The First Six Months: Big Changes – Month Five

Around three months of age baby discovers that her hands are easily reachable objects, and, even more amazing, they are a part of herself. Baby begins pointing, swiping, an batting at close objects. Her misses usually outnumber the direct hits. There is very little directionality in the early swiping movements. From three to four months the beginning of midline play (using the hands in front of the body) is another important milestone in the development of reaching. Once hand serves as a target for the other. The development of binocular vision enables baby to begin gathering-in motions in the fourth month, and baby develops some direction to his reaching.

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Reach Out and Touch Someone — With One Hand

Around the fifth month, the two-handed embracing type of reaching progresses into an accurate one-handed reach. In baby’s first touch-grasp motions, she uses her whole hand in a mitten like grasp to trap the object between all of her fingers and the palm of her hand. Also around the fifth month, baby reaches out with one hand for objects that are nearly an arm’s length away. Watch your baby grasp the intended toy precisely in her hand, examine it, and then transfer it to the other hand or to her mouth.

Maintain Voice Contact

Baby’s developing ability to associate the voice with the person adds a new dimension to keeping in touch with your baby. Use this ability of voice recognition and localization to calm your baby. When your baby is fussing in the other room, call out, “Mama’s coming.” Baby will often quiet down and will be waving his arms and kicking his legs in anticipation when you enter the room.

Not until around a year of age can you expect baby to keep an image of you in his mind when he can’t see you. Voice contact (“Mama’s here”) will help lessen baby’s worry, but expect baby to fuss during your disappearing acts for many months.

Favorite Five-Month Activities