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Home > Education Center > 4th Month Guide

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4th Month Guide

4th Month GuideThe fourth month of baby’s life is a new and exciting time for parents. There are so many new experiences that seem to occur almost daily that it can make any parent of a 4 month old baby want to spend every waking minute just watching for new developments. The newness of this month can include physical differences and abilities, baby’s looks, speech, communication in other ways, the necessary care for baby, and the strength of feelings that have developed over the past three months for this wonderful little being.

Physical Development and Appearance

During the fourth month, your baby’s physical appearance will not change very dramatically, but it is the subtleties that you will notice. Girls will start to look more like girls, especially now that their hair has come in a little more, and boys will start to look like little boys. At this age, it is no longer necessary for strangers to guess what sex a baby is based on the color of clothes.

Your baby will be much more physically developed, with more fine-tuned motor skills and more strength. This means that your baby will now be able to accomplish a lot more than before, including such things as reaching out and grabbing toys on the first try with success, and hitting those toys on things.

Your baby will also have much more control over his upper body at this point and will be able to sit on your hip like older babies do, as opposed to being cradled on his back. Head support is much less necessary at this point.

When on the floor, many babies in their fourth month can push up onto their hands and knees in a crawling position. While most babies won’t crawl for another few months, or longer, they will often try as early as four months.

Care for Baby

  • Skin care—skin care is usually not near as intense by the fourth month as it is during previous months. Most babies will no longer have peeling skin or baby acne, and lotion will likely not be a necessity any longer. You may still choose to apply lotions to your baby on a daily basis, though, simply for that baby smell that parents love so much.
  • Head care—your little one’s soft spot is beginning to slowly heal up, but you should still try to keep your baby from bumping his head as much as possible. Cradle cap may still be an issue for some babies, while other parents no longer have to worry about it.
  • Teething—while the average first tooth comes in at around six months of age, you may be surprised at how many babies actually cut a tooth, or begin to cut one, during their fourth month. You will usually know that this is what is wrong with your baby because he will begin to drool more than usual, he will chew on things even more than usual (even though you may not have thought this was possible), he will be very cranky, will possibly be running a low-grade fever, and can even have diarrhea.

    However, since it isn’t the norm for a baby of this age to cut teeth, if your child is displaying the symptoms above, you should call your doctor to be sure that this is the case and that it isn’t some sort of illness. If your baby is, in fact, teething, you can make this easier on him by giving him frozen or cold teethers, by allowing him to gnaw on a frozen waffle (watching closely so that no pieces break off after becoming soggy), and applying a topical numbing pain reliever for babies.
    If your baby is going through the painful experience of teething, it can seem like the crying and sleeplessness will go on forever, but have hope. Usually, although every baby is different, the severe pain will only last two or three days. Then, once the tooth has broken the skin, while your baby may still be feeling some discomfort, he will likely feel a lot better than before.
  • Bathing—bath time is even more fun this month than in the third month, because it is possible that your baby can sit up a little more, so he can have a little deeper water, splash a little more, and he may even be interested in playing with toys in the water. While babies at four months of age will obviously not play a game of make-believe with their toys in the water, they will love to watch toys bob back up after pushing them under water.

    While your baby’s skin is not near as sensitive as before, it is still best to use all bathing materials that were intended for babies, especially tear-free shampoos. If your baby has to experience the pain of soap burning in her eyes, she may no longer enjoy bath time quite so much
  • Diapers—you will have likely bumped up at least one size by now in diapers, which means, even though your baby uses less of them, you are probably spending more money on them. This is because of the way diapers are packaged: more small ones fit into a package than large, but the price stays the same. Your baby’s diaper needs will have changed dramatically since birth by this point, and this makes night time a lot better. Many babies will even begin to only wet once or even none while sleeping. If you breast feed, your baby may still go for long periods between bowel movements. If this is the case, it is usually of no concern. Continue to give your baby apple juice on a regular basis, and ask your pediatrician about it at the next visit just to be safe.

    Despite your best efforts, your baby may have developed a diaper rash by this point, as well. Aside from applying the proper medicines and preventative ointments, you should let your baby go without a diaper as often as you can. If possible, you should let your baby air out right after every diaper change. Allowing her to do this can help prevent future outbreaks, as well as heal up any she may have.
  • Gum care—by this point, mainly because you have likely introduced juice into your baby’s diet, you should clean your baby’s gums after every feeding. To prevent tooth decay, you should also never let your baby fall asleep to drinking a bottle. If your baby likes to suckle while going to sleep, you should let him have a dentist-approved pacifier instead. To clean your baby’s gums, you can use a soft baby wash cloth with just water, or you can purchase a baby gum-cleaning kit from your local drugstore. These often have a finger cover (which may have soft bumps on it that can help relieve painful gums as well) as well as baby-safe toothpaste.
  • Sleep—the sleep schedule of a baby during the fourth month is usually much better for parents. If you do have to wake up with your baby every night, it is most likely only once. Your baby will likely take two or three naps a day. How long these naps will be simply depends on the baby and how well he sleeps at night. If you can’t seem to get your baby to sleep through the night, you should wake him up during his last long nap of the day. While he may be cranky for a while because you did this, it will be well worth it after a couple of days, when he begins to sleep all night long every night.

    You should continue to lay your baby on his back or side during this month, even though he can probably turn his head while sleeping on his stomach. To let him enjoy the pleasure of stomach-sleeping, you should let him take supervised naps this way if he prefers it. Then, at night, you should go with his preference of side or back.
  • Eating—the fourth month is a stepping stone for feeding babies. By the end of the fourth month, your doctor will allow you to feed your baby actual food. It might not be actual food you as an adult would ever consider eating, but it is food to a person who has had none for the past four months. Most parents start feeding their four month old baby cereal one time a day. The cereal should be rather thin: thick enough to stay on the spoon, but thin enough that your little one can swallow it without choking. There are a variety of flavors of baby cereal, and you can mix jarred baby food with it as well.

    You may choose to skip cereal and go straight to baby food as some parents do. If you do this, you should introduce one new food a day to be able to watch for any allergic reactions (allergic reactions to foods can include a rash, difficulty breathing, and more). If possible, you should make your baby’s food meal the last one of the day. You can feed him while you eat supper, and then give a half a bottle just before bed, or something similar. The trick is to keep your baby full throughout the night. If you do begin by feeding your baby his food early in the day, you will need to start two feedings a day pretty quickly. Once a baby has experienced the full feeling caused by food, he may begin to get hungry more quickly than before, and this may lead to even more sleepless nights.


  • Illnesses—to prevent your baby from getting sick, you may feel that you should keep her away from all public places, and away from other children. But, this is not always a possible or practical idea. You may need to place your baby in daycare, and it is difficult to keep your baby indoors all the time. Instead, you should definitely keep your baby away from knowingly sick people, and have everyone wash their hands before holding your baby. This can at least temporarily ward off most illnesses.
  • Toys for this age—toys for babies this age get a lot more fun. With your baby possibly sitting up, and being able to reach out and not only hit things, but also grab them as well, you now have a lot more options. Some great toys for babies during their fourth month are anything that makes noise. Little toy phones, rattlers, talking or singing dolls, etc. Babies at this age like noise and lights. You can also get your baby toys for the car at this age, such as the steering-wheel toy that mounts on the carseat. This can be a lot of fun during car trips. Another good toy for a baby during the fourth month is little books. There are many kinds that are safe for babies of this age, including ones that are made of plastic or cotton. Some of these books will have animals that make noise, mirrors, and more.
  • New abilities—by the end of the fourth month, many babies will begin trying to sit up. Some babies will be able to sit on their own for long periods at this point, some babies won’t even try to sit up at this point, but most babies are at least attempting to tackle this feat at this age.

    Your baby can likely roll really well at this point, and may have even begun scooting. One of the best things that usually happens during this month is baby’s laughter. Although some babies do not start this yet, many will have surpassed the smile and will actually laugh out loud for the first time. Be aware that when your baby laughs for the first time, it will likely be from something really odd. You should also be prepared that whatever it is that caused that laughter will be repeated over and over again until the laughing stops.

    Your baby is beginning to make new sounds during this month. While they most likely will not form any words, these sounds will begin to slowly become two-syllable.
  • Parents—this age is usually so much fun for parents. You can play with your baby more than you were able to before. You are likely working with your baby to try to teach him to sit up and to crawl, and you can talk to your baby and get noises in return.

    The smiles and the laughter that accompany this month are irreplaceable for parents, and you may find yourself doing extremely silly things on a regular basis so you can get as many of these as possible.
    It is an excellent idea to read to your baby as often as possible, talk to your baby all day long everyday, and sing to your baby whenever you get the chance. While, since your baby doesn’t understand most of what you say, it may seem that this is pointless, it really isn’t. Studies have proven that babies who are talked and read to often almost always grow up to talk more quickly and have better speech than their peers.
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