Infant Development: Your Baby's Fourth Month

What to expect developmentally during a baby's fourth month of life.

You have successfully mastered the first three months of your baby's life. She is slowly making the transition from a delicate newborn into a rambunctious baby. During the previous months, she has started to coo and gurgle, while smiling at you the entire time. She has had entire conversations full of her own baby language in response to your vocal cues and is starting to recognize the faces and sounds around her more and more every single day. During this fourth month, what should you and your partner expect from your growing baby?

As she started to do during the third month, your baby will still be sleeping for long stretches through the night. Granted, she will not maintain the exact same sleep schedule as you do, but she has begun to differentiate between day and night and the long sleep associated with it. Around the fourth month, your baby will probably start to roll around from lying on his stomach to flat on his back. You may find that when your baby is asleep in her crib, she may start to roll over and sleep on her stomach during part of the night. While her risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is minimized by the time she is four, you will still want to check on her from time to time. In addition, since she is beginning to shove things into her mouth, keep all small toys and stuffed animals out of her sleeping crib. You may or may not want to keep her blankets out of her crib at night.

Your baby's neck will be much stronger by the time she reaches month four. She will be able to lift her head up. Because of this, you will want to watch out for head butts from your baby when you are holding her on your shoulder for burping. Her movements, after all, are still quite sporadic. You and your partner might also catch your baby laughing from time to time. These might be random laughs or a reaction to a fun situation. Your four month old will also probably begin to put her hands in her mouth, or your fingers, if you're not careful!

In order to help your baby with her baby talk, be sure to speak to her all the time. Make sure that everybody in your household speaks to her often. You may also want to mimic the baby sounds she makes, so she begins to understand the basic skills of "conversation." By mimicking her, you will also be encouraging her to speak more often. During her fourth month, you might want to start repeating certain words to her to see if she can say them back to you. Naturally, you will not want to start with hard words like, "psychological," but rather words like "mama" and "papa."

One thing you will want to do is to jot down any concerns or questions you may have about your baby's development to discuss with your doctor. Be sure to keep your baby up to date with both her immunization shots and her monthly doctor's visits.

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