It’s wonderful that you’ve made it to the 4-month mark with your baby. By now, you probably see that your child is growing and strengthening significantly. Between the ages of 4 and 6 months, babies typically reach a number of major developmental milestones. Baby’s development will change dramatically during the next three months, so be prepared. It’s possible for some babies to have typical development and for others to have delayed development. Premature infants often struggle to reach their baby milestones.
Important Development Milestones For 4-Month-Old Babies
Your baby’s fourth month of life is a pivotal one for growth and development. This month, you will likely notice significant growth in your child’s ability to interact socially and emotionally.
Keep an eye out for these baby milestones, and remember that every baby develops at their own pace.
- Your child is learning to control their head and neck better. When you hold him, he can keep his head steady without any assistance1
- They can now lift their heads nearly 90 degrees without assistance2. This is a significant achievement and an important step toward crawling
- Around the four-month mark, significant brain development occurs, and you’ll notice an uptick in your baby’s ability to recognize important people, express happiness and sadness, and express his or her emotions and desires3
- Your infant’s preference for bright colors and black-and-white objects was likely due to the fact that, for the first three months of life, babies have a lot of trouble distinguishing between color contrasts. At four months, the baby’s vision has improved to around 20/604
- Your little one’s capacity for remembering and focusing grows5. Babies may be able to maintain focus on an object for a longer period of time than they were able to a month ago, due to improved attention span
- By the time your baby is 4 months old, you’ll notice that he or she is beginning to engage in social interaction and respond positively to familiar faces with a smile
- Your infant can now identify some of the people around them and is developing a keener interest in the world
- Her or his cries will change as she or he learns to express needs such as hunger, frustration, discomfort, and fatigue
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Development Milestones For 4 Months Baby
A four-month-old baby typically reaches many of the following developmental milestones:
- Some infants will begin the process of rolling over from their stomachs to their backs, and vice versa. This is a major achievement that bodes well for their future independence
- The ability to keep their heads up, which they master this month, lays the groundwork for later physical milestones like sitting up and walking
- Your infant’s eyesight is developing to the point where they can track moving objects more efficiently
- Your baby is learning to recognize and respond to emotions like happiness and sadness. An emotional intelligence development milestone, indeed
- This month, your child’s motor skills will be at an all-time high. They have excellent hand-eye coordination this month. They might be able to recognize something they want and then reach out for it in a single, coordinated motion
- With all of this improved hand-eye coordination, your baby will probably reach out and grab anything that looks interesting, like your hair, earrings, necklace, or coffee cup. So be cautious!
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Feeding Milestones For A 4-Month-Old
There could be a significant change in your baby’s eating habits this month. Your baby now has more room in his or her stomach due to an increase in size. Doctors typically recommend waiting until a baby is 6 months old before introducing solid foods, but some parents choose to start as early as 4 months. However, never give more than 1 tablespoon of solid food twice a day at this stage.
- It’s normal for your baby to go longer between feedings and for him or her to consume a little more food per meal now that the rapid growth of the newborn months has slowed
- As the baby at this age needs to be fed less frequently, they can potentially go 4 to 5 hours between feedings, regardless of whether they are being breastfed or given a bottle
- Babies who are breastfed should consume 24 to 32 ounces of breast milk daily, divided into about five to six feedings. (4 to 6 ounces per feed)6
- Ideally, a formula-fed infant would consume 24 to 32 ounces of formula per day, split up into 5 to 6 feedings of 6 to 7 ounces each7
- When your infant gets hungry, she will put her hands to her mouth to let you know8
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In terms of reaching significant sleep-related milestones, this month brings both good and bad news.
- The good news is that by the time they are 4 months old, most babies are sleeping for longer periods of time, and some may even be sleeping through the night
- The unfavorable news is that 4 months is also the age at which a potential sleep regression can occur9. This is encouraging news for parents because it indicates their child is growing and developing normally
- By the time he or she is 4 months old, the baby requires two or three daily naps
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Babies this age are fascinated by imitating the sounds and actions they observe around them, and they enjoy cooing, babbling, and playing. Babies often learn to communicate by mimicking their parents’ voices and expressions. Listen carefully, and you can make out the subtle changes in pitch that indicate she is making statements and questions rather than just babbling10.
