolling over at 5 months. By 6 months [2], most little ones can roll from front to back as well as back to front. Rolling is an exciting gross motor milestone that marks the first time your baby can move their whole body independently and purposefully. However, rolling babies can also make it tricky to change diapers on a changing table or elevated surface. They move fast! You might consider moving diaper changes to the floor at this age.

If you haven’t stopped swaddling your baby already, the American Academy of Pediatrics [3] recommends that you stop as soon as they show signs of rolling in order to keep your baby safe while they’re sleeping. 

Wiggling and kicking: Look at those arms and legs go! Between 22 - 26 weeks, you’ll probably start to see your little one wiggle and kick more purposefully. 

Sitting: Babies at 5 months likely aren’t sitting independently because they’re still developing the necessary core, neck, and head strength. Instead, they might be practicing sitting with some support [4] (with pillows or propped up in your lap) and possibly using their hands for balance. Most babies aren’t able to sit up on their own until 7 - 9 months. 

Reaching and grabbing: Fine motor skills between 4 - 5 months [2] include reaching and grabbing objects with both hands due to improved hand-eye coordination. They’re also likely touching or banging items on a hard surface. 

At 6 months, little ones are usually able to reach for an item with one hand, shake a rattle, and use all of their fingers at the same time (called a “raking grasp”) to pick up a small object. This is usually a good age to make sure your child’s play space is free from small objects that could be choking hazards. 

Babbling: Get ready to take a lot of videos of your baby saying “baba”, “goo,” and “gaga.” [5] Typical 5 month old language development includes being able to make these simple sounds. By 6 months, they’re typically able to make single-syllable sounds like “da,” “ma,” and “ba.” They’ll often use these sounds to get your attention. There will be plenty of coos and gurgles at this age too! 

Raspberries: Believe it or not, blowing raspberries [6] is a milestone that helps set the foundation for speech! Most babies are able to make these silly sounds with their mouths by 6 months, so your baby may start between 22 - 26 weeks. 

Colors and patterns: 5 month olds might be more interested in colors and patterns now that they’re able to tell the difference. [4] Complex patterns and shapes are also more visually interesting to infants at this age. 

Focus: There’s so much to take in when you’re tiny! Between 22 - 26 weeks, you might notice your little one staring intently [4] at a toy or their reflection. They can also maintain eye contact [7] better now, especially with familiar people during exciting interactions like singing and playing peek-a-boo. 

Expressing emotions: Between 4 - 6 months, most babies are able to make different sounds to express different emotions [7]. They’re starting to be able to show what they want through babbling, movements, facial expressions, and smiles. 

Games: 5 month old emotional development means your little one might be interested in playful interactions now. Starting around 4 - 6 months, [7] games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake can inspire them to vocalize and maintain eye contact with you. 

Toys: At this age, babies likely enjoy playing with toys that have varied textures [7]. Children are exploring so much with their hands and mouths at 5 months! 

Keep in mind babies don’t all learn and grow at the same rate. While most children will hit these milestones by 22 - 26 weeks, this might not always be the case. However, if you are concerned about your child’s growth or developmental delays when it comes to 5 month old milestones, reach out to their healthcare provider. 

  • Practice rolling skills 

  • Move and wiggle arms and legs purposefully

  • Sit up with support 

  • Reach and grab objects with both hands 

  • Bang item on a hard surface 

  • Babble sounds like “baba”, “goo,” and “gaga” 

  • Blow raspberries by 6 months 

  • Focus on colors and patterns 

  • Stare intently at toys 

  • Maintain eye contact for a longer period

  • Express emotions through different sounds 

  • Interest in social games like peek-a-boo 

  • Enjoy interacting with toys, especially with varied textures and colors  

Get down on your baby’s level! Spending time on the floor [2] playing with your baby is important to help your little one’s development and emotional security. Talking and playing can encourage your infant to do exciting things like roll and babble and you’ll likely get plenty of big smiles in the process. 

Try placing safe toys just out of reach to encourage your 5 month old to reach and grasp them for some fine motor skills practice. Be sure to move small objects that could pose a choking hazard out of your child’s play area. 

