In the first year of life, your baby’s brain develops much faster than his or her body. Every day, your child is learning new things, making connections, and figuring out how the world works. Your baby is constantly looking around, trying to reach nearby objects, and dropping bowls of oatmeal just to see what will happen. Some children may even be able to recognize their own names in conversation, listen to you when you say no, and realize that the baby in the mirror is only a reflection.

During these wonderful months, you should do everything you can to aid your baby’s cognitive development by reading to your child, playing games, and talking.

Don’t worry too much if your baby fails to meet a few of the milestones listed. Cognitive development is a notoriously unpredictable process, and most kids will “catch up” sooner rather than later.

By 5-7 months, most babies will:

  • Imitate your facial expressions, and even your speech patterns
  • Babble their way through “conversations” with parents, siblings, and caregivers
  • Start experimenting with vowel sounds (“oh!” “ah!” etc.), as well as consonants like “b” and “m”
  • Develop memories of recent events
  • Be attracted to bright colors and patterns
  • Closely study peoples’ faces, as well as their own fingers and toes
  • Display curiosity about things that are out of reach — and try to reach them
  • Become better at tracking moving objects

By 5-7 months, some babies may:

  • Follow a rolled ball across the floor
  • Look at their reflections in a mirror
  • Try to find a toy hidden under a blanket or other object
  • Understand what you mean by “no”
  • Have a firm grasp of cause and effect (i.e., pressing this button causes this sound)

By 5-7 months, some babies can:

  • Recognize their own names in conversation
  • Change the inflection of their speech to imitate questions or declarations

More in milestones:

Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, December 2018


  • By the time they’re six months old, most babies will begin “babbling.”
  • Some babies this age can recognize themselves in mirrors, or pick out their names in conversations.
  • Babies this age are attracted to bright colors and patterns, as well as new toys.


  1. Mayo Clinic. Infant Development: Milestones from 4 to 6 Months.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Important Milestones: Your Baby at 6 Months.
  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. Developmental Milestones: 7 Months.


  1. My 5-month-old just discovered her toes this week. It’s been hysterical to see her try to figure out what they are and why she can’t remove them from her legs to put them in her mouth. Love it!


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