The newborn in the 5th month

The term newborn refers to a child from birth to 28 days, or 4 weeks, of life. The first week of life is called the early neonatal period . To refer to the child from the 29th day to the 6th month of life it is more correct to use the word infant . The term child is more generic and is used in both situations.

In everyday language, and therefore also in the searches you do online, the term newborn is used as a synonym for infant. For this reason, on some occasions we have used the word newborn instead of infant.

The fifth month

For the newborn, the fifth month is another month of intense emotions and new discoveries. Not a day goes by that I don’t discover and learn something new!

Thanks to his increased motor skills, all the objects that the child sees become potential “prey” for his little hands. Making use of all of his senses, he thoroughly explores each object.

In addition to reacting differently in the presence of known people compared to unknown ones, the baby is now able to understand when he is in front of other small children, and to recognize himself when he is in front of his own reflection.

He is also able to coordinate the sounds he makes with his mouth with his movements.

His muscles are now strong enough for him to roll over so that he changes positions when he sleeps.

The development of the newborn at the 5th month

17th week

Whether it’s a grimace, your words, a tickle on the tummy, the newborn becomes more and more responsive to your stimuli.

He may enjoy entertaining everyone present, including himself, with grimaces and mouth sounds.

18th week

His vision becomes increasingly clear and able to focus on even the most distant objects and people.

His way of playing becomes increasingly attentive and more autonomous. You may also see him silent, playing concentrated and undisturbed.

In these moments you may have the sensation that the baby is “detaching from you”, that he is beginning to develop his own perception of the “little world” that surrounds him.

19th week

Although he is not yet able to speak, it is likely that around the 19th week, the baby begins to pronounce combinations of sounds that already sound like words.

But it is still too early for these sounds to have meaning for him. Don’t rush, that time will come too!

In the meantime, keep reading fairy tales to him, talking to him, and calling the objects you touch by their name: he will soon be the one to do it!

20th Week

With the improvement of his ability to move, to interact with the world, and to understand how others relate to him, the newborn in this period will begin to show the first traits of his character, and to express his emotions in a more complex way, depending on the person in front of him.

His weight in the 5th month

Your pediatrician will clarify what his weight gain “goal” is.

Typically, the newborn should double its weight during the four weeks of the fifth month.

The weaning process

In the fifth month, the baby still needs to be fed with mother’s milk or formula milk.

In this regard it must be said that there is no precise period, valid for everyone, to start weaning.

The World Health Organization suggests the   6th month  as the beginning of weaning, given that at that age, mother’s milk alone is not sufficient to satisfy its nutritional needs.

However, it is advisable to wait at least until the fourth month, especially in the case of bottle-feeding  .

In any case, beyond the nutritional aspect, “ breastfeeding is the way to give the child nourishment and security, it represents a significant emotional reference for the acquisition of autonomy. If the mother wishes, breastfeeding can therefore continue from the second semester of life up to the second year and even beyond, as recommended by the World Health Organization.
The child who is breastfed beyond the second year of life should not be seen as a spoiled child and the mother need not be afraid of limiting her maturation and her autonomy.
Regardless of nutritional needs, weaning represents a delicate and important moment for the acquisition of behaviors and attitudes of the baby in the face of olfactory and gustatory experiences, acceptance of the teaspoon.” (source: Ministry of Health)

As we have said, there is no fixed rule valid for everyone, as it is a natural process, during which the baby’s interest in food should lead him to “look for something else”.

The first foods with which to wean the newborn are,

  • cereals, first gluten-free, and then with gluten;
  • vegetables in the form of vegetable broth and purée;
  • meat with freeze-dried lamb, veal, beef, turkey or rabbit.

Even here, however, there are no strict rules.

In any case, the pediatrician, on the basis of his experience and knowledge, must guide the parents on a case-by-case basis in the delicate phase of weaning.

If the child is still clearly uninterested in food, just wait a couple more weeks without worrying too much.

Infant play and learning

In the first year of life, play is the baby’s main means of learning.

One of the most important tasks of parents is to support him, to motivate him and “equip him” to make him do his job “better”.

It is not an invitation to the wildest consumerism, but rather an invitation to create a stimulating environment around the child, so as not to leave him without stimuli.

Objects and situations that are trivial to us, such as the fact that a round object rolls better than a square one, are things that the child must discover through play.

And each of his discoveries will be followed by a sense of satisfaction and joy that will repay the parents for all the efforts they have made to bring him to that point.

Sometimes I hear some mothers say their baby “gives him a lot”. In moments of discomfort, others complain that the baby leaves them without energy.

In this regard, I like to think of a parent-baby “exchange”, I like to think of it as an equal exchange in which you get as much as you give: learning is a prime example of this.

For the child, every new discovery and every step forward in his conquest of the world is a new piece that adds to his self-esteem, and is part of the foundation on which he will form his personality.

Never underestimate the child’s game.

Parental expectations

Parental expectations deserve a separate note.

If you have too high expectations for your baby, hold them back because you won’t help him. On the contrary.

Don’t rush, don’t try to make him play games that are too complex, and don’t have excessive expectations.

The risk is that the child may then feel frustrated, unmotivated and unfulfilled.

Only toys that are suitable for his age and learning level will be able to make his play/work exciting and fulfilling.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform,

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