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4 month old baby: Development & nutrition advice

4 months - baby development, nutritional advice and checklist Say it again

Summary

Your intelligent 4-month-old baby is now able to learn from the things you do. Talking, singing and reading out loud can help them recognise sounds, while their newfound ability to roll over and sit up all adds to their increasing independence. This extra activity may lead to a bigger appetite, but weaning is not recommended until six months and certainly not before seventeen weeks.

What’s happening this month?

Your 4-month-old baby has been developing dramatically, and you will notice plenty more over the next two months. Now they are able to learn from you, hearing your voice and seeing how you do things is as important as ever to enhance their developing skillset.

What to feed your 4-month-old baby

While you may be tempted to satisfy their increased hunger with a first taste of puréed food, it is worth remembering that the Department of Health and World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend breastfeeding as their sole source of nutrition until the age of six months old1. However, if you do decide to introduce solid foods before then, certainly wait until after your baby has reached seventeen weeks of age.

Finding their voice

Every parent longs to hear their baby’s first words. As your 4-month-old starts to experiment with sounds they can make easily on their lips, you may well hear them utter ‘ma’ and ‘pa’.

“Babies combine sounds and body language to get their point across.”

This experimentation often comes at a time when they start to cry less and ‘talk’ more, using body language to help them communicate2. Over the coming months this will improve, as they learn how to alter the sounds they make by changing the shape of their tongue and mouth2.

Your baby’s developing eyesight

At 4 months old, your baby’s depth of perception begins to develop. Up until now, they will have had difficulty locating the exact position, size and shape of objects around them. But that is all about to change as they master the skill of binocular vision – the ability to use both eyes together – which will enable them to accurately track moving objects and people2. As this skill develops, you may begin to see signs that your baby is improving their hand–eye coordination.

"Your baby can now see as far as their toes and is able to focus better."

Their improved vision helps the world around them seem more inviting. And as they start reaching out for nearby things, you might want to tie your hair back and keep your glasses (if you wear them) out of reach.

The importance of LCPs is clear to see

When it comes to your 4-month-old’s nutritional needs, two LCPs in particular – AA (Omega 6) and DHA (Omega 3), found naturally in breast milk – are still vital to ensure the continuing development of your baby’s brain, eyes and nervous system. Including salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and other LCP-rich foods in your breastfeeding diet can help encourage your baby’s visual and brain development and movement skills.

Ways to stimulate your baby’s speech and sight

Although they might not understand you, talking, reading and singing to your baby all help them process the sounds they will eventually learn to copy. Similarly, games like the mutual gazing game can help improve their ability to track objects with their eyes2. To play, simply capture your 4-month-old’s attention, then tilt your head and wait for them to copy you. Then rotate your body, and watch them turn their head to keep you in view.

View references

Hide references

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1. WHO. Breastfeeding [Online]. Available at: www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/ [Accessed April 2014]

2. Parenting. Month-by-month guide to baby's milestones [Online]. Available at: www.parenting.com/article/month-by-month-guide-to-babys-milestones [Accessed April 2014]

Last reviewed: 13th August 2014

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