Your Laughing Four-Month-Old

By the Editors of Your Baby Today

4-month-oldWelcome to the world of the 4-month-old, where every day is filled with exciting new discoveries -- and constant reminders that your baby is preparing to take on the universe. About now, your baby's laugh is likely to be the most welcome sound in your home. She's truly learning to communicate with you and others around her. What fun!

Milestones this month | What your baby is discovering | Oh, sweet sleep | Let's "chat"

Milestones this month*

Your baby can raise herself up on straightened arms while lying on her tummy and look all around.

She can grasp a rattle.

Baby laughs out loud.

She squeals with delight.

Baby smiles spontaneously.

She pays attention to very small objects.

Baby experiments by making new sounds.

She recognizes parents and siblings.

*All babies have their own internal developmental timetable. If your 4-month-old hasn't yet reached these milestones, rest assured that she will in time. If you have concerns about your baby's development, discuss them with her doctor.

What your baby is discovering

  • Hands Because baby can't crawl or walk yet, your little one literally is trying to pull the world toward her. You may notice baby intently studying her hands; at some point, she'll bravely stuff them into her mouth, surprising herself with the knowledge that these fascinating appendages actually are part of her! Once your baby has mastered this skill, she'll try the tricky stuff -- grabbing one hand with the other and then pulling them apart.

  • Toys New skills call for new toys. Your baby will love brightly colored, squeaky toys; soft, bumpy textures are good, too. Give your baby toys with knobs, handles, and loops -- anything that provides an easy grip. Look for safe baby toys that are one solid piece; stay away from those with small parts and ones that could fit entirely into her mouth. Crib gyms and play gyms are great at this age. Your baby can lie under them and squeeze, bat away, or kick at the brightly colored objects that hang within her reach. Mirrors and bells are popular attractions on these gyms, too. Be sure to check the toy package label for information regarding age appropriateness.

  • Laughter Maybe it's a high-pitched giggle or a rumbling belly laugh, but the first few times it erupts from her mouth, your baby may surprise herself. Your positive reactions to her peals of laughter will let her know that she's truly making a joyful noise.

Oh, sweet sleep
Your baby's increased activities also may account for another major 4-month developmental step: She's starting to sleep on a schedule! Most 4-month-olds are sleeping through the night for about nine hours at a stretch. This means that her daytime sleep probably is more predictable now, too -- typically morning and afternoon naps that each last for two to three hours.

Keep in mind that your baby still may stir often during the night, make little noises or perhaps even awaken. If she's not fussing, it's best to leave her alone so she can learn to put herself back to sleep. If she can't fall back to sleep on her own, try speaking softly or patting her first. If that doesn't work, lift her out of the crib for a feeding or diaper change. Keep the lights low, and talk softly and as little as possible. Try not to turn this break into playtime; the more relaxed she is, the more likely she'll fall back to sleep soon.

Let's "chat"

Your 4-month-old is finding all sorts of ways to communicate:

  • She's becoming your family's one-baby band as she tries lots of new ways to connect with you and satisfy her own curiosity. Baby's babbles, though not ready for the Top 40, may have a definite singsong quality to them. Brace yourself for a high pitch and lots of repetition.

  • "Ah goo" or similar vowel-consonant combinations will make up her vocabulary, along with some carefully chosen "oohs" and "ahs." Answer her with the same tones and inflections; she'll love this chat time -- especially if you spice up your end with facial expressions and gestures. These will be her first lessons in learning the art of conversation!

  • Baby's smiles will become more frequent; she may even fake a cough to get your attention. Always take the time to acknowledge these attempts at socializing. You'll know when baby especially wants to visit with you by the look in those bright, eager eyes.

  • Baby also will soon learn how to let you know when she's not in the mood for parent patter. Her eyes may glaze over, she may cover her face with her arm, or she may turn her head away. Baby will begin to learn the power of the protest, too. She may cry out in anger or frustration if you test her patience, especially if you take something away from her.


Get to Know Your Baby!

 1.  Your Amazing One-Month-Old
 2.  Your Cooing 2-Month-Old
 3.  Your Smiling 3-Month-Old
 4.  Your Laughing 4-Month-Old
 5.  Your Rockin' & Rollin' 5-Month-Old
 6.  Your Social 6-Month-Old
 7.  Your Stronger 7-Month-Old
 8.  Your Crawling 8-Month-Old
 9.  Your Intent 9-Month-Old
10. Your Active 10-Month-Old
11. Your Busy 11-Month-Old
12. Wow! Your Baby is 1-Year-Old!

The content on these pages is provided as general information only and should not be substituted for the advice of your physician.