One of the greatest joys of my life has been watching my child grow. Especially in the first year, I was always saying “this is my favourite stage” until I got to the next stage and would then decide, no, this stage, is my favourite stage. Babies are growing so fast in that first year and it is packed full of firsts for our little ones, it is all so exciting to watch. Although they will reach many milestones at that time, between 4-6 months is a big one. As a Mama Coach, part of my role is to assess if your child is hitting some of those important milestones. If you are concerned that your infant is not meeting milestones you should contact your primary care provider.
There is a wide range of growth that happens to your infant between 4 and 6 months. At this stage, having a newborn is in the rear-view mirror and your baby is learning all types of new skills. At 5 months old here are a few things you can expect from your baby:
At this stage, your baby’s arms and legs move more purposefully. You may start to notice that your baby prefers tummy time and should be able to lift their head when on their belly perhaps even attempting to lift themselves up. Rolling over is a common skill at this age. They may also be able to bear some weight on their legs. Your baby should be able to sit up with support with good head and neck control.
Other motor skills at this age:
- Grasping for things such as your finger or a rattle
- Actively reaches for objects
- Follows objects with their eyes
- Puts hands and other things in their mouth
At this stage, your baby is learning something referred to as “object permanence”. This means that your baby is learning that when an object disappears from sight it is not permanently gone. Your baby is also learning cause and effect. They start to understand that doing certain things can cause a reaction; dropping food from a high chair. Most babies will repeat things over and over again to get the same reaction.
Other cognitive skills at this age:
- Babbling and cooing
- Clearer vision: starts to distinguish between subtle shades of red, blue and yellow
- Recognizes people
- Smiles at people and may start to mimic facial expressions
How to promote your baby’s development
Here are some things you can do to promote development at this age:
- Play music for your baby
- Talk with your baby
- Offer simple toys to your baby: At this age, your baby enjoys colourful toys that make noise. Rattles are a great option and promote hand-eye coordination.
- Play with your baby: Peek-a-boo with your baby will help to develop object-permanence.
- Read to your baby
- Take time to cuddle with your baby
While it is important to be mindful of your baby’s milestones and development it is equally important to remember that every baby is different and some babies may hit certain milestones earlier and lag behind in others. This is normal.
When should you be concerned?
If your baby does any of the following things reach out to your primary health care provider:
- Has very stiff or tight muscles
- Has gained less than 50% of their body weight
- Seems as though their body is quite floppy
- Reaches with only one hand every time
- Hasn’t shown any improvement in head control
- Doesn’t respond to sounds, such as (by) startling to sudden loud noises
- Doesn’t reach for or bring objects to his or her mouth
- Doesn’t attempt to roll over or sit
- Has a soft spot on their head that appears to be bulging
- Has an eye or eyes that consistently turn in or out
- Doesn’t babble
- Doesn’t seem to enjoy being around people or spontaneously smile
There is so much happening in that first year and as a Mama Coach, I understand (that) it can be overwhelming and I am here to support you. If you are struggling please reach out to a Mama Coach in your area.