Your baby's physical and emotional milestones
Your baby has found his fingers and his toes and is fascinated by these wonderful play things. Because babies of this age also love to repeat actions over and over again, your baby may spend several quiet minutes at a time, contentedly gazing at his hands and feet or reaching out to grab them repeatedly.
Your baby is also becoming more aware of his surroundings and starting to make associations. So he'll know that you give him pleasure and perhaps something like his bath makes him cold or uncomfortable. He will surprise you with giggles and delight you with plenty of smiles.
At this stage it is common for mothers to feel their babies are ready for more than just breastmilk. As a mother you may start looking for signs that your baby is ready to start solids. Experts say that solids can be introduced from 17 weeks, but always check with your paediatrician before doing this.
You may be tempted to start solids in the belief that it will help your baby to sleep through the night – but this is not necessarily true. Besides, your baby to solids too early could provoke an allergy.
Your breastmilk still offers the best nutrition for your baby and if you are able to continue to breastfeed, this is the best option for your little one.
Stimulating your 4-month-old baby
Your baby will start to seek interaction with you and really enjoy her awake times when you can talk to her, play with her fingers and toes and even start to play simple games like peek-a-boo!
Don't forget that your baby is still getting used to all the stimulation her new world offers so she may become easily overstimulated. Look out for signs that she is becoming overwhelmed and remove any stimulus from her environment.
Your baby may have begun to sleep through at this stage. If not, this is the time to gain as much knowledge as you can about teaching your baby good sleeping habits. If you're going to allow bad habits you’re possibly setting yourself up for a long, difficult road of broken nights.
Expert advice for month 4
Your baby is learning something new every day – already she may be imitating your expressions, gestures and sounds. Whenever you change her nappy, feed or bath her, make this quality, stimulating time and enjoy your baby. Encourage her to reach out for her toys and make her back strong with tummy exercises.
She enjoys repetition and routine at this stage. She is at the age where she will take quite readily to another caretaker while you are at work during the day.
Monitoring your baby's milestones
Your doctor, paediatrician or clinic-nurse will be closely monitoring your baby's milestones to make sure there are no developmental delays. Correcting anything outside of the normal range during the first year of life, considerably improves the outcome.
Your doctor will be looking out for diminishing reflexes, eye-hand coordination, muscle tone and reaction time, weight and height gain, appetite, sleeping and behavior patterns.
Do take their advice seriously and follow through with your doctor's suggestions – your baby is dependant on you and corrections, e.g. for a squint, that are easier to correct at this stage, could seriously jeopardise a child's opportunities in the future if neglected.