A baby's fourth month is often one of two major stages: the end of maternity leave and the start of food diversification. We also take stock of baby's sleep, wakefulness and development at 4 months.
At 4 months, baby experiences great upheavals . His emotions are extreme, between the happy discovery of salty and especially the pleasure of sweet, and teething, which can make him grumpy and inconvenient. Also, with the end of maternity leave of mom, he changes his mode of care, and must adapt to a new rhythm.
Big program therefore, for the fourth month of baby!
Since last month, baby has still made a lot of progress, especially motor. He holds his head better and better, just as he raises it more and more and longer, when he is on his stomach. It does not sit still and it is not recommended to install it in a seated position by wedging it with cushions. His back doesn't have the necessary muscular strength yet, there's no point in skipping the steps! In addition, baby uses his hands more and more. He grasps objects within his reach and those handed to him. He then brings them to his mouth. You will also notice that he begins to assert his tastes , preferring certain toys. Baby starts also to roll over from stomach to back . He also knows how to step aside. Furthermore, he communicate more and more with those around you , which he knows how to recognize. It now makes different sounds and squeaks, to show it's there. You can show him new ones so that he tries to reproduce them. As Doctor Nathan, a pediatrician in Montreuil, explains, your baby may start to be a little wary of strangers. : ' It's the start of the separation anxiety . This period often coincides with the moment when the mother returns to work and when the child is looked after. His parents are no longer with him permanently and he may have minor anxieties when he finds them in the evening. .'
At four months, the baby's day is busy. Normal, he is more and more active and curious about his surroundings. If the nap is still his favorite activity, at the rate of two big naps a day, he also loves walks and playtime. He particularly appreciates the exchanges with mum or dad, but he also takes pleasure in handling his first rattles. And since he now knows perfectly how to connect his hands and his mouth, everything he catches has a good chance of being tasted! And to calm baby down from his busy days, baby particularly likes to take a bath in the evening...
At four months, baby begins to want to change position and tries to roll over . He may not be able to do this, or he may turn only the upper body. Don't hesitate to give him a little push by slapping his buttocks to get him used to movement. Thus stimulated, the reversal will be quickly acquired. On the other hand, if baby still can't do it at 5/6 months, or if he can only do it on one side, do not hesitate to talk to the pediatrician about it during the monthly visit.
At 4 months, baby naps are getting longer. His sleeping pattern is changing and he now goes to three naps a day of about 45 minutes. On your side, take the opportunity to rest, when baby sleeps, you may be able to recover the short nights you spent.
The 4th month can mark the arrival of a big step for baby: that of food diversification ! Again, there is no obligation at this time. If you and your baby prefer to wait a little longer, that's okay. Your baby may already have grown up to four meals a day. His feeding bottle makes, on average, 210ml. If there are five, the feedings are then, on average, 180 ml. Again, these are averages! Try to detach yourself as much as possible from the doses listed on the cans of artificial milk! The most important thing is to follow your child's needs.
To get him to eat his purees or his first soft morsels, babies need to be in a seated position, with real support that does not skimp on comfort either. You can just as well put it without its deckchair, if it has a multi-position backrest that lowers or raises on several inclinations, or quite simply inaugurate a high chair. There are even seat adapters, functional and less intrusive, which can do the job just as well: the main thing is that baby is well strapped, and his back is completely supported. For safety, avoid raising a low deckchair by putting it on the table. If you're short on space or don't want to spend too much on items with redundant functions, consider from birth deckchairs that have sliding bars to adjust in height.
If you feel like your baby is suckling more, rest assured it's absolutely normal: ' Your baby may start splitting meals at 4 months and even to wake up at night to eat. He is working out and needs more energy ', explains Dr. Noémie Nathan.
If you go back to work and breastfeed your baby, you will probably have to wean him. Be aware that this step takes a bit of time, so don't wait until the last moment. Start slowly and gradually one month before the date of weaning desired, by introducing a bottle instead of a breastfeed. Initially, you can even give 30 ml, then supplement at the breast, then 60 ml, and finally, 90 ml with a supplement at the breast until you reach a full bottle. It is better to have a third party bottle feed the child rather than the breastfeeding mother. The latter can also manually empty her breasts of the overflow of milk, but without drawing it in order to avoid stimulating lactation. Also, you do not have to delete all feedings and can keep those in the morning and evening, for example. The most important thing is to find the plan that works best for you and that you feel comfortable with.
Your pediatrician may advise you to start food diversification . Some doctors will decide to wait a little longer. In any case, it is better that you wait for his green light. As for the introduction of vegetables, the ideal is to start at lunchtime. Several methods are possible: for example, you can add a vegetable broth to the bottle water which will introduce your baby to a new taste, without changing the consistency of the bottle. The beginnings of diversification are mainly used to introduce baby to the spoon. For example, you can give him the bottle, then a vegetable purée right after. At first, he will only eat a few spoonfuls, and will accept more and more later. Dr. Nathan recommends introducing one new vegetable per day ( the carrot, the white of the leeks, the beans, the spinach .) then moving on to fruit 15 days later. The fruits can be introduced at snack time, proceeding in the same way, first the bottle, then the compote. Among the recommended fruits: apples, bananas, apricots, pears… On the other hand, avoid strawberries which can, when the child is too young, cause allergies. If in doubt, do not hesitate to ask your doctor. Finally, for heavy eaters, the pediatrician may advise you to add flour to the evening bottle, in order to thicken the milk. Again, refer to what your doctor tells you because not all flours have the same properties.
Note that it is essential not to accustom baby to eating foods that are too sweet, from the start of food diversification.
During the 4th month visit , the pediatrician continues to make sure your baby is growing well and gives you advice on his diet. Do not start diversification without his agreement. At four months, a child weighs an average of 6.4 kg and is 62 cm tall . If your baby isn't sleeping through the night yet – which is especially difficult when you're starting to work again – talk to your pediatrician. He will be able to give you the right advice to solve this problem.
During this 4th month visit, your baby also receives reminder of vaccines received in the 2nd month. Thus, the pediatrician will inject him with the second dose of vaccines against DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and poliomyelitis), whooping cough, HIB, hepatitis B and pneumococcus. As usual, these vaccinations can cause some small reactions (light fever, small pimples...) Don't worry, unless your child develops hives, has difficulty breathing or has a high heart rate: it is better to contact your doctor.
Baby has red cheeks, he drools, has irritated buttocks? It is possible that these signs mark the onset of inflammatory teething . If your child seems sore and uncomfortable, you can give paracetamol or homeopathy for relief. Some precocious babies have their first tooth (often a lower incisor) as early as 4 months.
At 4 months, baby is now interacting with his surroundings, and only asks to share and have fun. Also, to stimulate his awakening, you can do these activities with him, and buy him his very first toys.