What to Expect During Your Baby’s Fifth Month of Life
Taking care of a 4-month-old baby will come with new surprises and exciting developments as your child continues to grow over the next few weeks. While every baby is different, the four-month mark is the age at which many babies start showing some major changes — moving from the helpless newborn stage to showing signs of independence and personality. This will certainly be a welcome change for a new parent like you!
However, with these new changes will likely come some new questions from parents in your situation. How much is 4-month-old baby care different than it was in the months before, and what can you expect from your child between their 12th and 16th weeks of life?
Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. Below, you’ll find some important information to know about how to take care of a four-month-old baby and set positive habits you’ll be grateful for in the months ahead. With a little bit of patience and education, you’ll find that taking care of a 4-month-old baby can be a fun and exciting time in your journey as a parent!
What to Expect from a 4-Month-Old Baby: Important Milestones
Part of preparing for having a four-month-old in your house means knowing what to expect from a 4-month-old in regards to development. Every baby is different, so your baby may take more or less time to hit some of these developmental milestones. That’s completely okay. If you are ever worried about your baby’s development, talk with your pediatrician. They can give you the best advice about whether your child is developing normally or needs extra attention.
In the meantime, here are some exciting changes to add to your list of what to expect for a 4-month-old baby:
- Your baby can now see distant objects, not just those close by.
- Your baby will continue gnawing on things, but it may be because they are teething for the first time!
- Your baby will continue to enjoy playing and communicating with people, and you may see them attempt to imitate your words, movements and facial expressions.
- Your baby’s hand-eye coordination will continue to develop; you’ll find them seeing things and reaching out for the object.
- Your baby may be able to hold their head up unsupported.
- Your baby will continue learning about his or her world through the sense of touch. Make sure to give your child lots of new textures to explore, such as those in the “Pat the Bunny” book.
How to Take Care of a Four-Month-Old Baby: Getting Started
When your baby turns four months old, you will need to visit your pediatrician for updates on some of their vaccines. During this visit, you can also discuss with him or her any concerns you may have about an appropriate schedule for 4-month-old baby care in your situation. Your doctor will evaluate your child’s height and weight for their age group to determine whether additional care needs to be taken regarding their everyday schedule.
Keep in mind: Your baby may experience a growth spurt during their fourth month of life, so be ready for a hungry baby in the weeks to come!
4-Month-Old Feeding Schedule
When it comes to a 4-month-old’s feeding habits, many babies this age will be fine continuing to eat only breastmilk or formula. Every baby is different, but the routine they have established up until now in regards to how much and how often they eat will usually remain the same.
However, when you visit your doctor for your baby’s four-month checkup, you may receive some exciting news — that your baby is ready to eat solid foods! Some doctors will recommend feeding a four-month-old baby solids because of their weight; their appetite demands may not be 100 percent satisfied with formula or breastmilk anymore. In other cases, a 4-month-old feeding schedule with solids may be introduced because the baby:
- Can hold their head up high for long periods of time
- Can sit upright in a high chair
- Has doubled their birth weight and is at least 13 pounds
- Is interested in food and opens their mouth to try to taste it
Not every four-month-old baby feeding schedule will include solids; some doctors will wait to recommend this change until a baby is at least six months old. However, if your doctor suggests you begin feeding a four-month-old solids, you will want to start with basic foods: single grain baby cereal, bananas, sweet potatoes and other soft foods. Your baby may not take to these foods right away; be patient and try again at the next meal. Never force a baby to finish any food they don’t want to, and always keep an eye out for signs of a food allergy when introducing new foods. Your doctor can also give you a list of foods to be especially wary of in regards to allergies at this age.
4-Month-Old Sleep Schedule
Many babies are still developing their own sleep schedule at 4 months old, and the rapid changes in their body and mind during this time certainly don’t help when it comes to settling down at night for long periods of time. Your baby may experience something called 4-month-old sleep regression, meaning they don’t sleep as well as they used to and may need extra help soothing back to sleep.
On the other hand, you may be lucky enough that your 4-month-old sleeps soundly through the night, only waking once or twice. Be patient before going to a crying baby; give them the opportunity to relax back into sleep without you, which will set positive habits when it comes to their personal sleep schedule. Whether or not you choose to start sleep training a 4-month-old will be up to your personal preference and how well your child is sleeping now. But, it never hurts to start setting a positive sleep routine as early as possible!
Taking care of a 4-month-old baby doesn’t have to be as complicated as it may seem. In fact, all of the new changes your baby is experiencing often means that the hardest parts of being a new parent are behind you — and you have much more to look forward to ahead. As always, if you have questions about how to care for a 4-month-old baby during these changes, speak with your pediatrician and do as much research as possible about this unique period in your child’s life.