5 Months

Making it all worthwhile

One thing I noticed early on in parenting, is unlike a work life, you don’t get a job performance appraisal.  No one is singing your praises–unless you have a significant other that isn’t as tired as you are and thinks to do so!  No one is telling you how much what you do makes coming to work so worthwhile.  At least not in the same fashion as a “good job” from your boss and a raise in your paycheck.  Sometimes we need to give ourselves a pat on the back for completing a day with kids.  When we can check the boxes of our “parenting” job performance appraisal and say that our little person was warm, dry, well-fed, happy, safe and loved.  That is a remarkable day!  No one offered us combat pay for the extra degree of difficulty that it might have taken to make that possible, but there may have been a smile, a laugh—a burp—and that said it in a better language, than a bigger paycheck or an “atta mom” might have.

Your baby picture this month for your five month old will include your baby watching things drop.  You give it to them and they drop it! It is especially fun now that they can sit-up supported and let it fall from the height of a high chair.  Who says if you play this game, you aren’t getting your 10,000 steps in every day?

Your baby continues to breastfeed about 6-8 times per 24 hours, but their stretches of sleep may be longer and those 6 or 8 feedings may get sandwiched closer together.  Other baby’s may breastfeed every 3-4 hours, but their longest feedings are first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

Distraction can still be an ongoing issue with breastfeeding.  Know that it is a normal developmental stage and baby will not voluntarily starve, even if you aren’t sure how much actual eating they’ve done, because of the stop/start method they are employing in order to check out the sound around them.

Biting may also be an issue, if your baby is working on teeth.  Just know they cannot bite you if they are actively eating because their tongue has to extend beyond their lips in order to breastfeed.  The chance for them to bite you comes when they pause or are falling asleep at the end of feeding.  This is a time you will want to break the suction with your little finger inserted into the corner of their mouth and take the breast out as soon as they stop actively breastfeeding. Your baby getting teeth is not a reason to wean them.  If you want to learn more about weaning, check the link.

Between 5-6 months is the next period of rapid growth.  During this growth spurt if you see a big upswing in appetite and it doesn’t just last the usual 24-48 hours like a normal growth spurt, this is one of your best indicators that something besides breastmilk can be added to your baby’s diet.

Introducing solid foods is best when you see the following developmental changes in your baby:

  • their ability to sit up supported on your lap or in a high chair;
  • their interest in what you are eating and/or drinking; smacking their lips or chewing behaviors—like they are practicing;
  • if you try spooning food into their mouth they don’t automatically push it back out, which means their tongue thrust reflex is still strong (it will fade with time);
  • the best indicator—increased hunger that goes beyond the usual 1-2 day growth spurt.

Once you are seeing these behaviors from your baby and you are ready to begin solid foods you may have questions about how to introduce solid foods.  Be sure to get the ok from your healthcare provider about starting solid foods, especially if your family has a history of allergies and/or asthma.

A few more stories, bedtime or otherwise:   I Prefer Eating on a Lap  and  Getting Bit   Other stories can be found at Real Life Breastfeeding Stories.

Written by Sherri L. Gartner, RD, IBCLC, Copyright 2015

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