- Responds to your voice with noises of his own
- They have a pattern of repeatedly using the same sounds
- This is the age when many infants begin to coo and babble as they explore their vocal capabilities
- Your infant will use their tongue, palate, and vocal cords to make all kinds of amusing sounds as they play with vocalization
By the time they are 4 months old, most babies have doubled their birth weights. Both the length and rate of growth of their bones will increase12.
By this time the baby would13
- When on their bellies, they start doing pushups using their elbows and forearms
- When you put a toy in their hands, they hold it
- They swing toys with their arms
- Keep their head up without help while being held
- With ease, they put their hands to their mouths
Related Reading: 11 Signs Of An Underfed Baby | Your Baby Is Hungry
How To Keep A 4 Month Old Baby Busy
No wonder mothers wonder, “What to do with a 4-month-old baby all day” as they are awake for longer periods now. Now that your baby is no longer in the newborn stage, there are many things to do with a 4-month-old inside and outside. Here are some 4-month-old baby activities to keep them entertained throughout the day.
- Allow time for exploration: One of the most beneficial activities for babies who are 4 months old is discovering the world of different textures. Providing your four-month-old child with a play mat and a variety of textured toys to play with on the mat is an excellent way to introduce him to the world of textures. Toys designed for this age group often feature a variety of textures to stimulate sensory development
- Rolling balls: Observing a ball roll across the floor is a great way to introduce your baby to the concept of cause and effect. Just a few softballs in different colors and textures will do the job. Test your baby’s grasping skills by rolling the balls in their direction. For floor play or tummy time, a ball is a fantastic choice. For instance, he’ll understand that when he throws something, it goes a long way. It aids in sensory development as well as comprehending cause and effect
- Play with bubbles: Playing with bubbles is amazing and a lot of fun for a four-month-old baby. This is one of those things to do with a 4-month-old outside. Just blow them close to the baby so they can reach out and touch them
- Some physical activities: Pulling your baby up to a sitting position is a great way to strengthen their trunk and abdominal muscles.Gently lift your infant from the floor by holding his or her hands as you place him on his back. For a four-month-old with improved neck control, this is a great activity.
- Tummy time with a twist: Four-month-olds love tummy time. It strengthens their neck, shoulders, and back. However, if you have a 4-month-old, you can modify the procedure slightly. Tummy time is a great opportunity to introduce new activities, such as colorful visual cards or crinkly play mats. You could also provide a mirror for him to take a look at himself in. Observing their own expressions in a mirror is fascinating for infants. Most babies love looking in the mirror, even though they don’t realize it’s them
Related Reading: 12 Fun And Learning (Activities For Babies 0-6 Months)
When To See A Doctor
You are the expert on your baby. If you are worried that your child’s development is behind schedule, it is essential that you discuss this with your child’s pediatrician. Look out for the following red flags14:
- Baby not making effort to babble or make any kind of sound
- Four months old not bringing the hand to mouth
- Crossed eyes and other vision issues should be brought up with your child’s pediatrician
- Doesn’t push down with her legs when her feet are placed on a firm surface for four months
- Has gained only less than fifty percent of the weight they were at birth
- Doesn’t recognize familiar faces, appears unconcerned with their surroundings, or acts startled when confronted with unfamiliar ones
- Still has poor neck control
- If they rarely kick or have bent legs
- If the baby doesn’t turn when you talk to them or if a loud noise doesn’t startle them, that’s a red flag
Even though babies tend to follow fairly predictable patterns of development, every single one of them is completely unique. It is important to be aware of developmental milestones and to communicate any concerns about possible delays in your baby’s growth and development to the healthcare provider who is caring for your child.