Development and Characteristics of a Four Month Old Baby

Parenting September 26, 2008 Print Friendly and PDF

Parenting Tips for Your 4 Month Old Baby

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How I Grow

  • I turn my head in all directions.
  • I lift my head forward when I’m on my back and grab my feet with my hands.
  • I sit up with my head and back straight if you support my body.
  • I prefer sitting, instead of lying down. It’s more interesting!
  • I roll from side to side, and I might even be able to roll from my tummy to my back. Watch out! I could quickly roll off a counter, changing table, or bed.
  • My reaching and grasping skills are getting better. At first, I had to look from my hand to the toy. As I get better, I grab for the toy without looking at my hands first.
  • I try to move a toy from one hand to the other.
  • I put things in my mouth.
  • I splash and kick with my hands and feet while getting a bath.

How I Talk

  • I babble and imitate sounds, such as coughing and clicking my tongue. Make the same sounds back to me.
  • I coo, grin, or squeal with joy when you talk to me.

How I Understand

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  • My hands are so cool! I really like looking at them.
  • I like some people, but I may be shy around others.
  • I can remember where an object was hidden for a few seconds.
  • I’m starting to learn that things go together. When I hear the water running, I look forward to splashing in my bathtub.
  • I remember important people, such as Mom and Dad, from night to morning or even longer. I may have a favorite toy or blanket.
  • I know if something is near or far. I’m more aware of depth and distance.

How I Feel

  • I get excited when I have fun. Everything is a game to me.
  • I may cry and get mad when you stop paying attention to me or take a toy away.
  • I love it when you play music and dance with me.
  • When you hug, kiss, and hold me, I feel loved.

Help Me Learn

  • Put me on my tummy and hold up a toy for me to follow. This helps me learn to roll over.
  • Blow soap bubbles for me to follow with my eyes.
  • Read nursery rhymes to me. I like to listen to your voice.
  • I like looking at myself in the mirror. Give me a kiss while both of us are looking in the mirror. Move me close to the mirror, then away. Let me touch the mirror.
  • Play, “This little piggy…” with my toes or fingers.
  • If I seem strong enough, encourage me to get on my hands and knees and rock my body. Show me what to do.
  • Set me on the floor and hold me up. Let me try to sit alone and balance myself.
  • Place toys out of my reach and ask me to get them. Watch me roll or scoot!

How Am I Doing?

Look back at last month’s newsletter list. Am I doing anything now that I wasn’t then? Look for my growth in each area, and gently help me to learn new things. If I was born preterm, use my due date, rather than my birth date, for keeping track of how I am developing. For more information on your baby's development, check out developmental milestones at the American Academy of Pediatrics Web site: or the Centers for Disease Control at

Learn more about Your 4 Month Old Baby from Just In Time Parenting. You can also go to our Resource Links for additional information on child care and development.

Note to Parents: When reading this newsletter, remember: Every baby is different. Children may do things earlier or later than described here. This newsletter gives equal space and time to both sexes. If he or she is used, we are talking about all babies.
References: These materials were adapted by authors from Extension Just in Time Parenting Newsletters in California, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Tennessee, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.