4-Month-Old Milestones: Your Baby's Development At 4 Months
One of the joys of being a parent is getting to watch your baby grow and learn new skills. But you’ll want to know the 4-month-old milestones and when you can expect your little one to be able to do certain things.
This article will explain everything you need to know to feel confident that your baby’s development is on the right track.
Table Of Contents
- What Are Developmental Milestones And Why Do They Matter?
- Specific 4-Month-Old Milestones (from the CDC)
- Checking On Your Baby’s Developmental Progress
- Help Your Baby Achieve Their 4-Month-Old Milestones
- Skills And More Skills At 4 Months Old!
What Are Developmental Milestones And Why Do They Matter?
Developmental Milestones is a term that may sound a little intimidating at first. But it simply refers to a list of functional skills, developed by experts, that 75% of babies have at a certain age.
Knowing these milestones can be very useful. They can explain your child’s behavior, help you take an active role in their development, and alert you when your baby needs extra help and support.
Specific 4-Month-Old Milestones (from the CDC)
1) Social/Emotional Development
Your baby tries to get your attention by looking at you, smiling, making sounds, and moving. And when you try to make your baby laugh, they will chuckle in response. Just don’t expect a full-on laugh at this age.
2) Language/Communication Development
Your baby responds to you when you talk to them by turning their head toward you or making sounds. They may also make “oooh” and “aaah” cooing sounds on their own. They won’t yet be able to speak, but they’ll be well on their way to learning.
3) Cognitive Development
Your baby is beginning to think and solve problems. For instance, they will begin to open their mouths when they see their bottle. They are also beginning to show interest in their hands.
4) Movement/Physical Development
Your baby is learning to reach out toward toys and hold on to them. They can hold up their head on their own, push up onto their forearms during tummy time, and bring their hands to their mouth.
Checking On Your Baby’s Developmental Progress
Assessment And Tracking Tools
There are some wonderful online tools you can use to keep track of your little one’s 4-month-old milestones. Take a look at the list below and choose the ones that you find useful.
- CDC Developmental Milestones Checklists
- Download the CDC’s Milestone Tracker App from Google Play or the App Store and the Milestone Moments Booklet.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics has a website for parents and caregivers called HealthyChildren.org where you can learn more about Developmental Screenings.
- Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative’s Well Visit Planner can save you time on filling out forms in the doctor’s office and provides lots of other great resources.
Help Your Baby Achieve Their 4-Month-Old Milestones
Did you know that you are your baby’s first teacher?
The months of infancy are a crucial learning time. You can have a huge impact on your baby’s brain development by taking the simple and valuable actions below. Think of it as a brain workout for your baby.
Talk To Your Baby
Your baby forms thousands of connections, called synapses, in their brain every hour. Those connections form when you talk to them. Spend time one on one so they know you care and that you are listening.
Baby talk might sound silly, but there’s a good reason we do it. It’s exaggerated, a combination of talking and cooing that contains lots of inflection and tone changes that light up their brain. Babies pay more attention to baby talk than to regular adult speech, which sounds dull in comparison.
Read To Your Baby
Reading is another form of speaking to your child, and we know how important words are to development. Baby books contain lots of repetition and rhyme — powerful learning tools that help us remember things easier.
It’s so much fun to revisit your favorite baby books from your own childhood. Read them again with your baby. Storytime is a wonderful time to bond!
Play simple games like "Peek-A-Boo," "This Little Piggy," and "Pat-A-Cake" to teach your baby about actions and reactions. Smile and laugh as you play to show them you are engaged and enjoying yourself.
Listen To Music Or Sing
Music benefits the developing brain in so many ways. It stimulates growth before birth and long after. It is very effective in helping babies learn language and reading skills.
Our voices are the musical instruments we are born with. When you sing to your baby, not only do they get the benefit of hearing music, but your voice is calming and familiar to them.
Your 4-month-old baby can move their hands, sway, and bounce to music, which helps build physical strength. They will hear and absorb new words and sounds.
Music stimulates the production of feel-good chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin, which encourages empathy and sharing responses. It can also soothe and slow the heartbeat, so it’s a great thing to add to your little one’s bedtime routine.
The bottom line is that listening to music makes your child smarter.
Another way to get music into their life is to offer your baby musical toys or instruments, like rattles or maracas, bells, and sound-makers.
At this stage, your little one will be able to reach for and grasp a toy but not pick it up on their own, so hand them brightly colored toys and objects with different textured surfaces from smooth and cool, to rough, to soft and velvety.
Be sure the toys you offer your baby have smooth, rounded edges so they can’t hurt themselves and are non-toxic since babies are bound to try to put things in their mouths.
Use A Mirror
Mirrors can be an important and fascinating learning toy for a baby. Place your little one in front of a securely mounted mirror and let them look at their own face. They love looking at faces and will slowly begin to recognize that face in the mirror as their own.
You can also give them mirror toys to interact with.
Mimic Their Sounds
A recent study by the National Institutes of Health shows that parents who respond to their baby’s babbling sounds can speed up their language development.
Mimic your little one in a playful way to show them they are communicating.
Incorporate Gentle Touch
Gentle touch actually affects your babies’ DNA and their brain development. This can be done through baby massage, which helps them sleep better and fuss less. There are also amazing benefits of gentle touch for moms that include better breastfeeding and reduction in postpartum depression.
Ensure Daily Tummy Time
Tummy time means you simply place your baby on their stomach for a short time while you supervise them. They should be awake while on their stomach, and there’s no need to do this for longer than 15 minutes a day.
This position encourages them to lift up their head, and that helps them develop the motor skills they need later to sit up and to crawl. They will learn to push themselves up on their forearms and build muscles in their arms, shoulders, and neck.
What If Your Baby Doesn’t Achieve Their 4-Month-Old Milestones?
Not every baby will hit every developmental milestone on time. That’s OK! It doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong. But it is important to pay attention because when there is a problem, early intervention can make a world of difference.
Let’s take a look at what you can do.
Know The Warning Signs
Your 4-month-old baby should have been smiling, reacting to loud noises, grasping objects, following movement with their eyes, and holding up their own head for a few weeks now.
They should also be babbling, putting things in or near their mouth, and pressing down with their feet when they are on a firm surface.
If your baby is not doing some or all of these things, you may want to reach out to your pediatrician.
The old saying, “Knowledge is power,” may be a bit cliche, but it makes a good point. It can be very empowering to learn more about development when watching for those 4-month-old milestones.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics’ website for parents, HealthyChildren.org, is a good place to learn more about developmental disabilities.
- The Mayo Clinic Has Plenty Of Free Resources That You Can Sign Up To Receive.
- Check to see if your state has an early intervention program.
Create A Great Sleep Environment
All of their learning and growing can affect your baby’s sleep. Hopefully, your precious baby is sleeping soundly, but there are some things you can do to ensure the best and safest sleep environment.
For safe sleep, always follow the safe sleep guidelines. Remember not to leave toys in the crib with your little one, and avoid blankets or covers of any kind at this age.
Contact Your Pediatrician
If you still have concerns, contact your pediatrician. Your child should have over a dozen regular well-child visits in their first six years. These are the perfect times to share the things you’ve noticed about behavior and functional skills.
Your baby's doctor can let you know if they have any concerns and can guide you in the right direction to find a solution.
Skills And More Skills At 4 Months Old!
Your baby is learning and growing every day. It’s very exciting to see those 4-month-old-milestones happen!
At Newton Baby, we are interested in every aspect of development, especially good sleep for your newest family member.
Whether your 4-month-old has sleep regression or something else keeping them awake, we are here for you with everything your baby needs for a good night’s sleep, including the wonderful Newton Baby Crib Mattress.
Your family is going to have so much fun learning and growing together!