The communication of a 5 month old baby

You beautiful communicative little baby is now 5 months old and her ability to communicate is getting better by the day.

Let's have a closer look into the amazing abilities of a 5 month old baby...




Anticipates familiar events

For the first time, your baby can now anticipate when some things are about to happen, e.g. gets excited when hearing food being prepared, or when she hears a key turn in the door.


Enjoys music and being sung to

Talking to your baby or sticking on some music can now have the effect of stopping your baby fidgeting or crying. Not only does she enjoy listening to music and being sung to, but she is becoming more fascinated by the sounds. Interestingly, a five month old baby already shows some sensitivity to the musical patterns of rate, tune and stress, all of which are important things to recognise in aspects of language structure later on! 


Improved listening skills

Her listening skills are improving. She still needs to turn her whole head as opposed to moving only her eyes towards sounds, but she is now better able to locate where the sounds are coming from. Whereas before she was only able to find sounds at the same level as her ears, she is now able to find sounds that are below her. Any voice in the room has a better chance of catching her attention now, not just familiar voices.


Understands familiar 'chunks' of language

As well as hearing some familiar sounds in the environment and understanding that this means that something is going to happen, your baby can now also associate some ‘chunks’ of familiar language with what is going to happen, e.g. she will raise her arms when she hears a tuneful “Up you come”. 


Recognises own name

How about associating a single word to have meaning, such as recognising her own name? Well, this can now also be seen at about 5 months old. When she hears her name, she will look around for who said it. She may also soon understand what “no” means...but may not always act accordingly! It’s worth pointing out the fact that although a baby begins to understand these single familiar words and ‘chunks’ of repetitive language at this age, it is still a long way off before she is able to say them.


Improved eyesight and visual perception

Your baby’s eyesight has now fully developed. If you or someone else is speaking, she’ll spot it. This again helps to improve those all important skills of sharing a focus of attention. 

As well as understanding some things she hears, she also is beginning to understand the things she sees. Your baby will now be able to recognise her brothers and sisters and likes watching them play. She will also enjoy watching what you are doing, which builds her understanding of ‘how the world works’.


Making sounds at the back of the mouth

Your baby is now exploring and playing with more sounds, and is content to do this on her own or around others. She now realises that some sounds can be made using the back of her tongue (as opposed to only one’s towards the front), and will play with new sounds such as k and g.


Signals unhappiness with a special sound

You will know the sounds that your baby makes to indicate when they are happy, but you may now notice a unique sound your baby makes to indicate that they are unhappy. This sound is different for each baby, and so only familiar people may know what sound this is.


Better able to gain your attention

Your baby has figured out a more effective way to get your attention if it wanders. She will vocalise louder.

Although it is easier to understand what your baby is feeling and what she wants, due to her widely increasing sounds, body movements and facial expressions, these forms of communicating with you are still not yet intentional. However, the more you are able to recognise that this sound, movement or action may mean x, y or z, and then respond as if it was true, the more your baby will start associating certain behaviours to have meaning, and will later be used intentionally.


General Development

At this age, your baby can now sit upright with only minimal support, whilst also being able to turn her head to look around. She will now also show-off her ever increasing strength by surprising you by lifting her head up when she is lying on her back. 

For some babies, they may even start to roll from side to side when lying down. They may be quite excited about this newly discovered skill, as it has given them their very first experience of being able to move around. Plus they now also have a little bit more control of which direction they face, no matter how briefly. Rolling allows for many more things in the room to be seen, and also from different perspectives.

Your baby will still love to reach out and grab things, but she may over-reach at times. Remember, babies learn about new objects by putting them in their mouths!

It wasn’t long ago that your baby discovered her hands and enjoyed playing with her fingers...well, now she’s found her toes!


It is very important to note that every child is different and their development progresses at slightly different rates. It is often the case that when progress is seen in one area, this can result in a temporary delay in another. The developmental stages described above are averages only and need not be a cause for concern if your child does not meet each average milestone exactly on time. There is quite a bit of flexibility to be found, however, there are some factors to consider that would require you to seek further advice and support.


Is your baby already 6 months old? Half way through their first year already! Find out what your baby may be doing at this unforgettable milestone here


Your Speech Therapist,


Want to be the first to hear about new BLOG posts?

Sign up for my weekly newsletters here

Can you relate to this post?

Lucy Colcombe Speech Therapy offers a wide selection of services and products to meet your individual needs.

Go on...take a may find what you've been looking for.


What do you want my next blog post to be about?


3 ways to become a skillful communicator?

Just enter your name and email and 3 of my top communications tips will be yours...FOR FREE!