Your Baby's Physical Development: Month 4
Get ready to babyproof your home as your baby starts to move with gusto. Find out more about his physical development in the fourth month.
If your baby hasn't started to get his move on yet, he'll begin to this month. Month four typically brings a much more mobile baby, and although he won't be crawling just yet, Baby will definitely be active -- rolling more often, wiggling about, and eager to sit and stand with your help.
What to expect: Floor play continues to be essential for Baby to develop strength in his arms, legs, and core. This month, your little guy will be able to hold his chest and head much higher up off of the ground when lying on his belly. He may be able to roll over both ways (though back-to-tummy is harder and might take longer to master), which can translate to a much more mobile baby. Your baby may enjoy sitting propped up, with you nearby to catch him when he topples over, and standing as he holds onto your hands.
It might seem as though someone has turned on the drool faucet this month as your baby may begin to teethe. (And even if teeth are a few months away, he'll still be interested in putting things into his mouth.) Your pediatrician may suggest starting solids this month, but even if you decide to wait to offer foods, your baby may enjoy sitting at the table with the family for mealtimes.
Progression: Your baby will likely become better and more controlled when rolling over as the month continues as strength and her coordination improves.
How to help: Provide your baby with ample time to play and explore on the floor, though she may start to enjoy a stationary activity center this month. Be sure to continue to allow floor time even if your baby loves the stationary activity center much more, as it's essential for his physical development. "Floor play helps the development of upper body strength and helps to avoid misshapen heads," explains Jennifer Shu, M.D., a pediatrician, Parents advisor, and co-author of Heading Home with Your Newborn. Give Baby the opportunity to sit up -- while seated on the floor, place her between your outstretched legs to provide support and safety -- and you may find that your little one loves going from sitting to standing repeatedly as she starts to realize how much more she can see from both perspectives.
Try offering a hand or holding a favorite toy toward your baby's side to encourage him to reach and roll over. Be sure to babyproof the house (or at the very least the areas where your little one spends his time) and never leave baby unattended on a bed, couch, or changing table as his new moves can quickly result in an unintended fall.
Don't freak out if: your baby is content to stay lying on his back or his belly and isn't rolling just yet; some babies are naturally more active than others. Alternatively, if toward the month's end your baby is up on hands and knees and looks like he's ready to start crawling, he very well might be!
When you should you worry: If your baby doesn't seem to be getting stronger, improving with head control, or isn't moving or wiggling more than in the past, check in with your doctor to make sure that everything is developing as it should. If your baby has stiff or extremely floppy muscles, make a call right away.
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