Baby milestones: 5-month-old milestones

  • Ergobaby
  • May 20, 2024
baby 5 months old milestones

Your baby is in their fifth month of life and step by step their development is progressing. The two halves of their brain are becoming more and more connected, so that by the end of the fifth month they will probably be able to grasp in a targeted manner. And beyond the centre of their body. This is HUGE deal, because this skill requires lots of coordination and is a big step on your baby’s developmental journey. It’s the prerequisite for your little miracle to turn later on.

And that brings us right back to the fifth part of our blog series “Baby’s developmental milestones“. In it, our lovely midwife and baby expert Katrin Ritter tells you what your baby will surprise you with month after month, how you can support them in individual movement sequences, and how you can promote their development. At the end of this journey, walking awaits! How exciting! But until then, there is still a lot going on in the body and brain of the little tots. Now, after five months, it’s time to reach across the centre.

Baby development: 5-month-old milestones:

Reaching out and over the centre of their body

By the end of the fifth month (around 50% of all children can do this at this point), your little one will probably be able to grasp a toy from a supine position (laying on their back) in the centre of their body with both hands. And not only that, unlike the previous month, they can even consciously decide which hand to use to grasp it. Toys now move – still unconsciously – from one hand to the other.

The supine position becomes unstable again

We know, we know, last month we celebrated that the supine position (lying on their back) is finally nice and stable, and your child can grab their toys from it. But… this supine position is now becoming unstable again because your little one can suddenly stretch their arms and legs into the air at the same time. They do this, for example, when they plays with both hands in front of their face. They bring the soles of their feet towards each other and also “grasp” with them (foot-foot coordination). This trains the abdominal muscles for crawling later on. However, their body is now of course less supported and they fall onto their side.

First attempts at turning onto the tummy

It is precisely this “falling” onto the side that heralds the turning from the back onto the tummy. This turning movement is not yet coordinated – it happens more by chance. But, your little one is getting to know the sequence of movements, even if unconsciously.

Immature hand support in prone position

Your offspring is curious. And this curiosity continues to grow. That’s why he or she leans heavily on their hands with outstretched arms in the prone position (lying on their front) in order to stretch as high as possible. However, this hand support is still called “immature” because the fingers – except for the thumb – are still curled up.

Reaching for interesting objects

If your baby is in a prone position, they will lean on their elbows to grab an interesting toy or object. They will now lift their arm from the surface. If they now pick up the object, they will slowly but surely use their thumb, index finger and middle finger and no longer their little finger and ring finger as they did a short while ago. Radial grasping begins.

Strangers vs. familiar faces

Oh hello, I know you! If your baby looks in the mirror now, they will no longer be frightened, but will probably even smile at the baby in the mirror. This is because they can now distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar faces. They also clearly indicate when they want to be picked up (spreading their arms).

5-month-old milestones

How you can support your baby’s development at 5 months

The description of what your baby can now do and what is coming up next in baby development at 5 months already makes it clear how you can support your little one. Take advantage of their curiosity and offer them toys from their centre. But not just that. Anything that can be grasped is interesting. A whisk in which you place a small ball, or a bottle or tin filled with rice or something similar will be examined with curiosity.

If your baby is in a prone position, you can of course also place objects in front of them so that they have to reach out for them. It will be easier for them if you raise the prone position slightly by either placing them with their chest on a rolled-up towel or letting them look over the edge of an air mattress. This allows them to gently practise supporting and grasping. The air mattress also promotes balance development.

You can also continue to practise turning from back to tummy as described in the last milestone blog. However, it is best to divide it into individual sequences (from back to side and back again; from side to tummy and back again) so that your little one can follow every movement.

5-month-old milestones – don’t miss a thing in baby development

Hooray, another step towards autonomy has been taken. Another small one, but a valuable one. Or does that make you more sad than happy? We could understand that too. Time is a thief! With our Baby Steps newsletter – in addition to our monthly baby milestones blog – you have the chance to stay up to date on all things Ergobaby. And if you’re looking for information on a specific month, then enter “baby milestones” in our blog search and you’ll find what you’re looking for. Until then, we hope you continue to enjoy watching, listening and, of course, marvelling at your little one and their 5-month-old milestones.


Source: Babys in Bewegung, Kienzle-Müller, Wilke-Kaltenbach, 4. Auflage, Urban & Fischer

Headline photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash