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Your five-month-old

More noises please

Posted: 6 January 2005
by ThinkBaby

Your baby
By now you will probably have reached the landmark of your baby reacting to her own name and she may turn her head to you when you call her. This is partly because she can now recognise her own name and partly because she’s getting a lot better at tracking sound, and will turn towards the source of a sound in order to see what’s happening.

Now that your baby can hold up her head and her spine is strengthening she’ll probably enjoy sitting up for a while. She’ll only be able to sit up on her own briefly and will probably prop herself up with her hands out in front of her but you can let her play sitting up by propping her up with cushions on the floor and putting toys within reach. It’s best not to leave her sitting up too long though, as her spine still needs plenty of support and she’ll get that best from lying down. Lying her down on her front and placing toys near her will also encourage her to lift her head, shoulders and chest up, developing the strength of the muscles she’ll need to sit up completely unassisted.

Your baby’s getting better at displaying a wider range of emotions now and she might by now also be using particular sounds when she’s hungry, tired or wants to play: listen out for repeat noises so you can begin to decipher them. She’ll probably be showing a marked preference for mum and dad over other people and might have started lifting up her arms in a ‘pick me up’ plea.

Over the last couple of weeks you may have heard your baby’s first laughs. It’s a gorgeous sound that you can prompt by games of tickles (replete with your favoured tickle lickle sound effects) or just by laughing with her yourself and seeing whether she copies you. The other favoured noise of the moment will probably be blowing raspberries and making ‘brrrr’ sounds as she discovers what she can do with her tongue and lips. Don’t worry if she seems stuck on a particular sound or game at the moment, as babies like to really fine-tune one skill before moving on to the next. It might not seem like blowing raspberries and bubbles is much of a skill, but these are important precursors to language that she is practising.

By now she may be showing interest in your family’s food and might even try to pick up and eat a morsel. This doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s ready for solids, although it’s a sign that she’s getting close. Before she's ready to make the move on to solids several things need to happen: Her body needs to be producing the right enzymes to digest food other than breast or formula milk, the tongue-thrust reflex (that prevents her choking on solid food before she’s ready for it) needs to taper off and she needs to be able to hold her head up very well. If she does try to eat something solid she might push it out with her tongue if she’s not quite ready, but it won’t do her any harm to experiment with soft food if she wants to. There’s really no need to rush this stage as she’s still getting all the nutrition she needs from your breast milk or formula and, in any case, you might prefer to make the most of the parent-baby intimacy that milk feeding can still offer while you can.

What you can do
When your baby is lying on her tummy you can place toys where she has to stretch to reach them. If she keeps on trying to reach for a toy with no success then, rather than letting her become frustrated, make the target a little easier so she can reach her goals. Give her objects of different weights, sizes, colours and textures to play with to help her learn at the same time as developing her strength and dexterity, but steer clear of anything too heavy or too hard for now as she’ll probably hit herself in the face with most toys she holds.

Try talking back to your baby when she talks to you, imitating the sounds she’s making, so she feels you’re having an important conversation. This success will encourage her and the copying game will help her language develop.

NB: All babies develop at their own pace and some will reach developmental landmarks more quickly than others. This timeline is meant only as an approximate guide for parents. Premature babies will develop more slowly than full-term babies and can be expected to develop in line with their age calculated from their due date. If you are worried about your child’s health or progress consult your doctor.

Caring for baby

Swimming with baby - I started taking my son swimming at 5 weeks, (before his first set of jabs) and was met with immensley conflicting reactions from other mums! From the over-enthused to the ones who were worriedly telling Health Visitors about my exploits and edging away from me in case i tried to drown their precious darling!! Says MummyGoth on the forum. How early would you start your little one off in the pool? Join in the debate!

You can ask your own questions or share advice and experiences in the newborn and baby folders.

Starting with solids - If your baby is showing signs of interest in real food then it might be time to start thinking about weaning, our introduction to weaning is a good place to start.


Back in shape - You're probably getting quite fed up of carrying around all those extra pounds by now, but don't rush to get back in shape, take it easy on yourself - the key to getting back in shape is being realistic and setting achievable goals.

Thinking of being a full-time parent? - Since your baby has arrived and you're experiencing full-time parenting, one or other of you may be reviewing your work commitments and considering taking the plunge as a full-time parent. Here are some of the things you need to consider when making your decision.

Birth stories - The contractions were fast and furious from the start – every five minutes. I spent about three hours getting in and out of the bath, trying to control the pain, followed by frantic pacing up and down the hallway, with my TENS machine strapped to my bod. Tells Lucy in the story of her second birth, trying for a VBAC.

If you still haven't added your birth story to the site you can do so at any time in the blogs section.

And why not add some pics to the gallery too. It's an easy way of sharing pictures with friends and family, not to mention the other TB members.

Just for Dads - So everything went okay, and now you have a beautiful new baby. Your life has changed, almost certainly for the better, but it might not seem that way at first. Here's what you should know about your life as a new dad.

Other months of age

Newborn | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

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