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Well checkup: 4 months

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Development

At this age, your baby may:

  • raise her head high when lying on her stomach
  • raise her body on the hands when lying on her stomach
  • roll from her stomach to her back
  • play with her hands and hold a rattle
  • look at a mobile and move her hands
  • start social contact by smiling, cooing, laughing and squealing
  • cry when a parent moves out of sight
  • recognize when a bottle is being prepared and be able to wait for it for a short time

Feeding tips

  • Solid foods can be introduced when your baby is between 4 and 6 months old after talking with your baby’s health care provider. If your baby doesn’t seem satisfied with breastmilk or formula, you may give her rice cereal. Feeding her rice cereal will not likely affect sleeping patterns.
  • Never prop up a bottle to feed your baby.
  • Do not give your baby fruit juice on a regular basis. You may give your baby diluted prune juice for constipation.
  • Give your baby 400 IU of a vitamin D supplement every day.

Stools

  • If you give your baby rice cereal, her stools may be less firm, occur less often, have a strong odor or become a different color.

Sleep

  • About 80 percent of 4-month-old babies sleep at least 5 to 6 hours in a row at night. If your baby doesn’t, put her to bed while she is awake. Do not play with or have a lot of contact with your baby at bedtime.
  • Your baby does not need to be fed if she wakes up during the night.

Safety

  • Use an approved car seat for the height and weight of your baby every time she rides in a vehicle. The car seat must be properly secured in the back seat.
  • According to state law, the car seat must be rear-facing (facing the rear window) until your baby is 1 year old. Safety studies suggest that babies should be rear-facing until age 2.
  • Be a good role model for your baby. Do not talk or text on your cellphone while driving.
  • Do not let anyone smoke in your house or car at any time.
  • Never leave your baby alone, even for a few seconds. Your baby may be able to roll over. Take any safety precautions.
  • Keep baby powders, cleaners and small objects out of your baby's reach at all times.
  • Do not use infant walkers. They can cause serious accidents and serve no useful purpose. A better choice is an exersaucer.
  • Keep your baby out of the sun. If you are outside, dress your baby in a hat, long-sleeved shirt and pants. Don’t use sunscreen on your baby until she is 6 months old.

What your baby needs

  • Give your baby toys she can shake or bang. A toy that makes noise as it's moved increases your baby's awareness. She will repeat that activity.
  • Sing rhythmic songs or nursery rhymes.
  • Your baby may drool a lot or put objects into her mouth. Make sure your baby is safe from small or sharp objects.
  • Read to your baby every night.

Dental care

  • Clean your baby's mouth with a clean cloth or a soft toothbrush and water.
  • Make regular dental appointments for cleanings and checkups starting at age 3 or earlier if there are questions or concerns. (Starting at the age of 6 months, your baby may need fluoride supplements if you have well water.)

 

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5 Years Old, fifth edition

To avoid awkward sentences, instead of referring to your child as "he/she" or "him/her," this guide will alternate between "he" or she" and "him" or "her."

First published: 02/01/2010
Last updated: 01/01/2014

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts, including the Pediatric Department of Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic