Feeding 4 months old
Sleeping at 4 months old
At 4 months, babies can really begin to make their wishes known. They can start protesting bed or nap time, even if they have never done this before. Focus on keeping calm and consistent in your bedtime and nap routines. Babies that have learned to self-soothe themselves to sleep will also be able to self-soothe themselves back to sleep when they lightly awaken in the night, which is normal sleep behavior for babies. These are excellent habits to begin to form now.
What about mom?
If it’s been a few months since you’ve invested some time into yourself, try to now. Many mothers have their hair cut and nails done just before their baby’s birth, but these may now be seen as luxuries. Try to book an appointment when your partner can care for the baby or get back-to-back appointments and go with a friend who has a baby. You can watch each other’s baby when it’s your turn in the chair and enjoy some time with your friend too.
You may be finding your emotions are more stable now and you feel more like your old self. Many women find the initial months after having a new baby very stressful, while others can take the whole event in stride and go with the flow. We tend to take our personalities into our parenting roles; it is impossible for one not to be influenced by the other. Don’t compare yourself to others around you.
Surround yourself with friends and family who will support you and help you feel good about the job you are doing. Avoid being around people who are critical or make you feel like what you are doing is not good enough. This is often more about their own feelings of low self-worth than being a fair and accurate assessment of someone else.
Your sleep needs
Enjoy some early nights if it fits in with your baby’s sleep habits. Even if you can’t drop off to sleep immediately, get into the habit of having a warm shower, a glass of milk, reading, listening to the radio, or just winding down. Some women find relaxation tapes and music particularly helpful in switching off the stresses of the day. If your older children are protesting about going to bed, develop a bedtime routine for them which encourages a predictable wind-down time. A quiet bedtime routine for all is helpful for the entire family. Children thrive in households where pleasant routines exist, boundaries are clear, and parents are unified. Creating an atmosphere of calm rather than chaos, comfort, and peace can only help.
If you feel as if you’ve been hibernating the last few months, then it’s time to emerge! See a movie, go for a walk, meet up with friends, and connect with other adults. One activity per day is enough when you have a 4-month-old, and often mornings are a better time to organize something. Toddlers and young children can still need daytime naps until they are around 3 years old and it can be rough trying to keep them up if they’re tired.
Even the most loving relationships can feel strained if one parent is overtired or is responsible for most of the baby or household duties. Ensure you share the load, otherwise resentment or tension can grow between you. The key is to talk honestly and openly with your partner about how you feel.
Behavior at 4 months old
Keep your baby away from the television and any other screens at this age. Avoid thinking you need to place them in front of stimulating programs which will help them to learn. The current recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics are that children have no screen time for at least the first 18 months of life. Further, limit the amount to no more than one hour per day of high-quality programs. While you can’t keep them away from a TV screen completely, your face and your voice can provide your baby with the only brain stimulation they need at 4 months and for the next many months to come.
Developmental milestones at 4 months old
This is the month when many babies start to roll. Generally, this is from a back-to-front direction first. After a couple of weeks, they’ll head back the other way. Being able to practice every day will help, which is why tummy time is so important. Just don’t expect your baby to stay on their blanket or mat the whole time. You’ll find they are able to move into all sorts of wonderful positions and angles at 4months.
Babies are very adept at communicating their feelings but until they learn to speak, every need is heralded by crying. By 4 months your baby’s vocal range has changed so there will be higher pitched squeals, louder cries, coos, gurgles, and babbles. This is a stunning age when you may feel as if you are starting to get some feedback for all your hard work.
Growth at 4 months old
Keeping well at 4 months old
Staying safe at 4 months old
Keep the pets away from your baby, no matter how gentle you think your animals are. Get into the habit of closing the door to the room where your baby sleeps and do not allow your baby and pet to share the same sleeping surface. Worm your animals regularly and always wash your hands after handling your pets. Although you may feel your pets are members of your family, it is possible for some infections to transfer from animals to humans.
Play and interaction at 4 months old
You’ll find most toys find their way into your baby’s mouth, including your chin and nose. This is the age when babies start to grab their parents’ faces and latch onto any prominent feature. Being drooled on by another person has probably not been high on your list of priorities, but somehow, it’s rather fun when it’s your own baby who’s doing it!
Limit some of your baby’s time in their crib, bouncer, stroller, and sling now. Much of their development is based around movement and having supervised, unrestricted time to play on the floor.
The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.