Baby Calendar Month 4Baby Development
This is a sweet time in parenting. Your baby is sleeping better, probably 9 or 10 hours a night with a couple daytime naps bringing the total to 14 or 16 hours, and is becoming a responsive little being- cooing and communicating with you. The cherry on top? Baby is not yet mobile, so where you put her, she will stay.
Baby is probably doing little push-ups when placed on his tummy now, stretching out those arms and pushing himself up. When propped up, baby will most likely be able to sit up for longer stretches, maybe ten minutes or so. She might even be ready for short stints in the high chair. If she slinks down or slumps over, just give her a bit more time until trying the high chair again.
When playing with rattles or other small toys, baby can grasp the toy and let go. However, he will not be able to pick it back up on his own yet. Watching baby closely you will see rapid development over the next few months in hand-eye coordination.
Baby's speech is developing at a rapid pace as well. Expect to start hearing more than those soft cooing vowel sounds like ooo and aaah. Soon baby will be adding consonants to those vowels, like ba-ba, ma-ma, and da-da for instance. Also, you will be hearing some unusual new vocalizations, like squeals and shrieks. However, certain to be your favorite sound, is baby's first giggle.
You might be surprised to learn that baby can start teething around four months, even though teeth will not erupt for another few months. Signs of teething include loose bowels, a rash around the mouth from drooling, drooling, mouthing or gumming toys or objects, a refusal to eat, irritability or waking with a cry that seems to be from pain, and rubbing the ears or cheeks. To ease teething pain, offer baby a bumpy rubber chewing toy, or a wet cold washcloth. Rub baby's gums with your clean finger. If these measures do little to comfort your little one, than ask the pediatrician if it's OK to use a teething numbing medicine or baby acetaminophen.
At month four you can consider whether you think baby is ready for solid foods yet. Don't feel rushed, breast milk or formula supplies everything baby needs until 6 months of age. However, some infants are ready sooner than others to eat solids. If food allergies run in the family, it's best to put off solids until the 6 month mark. To determine if your infant is up for the next stage of feeding, look for readiness signs. Does your baby hold his head up steadily now? Can baby sit supported well? Does baby seem nearly hypnotized when watching you eat? If your baby watches you so intently that you feel guilty eating in front of her then she's showing readiness for solids. Does baby still have the tongue-thrust reflex? You can tell when you present a spoon to baby, if the reflex is still strong, baby will automatically push her tongue out, moving the spoon away. If that's the case, hold off on solids awhile longer. If your baby seems ready, continue breast or bottle feeding as normal and just add solids a little at a time to the diet. You might want to discuss adding solids at baby's fourth month well-baby check.
However, in general to start a baby on solid foods, begin by introducing a single-grain baby cereal usually rice. Add 4 to 5 teaspoons of breastmilk or formula to a single teaspoon of cereal. It will be runny, but use a spoon not a bottle. If baby takes the cereal well, gradually add less and less liquid to the cereal. If baby doesn't take to the cereal well, then wait a couple weeks and try it again. There's really no rush. Your baby is doing fine with breastmilk or formula.
Well Baby Visit
At the fourth month well-baby check, you will probably discuss solid foods. The baby will probably be slowing down a bit in gaining weight, something along the lines of 20 grams a day now in weight gain is normal. Probably by now your baby has doubled his birth weight.
Tips for Mom and Dad
Baby is starting her fourth month and you've begun to settle into some parenting patterns and are probably feeling confident and comfortable in taking care of baby. However, you might still be struggling in becoming a parenting couple. One big issue for many couples after baby, is the drop in libido that many moms experience. When you have the huge hormone changes, body changes, and big lifestyle adjustment, it is not too hard to understand why it happens. First, give yourselves time for adjustment Find other ways of being close and intimate without an expectation of sex to give yourselves time to warm back up. Have emotionally close moments, but allow yourselves physical closeness without sex as well. Give and receive back massages, foot rubs, and even hold hands. Make time for each other, scheduling it on the calendar if necessary. Bringing home a baby turns everything upside down for a time. Do not panic and make sure you talk to each other about how you are feeling.
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