The social, active, cooing little person you spend every day with probably seems to have little in common with the person you brought home from the hospital just a few short months ago. Four months marks a big turning point, because your baby is much more capable of learning. This means that parents who expose their children to lots of different information are more likely to have intelligent, social children. Help your child learn as much as you can during this critical period, and the results could last a lifetime.
- Your baby has likely doubled her birth weight now, even if she was born premature.
- Your baby has complete control over her own head, and arm and leg movements are becoming more refined.
- Your baby can now coordinate his hand movements together, and will likely grab any shiny, attractive object. Now’s the time to take out earrings and jewelry!
- Your baby can hold her head and neck upright when she lies on her stomach.
- He may be able to roll over, and if he can’t he likely tries to roll over during tummy time.
- Your baby tries to communicate through babbling, and has distinct cries denoting pain, hunger, sleepiness, and fear.
- Your baby can coordinate her hand-eye movements by successfully reaching for and grabbing a toy.
- Your baby may be sleeping through the night.
- Your baby’s five senses are developing rapidly, and her eyesight is becoming quite good.
- Your baby now actively seeks out play time, and may cry when people stop playing with her.
- He smiles at familiar people regularly, and may spontaneously smile.
- Can recognize familiar people from a greater distance, and has strong preferences for favorite people.
- May actively seek out affection, and is soothed by being snuggled or held.
- May develop separation anxiety, though strong separation anxiety is still a few months away.
What You Can Do
Now is a good age to evaluate for potential problems, so if your child’s development seems behind, talk to your pediatrician. In addition to taking the positive steps you took for the first three months of your child’s life – including talking and reading to her – try the following measures:
- Continue feeding your baby formula or breast milk – not cereal or solid foods.
- Help your baby practice motor skills by encouraging her to lie on her stomach then look up at you. You can also encourage her to reach for objects.
- Help your baby learn to self-soothe by waiting about 30 seconds before getting her when she begins crying. This is especially helpful at night, when young babies may be able to soothe themselves back to sleep.
- You can prevent separation anxiety by continuing to allow a wide variety of people to play and interact with your child when you’re not there. Try giving your baby to a friend or relative while you take a shower, for example.