5 months old: Gross motor skill development

5 months old: Gross motor skill development

Your baby’s gross motor skill development at 5 months old. Follow your baby’s milestones step-by-step.

Gross motor skill development allows your baby to exercise their balance, coordination, and large muscles. These abilities will help your little one master certain movements, such as sitting, crawling, walking, running, climbing, and jumping. Developing gross motor skills is also an important step toward developing fine motor skills.

Gross motor skill development: 5 months old

At this age:

  • Your baby grabs their feet with their hands and brings them to their mouth.
Remember that not all children develop the same skills at the same speed. The material on this website is for general information purposes only. If you’re concerned about your child’s development, speak with a doctor.
  • They push up on their hands when lying on their tummy.
  • They grab at objects by lifting one arm and leaning on the other when on their stomach.
  • They can sit up with support for long periods (30 minutes).
  • When you lift your baby under the arms and hold them upright, they can support their full weight on their legs. They bend their knees and gently bounce up and down.
  • They roll over onto their back when lying on their stomach.

Over the next few weeks, your baby will begin to do the following:

  • Roll onto their stomach when lying on their back.
  • Sit up on their own with their arms outstretched or beside their knees.
  • Pull on your fingers to try to sit up when lying down.

How can you help your baby progress?

Every child is different and develops at their own pace. That said, you can help foster your baby’s development by adopting the Comfort, Play, and Teach parenting approach, which can easily be integrated into your daily routine. The table below outlines small, age-specific actions you can take that will benefit your little one’s gross motor skill development.

When you put your baby on the floor and surround them with pillows so they can sit up and safely explore (with you by their side at all times),
they learn to exercise their new motor skills in a safe environment.
When you kiss your baby on both cheeks and then kiss their neck, arms, legs, and feet,
they move these parts of their body in turn and learn to locate them.
When you play with your baby’s legs and sway their body while listening to music,
they practise changing positions with your help (e.g., from lying down to sitting to standing).
When you place your baby on their tummy in front of a mirror,
they strengthen their back, hip, and arm muscles in preparation for crawling.
When you place your baby on your lap and blow soap bubbles within reach of their arms or legs,
they have fun reaching out and trying to pop them.


Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Stéphanie Boivin and Sonya Côté, occupational therapists
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: March 2019


Photo: GettyImages/Liudmila Chernetska



Please note that hyperlinks to other websites are not updated regularly, and some may have changed since publication. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. If a link is no longer valid, use search engines to find the relevant information.

  • American Academy of Pediatrics. “Movement Milestones: Babies 4 to 7 Months.” www.healthychildren.org
  • Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development. Physical Activity in Early Childhood: Setting the Stage for Lifelong Healthy Habits. April 2011. www.child-encyclopedia.ca
  • Ferland, Francine. Le développement de l’enfant au quotidien : de 0 à 6 ans. 2nd ed., Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2018, 264 pp.
  • Canadian Paediatric Society. Caring for Kids. “Your child’s development: What to expect.” www.caringforkids.cps.ca



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