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Month Five

At five months old your baby is still going through a transitional phase, so don't worry if your little one hasn't exhibited the signs and behavior mentioned below yet. Different babies will follow a different development pace, so unless you think you have a cause to worry, allow your little one to develop at its own pace and expose it to plenty of mental and physical stimulation. This month enjoy the company of your adorable and babbling little one as it picks up new tricks and engages in increasingly interactive activities!

Mental Development
While your baby might be adept at letting you know when it's happy and unhappy, it's still developing its ability to demonstrate its love and sense of humor. Notice how your child becomes excited when you enter the room or cries when you leave it, which is its way of expressing its attachment to you. It might even begin showing greater appreciation for humor by laughing at some of your jokes, like funny expressions, and might even try to make you laugh too.

Your baby might begin showing signs of stranger anxiety this month, becoming clingy and anxious around new faces and maybe even around friends of the family as well. Don't be embarrassed if your child rejects visitors and begins to cry when someone offers to carry it; such behavior is normal and expected. Simply carry your child and calm it down by holding it, and inform visitors that the best way to approach your little one is by using slow and gentle movements to avoid intimidating it. With time your child will become more sociable and less wary, so be patient and supportive.

Also this month your baby might be able to recognize its name when you call it or talk to it. Keep your little one entertained by talking to it often.

As it becomes more aware of the principle of cause and effect, your child will most probably start throwing things on the ground to see you pick them up over and over again or to see how they fall and where they land. As your child begins to have a better grasp on the concept of object permanence, it will be looking for things that have fallen out of view or that are partially hidden.

Physical Development
What's that under the blanket? Your little one will be able to spot small objects and follow moving things with its eyes this month, so play little games of hide-and-seek with it to hone its new skills.

Some babies by their fifth month can push themselves up into a sitting position from their stomach. If your baby can do this, stay close to keep an eye on it and intervene if it looks like it's going to topple over to protect it from injury. You can place cushions around your little one to keep it propped and safe if it falls over.

Your baby's vision will be 20:20 now and its grip will be stronger and more accurate, so make sure you keep all potentially dangerous objects out of your 5-month-old's view and reach.

Eating Habits
Your baby should be able to hold its bottle on its own now, but that doesn't mean that you should prop the bottle and leave your baby to feed alone, as this might result in overfeeding or even choking. Furthermore, if your baby falls asleep with the bottle, the milk can pool in its mouth and coat its teeth with sugar, leading to tooth decay. Pooled milk can also leak into the tubes that connect the back of the throat with the middle part of the ear, which leads to ear infections.

This month you can probably introduce solids to your baby's diet if it shows signs of readiness for it. Discuss with your pediatrician whether your baby is ready for solids and which kind of solids you should begin to introduce if you're worried that your child might be allergic to certain food substances. In general you needn't rush in introducing solids yet, as your baby's digestive system may still not be ready for it. If you feel that your baby is having trouble swallowing and handling solids, wait another few weeks before trying again.

Sleeping Habits
By now your child will most likely be sleeping through the night, getting from 5-6 hours of sleep in one stretch. If your baby is still having trouble sleeping, talk to your pediatrician to make sure there aren't any underlying medical reasons. Sometimes babies will find it difficult to fall asleep if they are hungry, so offer your baby an extra feeding if it can't settle down at night.