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Baby Development: Your 4-Month Old

Fourth-Month Baby Milestones: Eating

Some pediatricians don’t recommend starting babies on solid foods until six months. But depending on your baby’s size -- bigger babies may not be satisfied with breast milk or formula alone -- and readiness, your doctor may say it’s OK to start solids at four months. Before that first feeding, make sure that your baby has good head and neck control and can sit upright with support.

Your baby’s first food should be an iron-fortified rice cereal mixed with either formula or breast milk. Make the cereal very thin at first -- not much thicker than plain formula -- until your baby gets used to it. Then see how your baby reacts to taking the spoon. Babies at this age may still have a strong tongue-thrust reflex. If you put a spoon of cereal in your baby’s mouth and she pushes it right back out, you may need to wait a week or two before trying solids again.

Fourth-Month Baby Milestones: Communication

Four-month-olds are starting to discover themselves as unique individuals. They’re also beginning to notice that the people around them respond to their actions. When your baby cries, you come over. When your baby drops something on the floor, you pick it up. Many babies delight in dropping the same object over and over and over again, just to watch their parents repeatedly pick it up.

Babies at this age are learning to be effective communicators. They express themselves through coos, vowel sounds such as ooh and aah, squeals, gurgles, and laughter. You’ll notice that your baby can use her face to express a wide range of emotions, from a beaming happy smile, to a crunched-up angry face, to open-mouthed surprise. Your 4-month-old is also starting to learn how to read your emotions from your voice and facial expressions.

Talking to Your Pediatrician

Here are a few of the items that should be on the checklist for your 4-month well-baby pediatrician visit:

  • Height and weight
  • Milestones
  • Vaccinations
  • Hearing and vision
  • Eating
  • Sleeping

Before you go to the doctor’s office, make a list of any concerns you have and any questions you want to ask, and then use the list to be sure you get all the information and help you need.

Tips for Your Baby’s Fourth Month

  • Give your baby lots of new textures to explore, such as books like Pat the Bunny and other touch-and-feel board books. 
  • Spend at least a few minutes reading or singing to your baby every day. Your baby will love being in your arms and hearing the sound of your voice -- even if you can’t carry a tune. 
  • Though your baby is not yet crawling and probably isn’t even rolling over, it’s time to start seriously thinking about childproofing. Put locks on cabinets, snap gates across stairways, and store any cleaning products or other potentially dangerous materials high up and far away from baby’s curious fingers.

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on June 30, 2012

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