When your baby is 4 months old, they will crave social interaction in all forms – likely consisting of playtime, laughter, and plenty of baby conversations. A lot of parents believe that the most challenging time of baby care is over at this stage, and the next few months are often considered to be the golden age of parenthood.
Yet, everything is still quite new, and you may have a lot of unanswered questions. What is the average baby weight of a 4-month-old? Are there any significant milestones or physical changes to expect? What is the standard feeding schedule of a 4-month baby? Read on to find out the answers to these questions, and many more.
Baby Development by Month: Fourth Month
A 4-month old baby is significantly stronger than when they were a newborn, and they will likely be able to use their arm muscles to push their body up while lying on their tummy. Some babies may also be able to roll over, reach for an object, and bear their own weight while held in an upright position. Don’t worry, though, if your baby can’t do all of these things at this stage, each baby progresses at different rates – some may have difficulty standing at all, while others may be able to support themselves unassisted while holding on to something.
The 4-month mark is often a time when parents begin to notice some remarkable changes in their babies – it can sometimes feel like you’re looking after whole new baby. This is because your baby has undergone some major physical and mental developmental changes. They will be heavier, louder, more playful, and will likely be starting to show signs of their personality.
Average Baby Weight and Physical Changes
The average weight of a 4-month baby can vary greatly. For girls, the average baby weight is between 14 to 14.5 pounds, while for boys, the average is between 15 to 15.5 pounds. This means your baby will could have doubled in weight since their birth. They are getting taller, too, with the average height of a 4-month baby being around 25 inches for boys and 24.5 inches for girls.
Baby Movement Milestones
At this stage, your baby’s movement is mainly about improving their hand-eye coordination and muscle control. As their vision improves, you may find they are reaching for more objects and placing it in their mouth. If this is the case, you need to pay extra attention to the objects that are left within reach of your child.
As your baby’s muscles get stronger, they will be getting closer to holding their head up independently and sitting up alone without support. It’s quite common for a 4-month old baby to have the ability to roll over whilst lying down, too.
Baby Vision Development
The 4-month mark is a crucial point in your baby’s development of sight. Their vision will be getting sharper every day and they will likely be able to track objects of interest with their eyes. In the first few months of your baby’s life, they will have had to move their head along with their eyes to focus on a specific object but, now, your baby might be able to shift focus from one item to another by only moving their eyes. Their perception of color is still developing, but as each day passes your baby will recognize more and more colors.
Their a few tips to aid your baby’s vision development. Many parents change the angle of the crib within the nursery, allowing their baby to process new information and recognize new objects as their sight develops. It is also beneficial to talk to your baby as you move around the room, as it will improve their ability to track and focus on things of importance.
Baby Hearing Development
At four months old, your baby has reached an important hearing developmental milestone. They will now be reacting excitedly to sounds and will be able to recognize and react to their parents’ voices. This will lead to them trying to imitate the sounds that come out of your mouth, and they will often start to make simple consonant sounds at this stage, like “b” and “m”.
A 4-month old baby may also respond to the changes in the tone of your voice and will follow sounds with their eyes. They might laugh or pull faces in response and will babble when they are excited or unhappy. It’s common for babies to make gurgling sounds when they are alone, too, as they begin to practice the speech patterns that they have heard.
Baby Sense of Smell Development
Your baby is becoming increasingly aware of the different smells of things and people around them and will use their sense of smell as a way of identifying things that are familiar and comforting, or scary and threatening. If your baby doesn’t recognize a certain smell, they may become unsettled and begin to cry. Your baby will also start to use their sense of smell to decide whether they like different foods.
Baby Feeding Schedule
You may notice that your baby is beginning to wait longer between feedings at 4-months old. At this stage, some babies can go 3 to 4 hours between feedings and this duration will get progressively longer as they get older. For breastfed babies, it’s likely that the duration between feedings will be slightly less than formula fed babies, as breastmilk is digested at a faster rate. A breastfed baby should be fed around 8 times per day, while a formula fed baby should be fed 6 times per day. It is not recommended to start feeding babies solid foods in month 4, and it is usually more common to introduce solid foods between months 5 and 6.
Parents often wonder if their baby is getting enough nourishment at each feeding, and there are a few tips to look out for to see if they are adequately fed. Your breasts should feel softer after each feeding, your baby should be calmed and sated after a feeding, they should also be wetting their diapers around 6 times a day and should be incrementally gaining weight every week. If you haven’t experienced any of these factors, you should consult a medical professional as your child may not be getting sufficient nourishment.
