Baby milestones: 4-month-old baby milestones

  • Ergobaby
  • Apr 24, 2024
Ergobaby baby bbouncer

Welcome back to your baby’s delicate development journey. We’ve reached month four and it’s time for “4-month-old baby milestones”, the fourth part of our blog series “Baby’s Developmental Milestones With Ergobaby: Baby’s First Year. So today, together with our expert and midwife Katrin, we want to look at what your baby can already do at the end of their fourth month of life.

Your baby’s urge to move and explore increases during this time and is also the driving force behind their development. They want to grasp, feel, and explore. Not only is everything felt with the fingers, but it also goes straight in their mouth. Smell, taste, shape, and texture – we can still process things like this as adults. That’s why you should never forbid your child to put harmless objects in their mouth.

Baby development – 4-month-old baby milestones:

Symmetrical elbow support in prone position

That was the milestone last month, you may be thinking. And yes, it was. But by the end of the fourth month, your baby now feels confident in it and has mastered it almost to perfection: the legs are stretched out and slightly apart, the upper body is even more upright. Being able to perform this position means that your little one has mastered the basis for free head movement to both sides.

Single elbow support in the prone position

While the big milestone in your baby’s development at three months was characterised by symmetry, this is now slowly being broken again. For example, your baby is now learning single elbow support. This will allow them to move much more freely. If your child sees a toy lying in front of them, they can now shift their weight onto one elbow. With the other hand, they slide forwards over the surface. They bend one leg and stretch the other far back. It almost seems as if he is crawling towards the toy, but at this age he is usually not yet able to do this.

Grasping in prone position

Your baby can now consciously open and close their hands. The innate grasping reflex is therefore diminishing more and more. This means that fine motor skills are now starting to develop. Your little one can now grasp and grasp objects in front of them. At this stage, he or she uses the little finger and the ring finger. It will be quite a while before they can grasp something precisely with two fingers. However, you can currently observe that they are not only grasping with the hand, but with the whole body. This is because the feet also grasp when the hands do.

Reaching in supine position

Lying on their back, your baby is now so well stabilised that they can relax and reach for things that you hand them from the side into his field of vision. Whatever you hold out to them will be grasped and brought directly to his mouth. Objects that are offered centrally in front of the body cannot yet be grasped with one hand. They can only grasp with both hands at the same time, as they cannot yet decide which hand to use. Baby’s brain hemispheres are not yet sufficiently connected to make that decision.

 4-month-old baby milestones: baby's chewing toys

First attempts at turning in the supine position

Your baby wants to move. They may already be trying to turn from their back to their side or even onto their tummy. Every child is at a completely different stage of development here. However, you can help your baby to learn how to turn correctly. Because it is important that they don’t ‘cheat’. The correct turn begins with your baby activating their stomach muscles and bending their body (chin to chest, legs pulled in). Then they (or you) turn them over onto their side until they are lying on their stomach. Only here should the body be stretched out again.

Child plays with saliva and lip closure

“www…mmmm…mm-b…” Yes, your four-month-old baby is trying to make their first consonants. This happens while they play with their saliva and lips. They repeatedly close their lips or press them firmly together and make these bubbling and rubbing sounds. If you speak to them directly, they will probably respond with other speech sounds that are similar to their native language. Why not give it a try?

4-month-old baby milestones – how you can support them

Your 4-month-old baby wants to grasp, feel, and explore everything with their mouth. Take advantage of their curiosity and present them with grasping rings, crackling paper, soft toys, a tear-resistant string of teething beads, a baby gym, play mat or toy bar on their bouncer. This gives your child lots of different shapes, materials and sounds to discover in their own way. You can also help with your baby’s first attempts at rolling over by motivating them to do so again and again. For example, hold their hands and knees when they are lying on their back and slowly rock them back and forth. Or lay your little one on a blanket and carefully lift it sideways so that your little one slowly rolls from the supine to the lateral position. Just make sure that their little arm is not in the way. If they are already turning in one direction or the other almost on their own, a little push with the top leg is often enough for your little one to make it all the way to the prone position (on their tummy).

So, there you have it, the 4-month-old baby milestones. If you don’t want to miss any further steps in your baby’s development, or want to be informed in advance about what’s coming up in the respective week or month? Then sign up for our Baby Steps newsletter. This will keep you up to date with your baby’s developmental steps. Or you can search for “Baby milestones” here on our blog. Over the course of this year, we will publish the milestones in your baby’s development from birth to walking upright. So, keep checking back from time to time for more baby milestones.

Source: Babys in Bewegung, Kienzle-Müller, Wilke-Kaltenbach, Urban & Fischer, 4th edition