The relationship between parents and your 4-month-old baby is pleasurable and rewarding. Your baby’s ability to smile, coo, and laugh encourages you to talk and play with him or her. Clear and predictable cues from your infant are met with appropriate and predictable responses from you, promoting mutual trust. During this period, your baby masters early motor, language, and social skills by interacting with those who care for him or her. Let’s look at some of the Four Month Old Milestones.
Responding to the sights and sounds around your baby, your 4-month-old raises his or her body from a prone position with his or her hands and holds his or her head steady. Your baby may be so interested in his or her world that he or she sometimes refuses to settle down to eat. He or she stops feeding from the breast or bottle after just a minute or two to check out what else is happening in the room. Parents may need to feed your baby in a quiet, darkened room for the next few weeks.
Over the next 2 months, your baby will be ready to start eating solid foods. If he or she sits well when supported, holds his or her head up, and seems to be hungry, it is time to introduce one new solid food every week or so. The tongue thrust reflex and production of saliva may cause a lot of drooling at this age. Early teethers can be irritable, although most babies do not get their first teeth until after 6 months, and some babies may not do so until after 1 year.
As key social and motor abilities become apparent at 4 months, your infant who appears to have a delay in achieving these skills may need a formal developmental assessment. An infant who lacks a social smile may suffer from emotional or sensory deprivation. Are you interested in and appropriately interactive with your baby? If developmental delays are found, health professionals should explore their origin and make referrals for early intervention.
Most employed mothers will have returned to work by the time your infant is 4 months of age, and it is important that child care arrangements work for both infant and family. An irritable child who cries frequently or does not sleep through the night may clash temperamentally with a family that values regularity and tranquility. Family problems such as inadequate finances, few social supports, or low parental self-esteem may impair the parents’ ability to nurture. It is important that parents seek help when feeling sad, discouraged, depressed, overwhelmed, or inadequate. Parents who have the support they need can be warmly rewarded by their interactions with their 4-monthold infant.
Developmental Milestones for 4 Month Old
- Babbles and coos
- Smiles, laughs, and squeals
- In prone position, holds head upright and raises body on hands
- Rolls over from front to back
- Opens hands, holds own hands, grasps rattle
- Controls head well
- Begins to bat at objects
- Looks at and may become excited by mobile
- Recognizes parent’s voice and touch
- Has spontaneous social smile
- May sleep for at least 6 hours
- Able to comfort himself (e.g., fall asleep by himself without breast or bottle)
Continue to breastfeed or to use iron-fortified formula for the first year of your baby’s life. This milk will continue to be his major source of nutrition. Give your baby an iron supplement if you are breastfeeding exclusively.
Begin introducing solid foods with a spoon when your baby is developmentally ready. Wait 1 week or more before offering each new food to see if there are any adverse reactions. Start with an iron-fortified, single-grain cereal such as rice.
Gradually increase the variety of foods offered, starting with puréed vegetables and fruits and then meats. Always supervise your baby carefully while he is eating.
Talk with the health professional about giving your breastfed baby a daily supplement of vitamin D if you are vitamin D–deficient or if your baby does not receive adequate exposure to (indirect) sunlight.
Do not give your baby honey during the first year. It is a source of spores that can cause botulism in infancy. Be sure that your caregiver is feeding your baby appropriately.
Avoid feeding solid food directly from a jar. Discard any milk or jarred foods when your baby has finished eating. Do not warm expressed breast milk, formula, or food in containers or jars in a microwave oven.
Promote Your Baby’s Development
- Nurture your baby by holding, cuddling, and rocking him, and by talking and singing to him.
- Encourage your baby’s vocalizations. Talk to him during dressing, bathing, feeding, playing, and walking.
- Read to your baby. Play music and sing to him.
- Play games such as pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, so-big.
- Encourage play with age-appropriate toys.
- Establish a bedtime routine and other habits to discourage night waking.
- Encourage your baby to learn to console himself by putting him to bed awake.
- Begin to help your baby learn self-consoling techniques by providing him with the same transitional objects, such as a stuffed animal, blanket, or favorite toy—at bedtime or in new situations.
- Talk with the health professional about your baby’s temperament and how you are dealing with it.
Your baby’s development may be different with the Four Month Old Milestones. As long as your baby is healthy, you should not worry too much since each child is different, each child grows on his or her own pace. However, keep your eyes on your baby’s development and talk with your baby’s doctor if you need to.