There’s so much for your little one to observe while out and about! Expose your 5 month old to new things and people by getting fresh air as much as possible. Simply looking at a tree for a few minutes can be entertaining now that your baby has more of an interest in colors and patterns at this age. 

A great way to encourage early speech development is by smiling and repeating sounds when your infant makes sounds. These early “conversations” set the groundwork for language and show your little one [8] that you’re paying attention and interested in their babbling. This can also show your 5 month old that they can use sounds to get your attention.   

Your baby is experiencing lots of new things every day and that’s great! It’s also good to balance all the excitement with some quiet time and connection [4]. Cuddling with your baby is a good way to make them feel safe and secure. Try activities like rocking, singing softly, or talking quietly. 

  • Babies at 5 months are learning and growing so fast! They are likely practicing their rolling skills, starting to sit with support, and are able to use both hands to grasp objects. 

  • Let the babbling begin! 5 month speech milestones include coos and gurgles as well as sounds like “gaga” and “baba.” By 6 months, most children are able to make single-syllable sounds like “da” and “ma.” 

  • Around 5 months babies are learning to express emotions through babbling, movements, and smiles. They might also be more engaged while playing social games like pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo. By 6 months, babies can often blow raspberries too. 

  • These are general guidelines for development at 5 months. There’s a wide spectrum of normal when it comes to baby milestones and it’s OK if your baby isn’t doing all of these things between 22 - 26 weeks. That said, consult with your child’s healthcare provider if you notice any developmental red flags or delays. 

5 month old development milestones FAQ

Q: What should a 5 month old be able to do?

A:

Most babies at 5 months are able to roll on their own, which marks the first time they’ve been able to intentionally move their whole body. They can typically also sit with proper support. At this age, infants usually start to babble and make adorable and silly sounds like blowing raspberries. Between 22 - 26 weeks, babies can usually maintain eye contact for longer periods and enjoy playing social games like peek-a-boo.

Q: What are 3 major physical milestones by 5 months of age?

A:

By 5 months, most babies are working on rolling from front to back and back to front. Babies have usually mastered this skill by 6 months. Most 5 month olds are also able to sit up with support while in your lap, propped up by pillows, or by using their hands to hold themselves up. At this age, little ones can usually reach and grab toys with two hands too.

Q: What does a 5 month old understand?

A:

Your baby can likely recognize familiar things and people at 5 months [2]! Around this age, they likely understand the difference between you and other adults, which can lead to stranger anxiety. They might even start becoming upset if you leave the room.

Q: How to help a 5 month old reach milestones?

A:

At this age, some of the best ways to help your little one reach milestones are by reading and interacting with them. When possible, get on the floor to play and look at books with your 5 month old! It’s also helpful to repeat the sounds they’re making to encourage them to keep up this language development work.

Q: What milestones should a 5 month old have for a pediatric visit?

A:

Most scheduled well-baby visits occur at 4 months and 6 months. If your baby sees a pediatrician at 5 months, the doctor will likely chart your child’s height, weight, and head circumference on their growth chart. The doctor will likely inquire about any changes that have occurred since your last visit and also ask questions about their development. You might expect to be asked if your baby is rolling, babbling, looking at themselves in the mirror, reaching for toys, putting things in their mouth, etc.

Note: The content on this site is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice from your doctor, pediatrician, or medical professional. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact a medical professional.

7 Sources

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  1. American Academy of Pediatrics (2023). Infant Food and Feeding. https://www.aap.org/en/patient-care/healthy-active-living-for-families/infant-food-and-feeding/

  2. Children’s Hospital of Orange County (2024). Baby Development at 4-6 Months. https://www.choc.org/primary-care/ages-stages/4-to-6-months/

  3. Pathways (2024). When Can Baby Roll Over? Tips to Help Baby Roll. https://pathways.org/when-can-baby-roll-over-tips-to-help-baby-roll/

  4. CDC (2024). Important Milestones: Your Baby By Six Months. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/milestones-6mo.html