Your baby is now 4 months old, and the developmental whirlwind keeps gathering pace. From movement and language to the possible appearance of first teeth, it’s a time of constant change.
Feeding your baby
Your baby’s appetite is still increasing. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, keep feeding when your baby is hungry; demand feeding helps increase your milk supply and with each breastfeed baby signals back to your body what they need for the next feed. Some parents feel anxious and may want to top up with formula, but this should be avoided as regular cluster feeding for a few days is normal growth spurt behaviour (if you are formula feeding, and baby wants to feed more often it might be worthwhile preparing more so you can offer baby another 20ml or so as needed).
At this stage you may have already tried to express milk for your baby. It is not recommended as a regular activity unless things like going back to work or having an eventful night means baby would go without. At this stage you have a ready supply of nutritious breast milk, and so the occasional going out pump or pumping for work can be helpful whilst you are away from your baby.
There are many different types of pumps available and price doesn’t always dictate the right pump. Have a discussion about hospital grade electric, standard electric and manual pumps to figure out which one best suits your situation.
Stock up on suitable containers at the local chemist, and check in with your nurse or lactation consultant if you need any advice.
Sleep and settling
Getting in tune with baby’s natural rhythm (sleeping and feeding) can help you plan your day so that you’re out and about while bub is awake, and able to get some rest and relaxation yourself when your baby is asleep. Remember, not everything goes to plan so remind yourself to stay flexible as each week can be different.
Take it in turns as to who gets up at night and if it’s your partner’s turn, have them change baby and bring baby to you for a feed, then get up and return baby back to bed afterwards. This can be helpful for mum and mean she has a less disruptive sleep on her nights “off”.
Often at this age babies also transition to needing hands-on settling. Help baby feel calm by talking and put baby down drowsy but awake. Be sure to continue comforting baby until they fall asleep, but it can be helpful to move away from rocking and holding to sleep around this age.
Time to play
With your baby moving and wriggling more, and possibly rolling, it’s important to ensure small objects are well out of reach. Four-month-olds often explore objects by putting them up to the mouth; make sure nothing can fit inside! They have very strong touch receptors on their lips and mouth that are still developing in their fingers.
When your baby is able to grip enough to pick up objects, create games where you drop things and see if bub can pick them up.
Continue talking, reading and singing to your baby and check whether your library or community group have song or story sessions; a great way to keep your little one stimulated.
Baby’s developmental milestones
- Leaning on elbows during tummy time
- Possible appearance of first teeth
- Giggling noises (including sounds like G and K) and waving arms when happy or excited
- Tightly gripping objects and possibly crying when objects are taken away
- Trying – and maybe succeeding – in rolling (always hold them when changing nappies)
- Copying your head movements and facial expressions
Check your calendar
- At this stage, you may want to look into baby swimming classes. These are a great way to both get active and introduce baby to the water for the first time.
- Schedule in your 4-month maternal nurse visit
- Vaccinations continue, with 4-month immunisations due. Consult your nurse, council or a GP for more details.
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Please note: These articles are meant to give you a general sense of the growth and development of your newborn baby. However, it’s important to remember that every baby grows and develops at their own pace.