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Your 4 month old – baby development guide

Baby Development Guide - four months old

Tell Nanna to watch her glasses and tell your friend her necklace is in danger – your baby is starting to get grabby. And whatever finds itself in baby’s hands will inevitably end up in baby’s mouth.

How is baby going?

Your little one might be looking less like a baby these days – some babies may even be able to sit unsupported sometime in the fifth month, although they can’t stop themselves from toppling over until they are older. If you’ve been giving your baby heaps of tummy time you might have a little roller on your hands earlier rather than later – probably just belly to back at this stage. While on her belly your baby will probably be able to support herself on straight arms.

Sleep

Have you heard of the four-month sleep regression? If your baby has, up until now, been sleeping quite well but has recently started to wake more then it might be just the age. At this age, babies’ sleep patterns begin to change. They are also going through a growth spurt and may need to be feed more often to keep up with these changes.

Your baby will probably still need three or more day sleeps – often one in the morning, one just after lunch and another shorter one in the late afternoon.

Feed

Breast milk or formula provides babies with all the nutrition they need in the first six months of life. But lately you might find that your baby is fussing at feed time and is finished before you know it! Gone are the days when you could watch a couple of episodes of your favourite show while feeding your little one. These days your baby might be craning backwards to see what your favourite characters are up to! Very frustrating!

Don’t misinterpret your baby’s fussiness as a rejection of the breast or a need to move to solids. Your baby is just becoming more efficient at feeding so is most likely taking in enough food, just in a fraction of the time it took when as a newborn. Plus your baby is a little busybody now and will be easily distracted. It is likely to be just a phase but you may need to feed your baby in a quieter room with less distractions for a while.

Play

Your baby might be growing frustrated by not being able to move around. At this age, their brains wants to run explore but their bodies aren’t quite ready.

You might be tempted to buy a standing activity centre or a walker or similar toy to give your baby a new perspective but they aren’t necessary and can be dangerous, so must be used under close supervision. You might find them helpful though, to give you a little break every so often. So if you do buy one, make sure that whatever you buy is safe and that you don’t overuse it. Your baby’s frustration at not being able to move is also their motivation to get going. If you don’t give your baby plenty of opportunity to play on the floor they won’t get much chance to work on the skills needed for crawling and walking later on.

Teething

At this age babies like to explore with their mouths and it doesn’t necessarily mean they are teething – despite what your MIL and the lady at the fruit shop tells you. You might see a little toothy peg poking its way through sooner rather than later but it wouldn’t be unusual if your baby was a little gummy bear right up until her first birthday.

Be on the lookout for other teething symptoms, which include drool (and lots of it), swollen gums, rosy cheeks and irritability or clinginess. Check out our general guide as to when baby teeth usually appear and in what order.

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How are you going?

How has your transition into parenthood gone? Are you finding your feet now that you’re out of the newborn phase? Or are you still overwhelmed some days. It is normal to feel like this, having a baby is a major life change. Here are some tips on how to break out of the new mummy daze but, if you feel like you can’t – if you feel anxious and depressed for weeks – then it is a good idea to chat to someone about how you are feeling.

Signs and symptoms of perinatal depression and anxiety include panic attacks, persistent, generalised worry, development of obsessive or compulsive behaviours, abrupt mood swings, feeling constantly tired, withdrawing from friends, difficulty focusing, feeling constantly sad or crying for no reason and having thoughts of death or suicide. If you are struggling with perinatal anxiety or depression, call PANDA’s free National Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Helpline on 1300 726 306.

3 things to do when your baby is 4 months old

Please note: All babies are different, these are generic guides and aren’t a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your health care provider.

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