Is My Baby On Track? Spotting Developmental Delays

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on August 04, 2022
3 min read

It’s normal for parents to watch, wonder, and maybe worry a little about whether their child is meeting milestones on target.

All babies are on their own timetable, and most differences are normal. But you should check with your doctor if, by three or almost 4 months:

  • They can’t support their head well and don’t reach or grasp at objects.
  • They haven’t begun to babble.
  • They cross their eyes most of the time. (eye crossing is normal in infants less than 3 months.)
  • They don’t engage in social smiling.

Your Baby's Development This Week

As they near their four-month birthday, your baby is developing muscles at the rate of a bodybuilder! By now, they are getting much more control over their body.

You may recognize their newfound strength as they:

  • Show very good head control, although they may still wobble if you suddenly move them.
  • Begin to master rolling from their stomach to their back, but they probably can’t roll from back to front yet.
  • Raise their head and chest while lying on their stomach, and even support their upper body by pushing up on their arms.

They may be reaching for their toys, batting them away, and even grasping their rattle. You might wonder about:

  • How much they should be eating. By now, they should be taking in 4-6 ounces of formula per feeding. If they are breastfed, they should be satisfied for at least 2-3 hours if they are getting enough milk at a feeding. Your pediatrician will discuss starting solid foods at the 4 month checkup, although you don't need to introduce them to baby if you are breastfeeding exclusively.
  • How much they are growing. Your baby is still in the rapid-growth newborn phase, growing about 1 to 1.5 inches and adding 1 to 1.5 pounds per month.
  • What your baby can see. At this age, your baby is starting to notice differences in texture, and really enjoys bright colors.
  • Many parents wonder if drooling is a sign of teething, especially if baby is putting their hands near their mouth. It may be a sign of their readiness for solid foods. 
  • If your baby was a preemie, adjust your expectations: A baby born at 30 weeks will probably be meeting milestones 8-10 weeks after full-term babies born around the same time. At each check up, your pediatrician will remind you of those adjustments and goals in development.
  • Schedule your baby's 4-month checkup. They'll get similar vaccines that they did at their 2-month checkup.
  • Your baby can't tell you if they feel sick, so watch for signs like sleeping more often than usual, being less alert when awake, feeding less or refusing to feed, being unusually fussy, and crying more often.
  • Baby is growing! Stock up on diapers a size too big so you're not stuck with too-tight diapers later on.
  • If you're concerned about the cost and environmental impact of disposables, consider switching to cloth diapers.
  • Are you bathing your baby every day? Until they start eating solids and crawling, they don't need it. If it has become part of your nightly routine, you don't have to use soap daily. Otherwise try 2-3 baths a week, and keep them carefully wiped down.
  • Be very careful and supervise your baby at all times when they are on a changing table, bed, or any above-floor surface. They love to practice rolling, so keep them safe. Even glancing away for a second, they can fall to the floor.
  • Additionally, be careful when holding them while eating or drinking since they will start to reach and grab.