Baby Sleep Schedule
A 4-month baby needs, on average, 14 hours of sleep per day. They may now, also, be able to sleep throughout the whole night without requiring a feeding, though don’t be surprised if they still wake up in the middle of the night with hungry howls.
Daytime napping is essential for a 4-month baby’s sleep schedule, too, as they require regular rest in order to maintain their growing bodies. Most babies will take 2 to 3 naps during the day, at this stage, for a combined total of 3 to 4 hours. This is subject to change, however, depending on the child.
How to Change Baby Sleep Schedule
Young babies crave routine, and it’s important to establish certain bedtime habits and rituals for your child. By consistently sticking to a sleep schedule, your baby will learn the different cycles of the day and will develop their own internal clock. Use the same key words to signal to your child that it’s time for bed, too, as this can help them recognize that they should wind down and get ready to rest.
It’s also important to allow your baby to learn to self-soothe when they wake up in the middle of the night. A few methods can be utilized to achieve this including the cry it out (CIO) method and the no tears method. All forms of sleep training should be thoroughly researched before practicing, though, and you should consult a medical professional if you are concerned about your baby’s sleeping patterns.
Baby Emotional Development Milestones: Fourth Month
At this age, your baby is beginning to understand the world around them at an ever-increasing level. They will try to get your attention in various ways, and they will listen to voices that hey recognize. In terms of social and emotional development, your baby should be able to do the following:
- Babble or coo as a form of social interaction.
- Get excited when their parent or caregiver interacts or approaches them.
- Self-soothe by sucking on things or grasping things when they are unsettled.
- Smile and laugh as a response to affection or something pleasing.
Baby Daily Routine at Month 4
The daily routine of a 4-month old is more likely to be parent-led. This makes a change to the predominantly baby-led schedule during the first few months. Their daily activity will still, however, mainly consist of crying, eating, sleeping, and playing. The difference now is that parents may have a greater control of when certain activities take place.
Developing a routine is a personal thing and will be different depending on both the child and parent. Yet, it can still be helpful to have some guidelines when and loose pointers when devising a schedule. It’s important to keep in mind that your baby needs 6 to 8 ounces of breastmilk or baby formula at every feeding, they should be getting between 14 to15 hours of sleep every day, and they need to have sufficient periods of time allocated throughout the day for playing and bonding, in order to develop their motor skills and muscles.
Baby Causes for Concern at Month 4
At 4-months old, certain development problems may start to become apparent and, although all babies progress and develop at different rates, there a few signs and symptoms that parents should look out for in order to know when these concerns could be indicative of a greater problem. The following is a list of signs that may require further medical attention:
- Crossed eyes.
- Unable to sit up, even with support.
- Not tracking items or people as they move at a close distance.
- Not smiling.
- Not responding to familiar faces in any way.
- Not gaining weight.
Baby Checklist at Month 4
The following checklist outlines some of the common developmental milestones that most children experience at month 4. It is important, however, to not use this checklist as a definitive guide as to how your baby progress, as each baby progresses differently. A baby might be able to copy certain movements and facial expressions much earlier than average, though the same baby might also later than average in their ability to reach out for certain objects within their range of sight. That being said, here are some common traits to look out for in your child:
- Smiles spontaneously, especially at familiar faces and sounds.
- Babbling and cooing noises.
- Uses different cries to signal hunger, pain, and tiredness.
- Responds to affection.
- Watches faces with intent fascination.
- Pushes elbows up when lying on tummy.
How do I know my baby is developing?
Being able to identify whether or not your baby is on track is difficult at month 4, as all babies progress at different speeds. That being said, you might want to seek advice from a medical professional if, by month 4, your baby is is not able to grasp objects, raise their head while lying on their stomach, or track your movements when you are within viewing distance.
How can I help my baby’s development?
There are numerous things a parent can do to aid their child’s development. Some of the most common include giving your baby enough “tummy time” to allow them to develop their muscles, talking to your baby, playing interactive games, exciting their different senses.
What age do babies start doing things?
At this stage, your baby can probably make vowel sounds and simple consonant sounds, recognize voices, smile responsively, and track certain objects. In the next few months, your baby will be able to roll over adeptly, imitate sounds, and begin eating solid foods. Their senses will continue to develop throughout the next few years as they grow and become stronger and more coordinated.