By now, you may have noticed that your 4 month baby’s developmental progress is starting to speed up. This includes speech development, improvement of the senses, and even the first signs of teeth! And along with this new progress also comes more excitement and fun with your little one, so enjoy every moment!
Keep in mind, every baby develops at a different rate and in different ways. That means if you don’t see certain developments during this month, there is no reason to panic. Your baby is growing to the beat of her own drum. Have faith in yourself as a parent, your baby, and your doctor. You’re all a team.
This article is a continuation of the Baby’s first year series.
Previous article: 3 month old baby development
The Pediatrician 4 month visit
Now that you’ve been to the Pediatrician’s office a couple times, this checkup shouldn’t seem as daunting. You will, again, have the chance to ask any questions you’ve accumulated over the last two months since your last visit, so make sure to have them at the ready. The doctor will likely ask you a few questions about your baby’s development before the examination begins. They may want to know things such as:
- Does your baby have at least 6-8 wet diapers per day?
- Is your baby having regular bowel movements?
- What sounds is your baby making?
- How are your baby’s sleeping habits?
- What, when, how, and for how long does your baby eat?
- Can your baby roll over to one side or sit while being supported?
- Can your baby do a mini-push up?
Some of these questions may sound familiar to you, but many of them are new. Whether new or old, be sure to answer honestly, so your doctor can be made aware of any issues you may not realize and even offer suggestions or solutions.
Your 4 month baby will be weighed and measured to chart and observe her growth patterns. Then comes the complete physical. Here, the doctor will be able to identify if your baby shows signs of any infections, irregularities, or other developmental problems. Don’t worry, they will also let you know if everything looks good and clear.
Now comes the hard part for many parents–the shots. Month 4 vaccines are combined into two shots and include the following:
- Pneumococcal vaccines
The rotavirus vaccine will be given orally.
As a side note, make sure to do your research and identify for yourself whether vaccination is right for you and your baby. You have the right to refuse, if you so choose.
4 month baby diet
Your baby’s stomach is now getting bigger. This means they can hold more liquid during each feed, keeping them fuller for longer periods of time. Now, you’re looking at 4-5 feeds per day, but even though there are less feedings during the day, your baby should still be gaining weight.
Why is 4 month old baby feeding less great news for mom and dad? Because it may even mean less interruptions throughout the night! Your baby is now more easily distracted at 4 months old, which means it may take longer to feed her. If this happens, try feeding her in a quiet, familiar room.
While she’s still not quite ready for solids, your baby is still getting all the nutrients she needs from breast-milk or formula. If she seems to be hungry after her normal feedings, try feeding her once more throughout the day.
Some babies show no signs of teething until one day you wake up and see those pearly whites peeking through! A 4 month old baby teething may show any or all of the following signs:
- Night waking
- Crabbiness or crying
- Rash around the mouth
- Coughing or gag reflex
- Decrease in appetite
- Bottom rash
- Slight fever (Although this has never been scientifically proven, it’s a common observation of parents.)
The first teeth to make an appearance are commonly the bottom front two, followed by the top front two. To ease her pain, try giving her things to chew on, cold food, cold water, or oral pain relief (that is cleared by her doctor). Try to avoid numbing agents like rubbing alcohol or whisky (yes, I said it). Also stay away from amber necklaces. They pose too much of a choking hazard for no actual evidence to support their effectiveness.
Lastly, remember that extra snuggles are always allowed.
All that practice keeping her head up is finally paying off! At this point you may start to see her trying to roll over. Usually, babies favor one side over another at first, but once she masters one side, she will learn the other side, too. If she seems less than interested to start rolling, try placing her favorite toy close by. She may just roll over to get it. With your encouragement, this new activities for 4 month old baby will seem more exciting and fun than scary.
Make sure to keep doing tummy time, as well. She will continue to develop the muscles needed in her arms, neck, and back to begin crawling, standing, and walking later on. Crying is normal at first. It’s a scary new thing she’s doing, after all. With time, your baby will get used to it and become a pro at lifting her head.
While you won’t yet hear any words, you will start to begin hearing consonants like “m” and “d”. Yes, that means the beginnings of “mama” and “dada”. Talk to her often so she has someone to learn from. When she talks to you, imitate her noises and facial expressions back to her. This will make your 4 month baby start to understand the cause and effect of language.
Who knows? They may even try to repeat a word back to you!
Let’s talk eye sight. As you know, your newborn baby couldn’t see very clearly at all and anything beyond a couple feet was out of sight to her completely. That’s no longer the case! Now, your baby can see across the room, even though close-up objects are still her preferred option, so don’t take it personal if she’d rather stare at the toy in her hands over your silly new dance moves! If you notice her squinting, make sure to take note and clue your doctor in so they can rule out any vision development issues or get her any help she may need.
Even though babies are born being able to see color, your baby will start to become better at determining different shades of color at 4 months old, like orange and red. Because of this, you may notice her taking more of an interest in colorful toys, so make certain you give her plenty of new, bright, colorful things to explore.
Speaking of new toys for 4 month baby, you can bet that your little one will jump at the opportunity to play with all things crinkly or furry. Keep a lookout, though, because everything will go straight into her mouth. Your baby will often drop things, sometimes onto her own head, at this stage. That’s normal, and will probably last until after her 12 month mark. Just keep the kisses handy.
Your baby is going through a lot of changes, some painful, which means more crying. Patience and extra love from her mom and dad are going to be what she needs most.
You may get overwhelmed at times because of her increased crabbiness and crying. This is normal. If this happens, leave your baby with a trusted adult or in a safe place, like her crib, and take a breather. There is nothing wrong and everything right with clearing your mind, as long as baby is safe and well-cared for, and coming back to the situation with a calm, cool head.