Understanding Your 4-Month Old Baby
At 4-months old, your baby will be starting to go through all kinds of changes as they grow and develop. This can be a trying time for babies and their parents as they adapt to new routines, but most of these changes are completely normal and nothing to worry about. We answer some of the most common questions parents have at this time.
Is my 4-month old teething?
Babies usually start teething from 4-months onwards, but some babies may start from 3-months. As teething is likely to make your baby quite grouchy they will probably seek comfort from suckling, and this can help with the pain and discomfort they may be feeling.
Teething can scare some breastfeeding mums because it can cause soreness and discomfort if their baby tries to sooth teething pains during nursing. But, if you’re wondering how to get a teething baby to sleep, nursing can help. Try giving them a cold teething ring beforehand and they will be less likely to try to find relief during.
If your baby bites down during breastfeeding, be aware that it’s probably not because there’s anything wrong with your milk or that they don’t want to nurse anymore; teething can be uncomfortable even in the months before you see any teeth through their gums and it could just be that they have started teething.
Your baby may also want to put everything they get hold of in their mouths – regardless of what it is that they find to put in! This is because not only will they have the sensation to bite down on things to relieve teething pains, they’ll have also learnt the action of moving hand to mouth.
Keep your baby safe by checking their surroundings and removing any objects that could cause choking or injury if swallowed, and move any breakable or dangerous items out of baby’s reach.
Why does my 4-month old wake during the night?
Understanding a 4-month old’s sleep schedule can be tough, and it’s common for babies at around this age to start sleeping less at night. This can cause some parents to worry about the quality of their milk supply, or whether they need to start introducing solid foods in an attempt to get their baby to sleep for longer. However, there’s usually a good reason for this and it’s rarely cause for panic.
At 4-months, your baby is likely to be quite active during the day, using a lot of energy, which will make them tired. Your baby may not be able to stay awake for as long as they previously could, and using this additional energy can make them hungrier much sooner after the last feed of the day. This can cause them to sleep less and wake at night for another feed, or several.
The more aware your baby becomes, the more they may resist daytime naps and become overtired while they adjust to their new routine. There’s a chance they’ll also become more preoccupied during nursing, so it can help to avoid distractions by sitting in a quiet, darkened room.
Your baby’s awake/ sleep pattern may be disrupted for up to six or seven months before they settle again, but every baby is different, so it could be a little longer or shorter. It’s important to give your baby time to grow and adapt while they go through this phase.
How much should a 4-month old sleep?
According to the NHS, 4-month old babies should be sleeping between three and five hours in the day and between 10 and 11 hours at night. Sleeping requirements can hugely vary between babies, but if you’re concerned that your baby is having too much or too little sleep, you should speak to your doctor who will be able to help.
How much should a 4-month old eat?
Your breastmilk is the best and most complete nutrition for your baby with all the nutrients, vitamins, and antibodies they need for the first six months of their life.
Breastfeeding is a supply and demand connection between you and your baby, so if you are feeding on demand (when your baby is hungry and not at set regular times), you should be producing enough breastmilk to satisfy their needs. This process will teach your body how much milk is needed and it will respond with the right amount.
As your baby develops, you may feel pressured to start them on solids, but the UK’s National Health Service recommends waiting until they are at least 6-months old. This allows your baby’s digestive system time to mature.
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