Baby Physical Development in 4-Week-Olds
Can you believe it's been a month since your baby made his grand entrance? And whatever your labor was like, it's an entrance you'll never forget—especially if you went through that whole "ring of fire" business. (They say you forget the pain, but at this point it's OK if you're still remembering it like it was yesterday. It practically was!)
What You're Thinking: "Feed, burp, change, sleep, repeat. OK, I think I've got this parenting thing down."
- Your child may be giving you lots of smiles now as a normal part of baby's physical development. Sure, you can't tell if he's grinning at you or if it's just gas, but either way, those smiles are definitely photo-worthy. In these early weeks, babies develop what's technically called a "spontaneous smile," but you'll probably just call it "spontaneously cute."
- By now, some babies are able to lift up their heads almost 45 degrees. (But that pumpkin head is still pretty heavy, so she may still be working on it!) Give her some supervised tummy time by laying her on her stomach to play. Soon enough, she'll strengthen her muscles while she tries to lift her head off the floor.
- What's with all the crying? Crying is one of your baby's first methods of communicating with you. There are cries that say "I'm hungry," "I'm wet," "I want you," "I'm bored," "I'm tired," "I don't feel good" and "I'm uncomfortable." In other words, baby has almost as many cries as you have shoes!
- Some babies develop colic around this time and will keep crying for no apparent reason for hours at a time. If you find yourself in this situation, take baby to the doctor just to make sure he's not sick. If your pediatrician diagnoses colic, rest assured that he'll grow out of it soon (usually by 3 months). Meanwhile, try things like gently rocking, holding him in a carrier, resting him in a vibrating chair and doing your best to make sure you get plenty of rest yourself.
- You realize breastfeeding in bed while lying on your side is the best thing next to sleep. (Hey, you're in bed, aren't you?)
- You talk in baby talk—that really slow, high-pitched voice with the exaggerated facial expressions you thought sounded and looked so annoying before you had your own audience that loves the really slow, high-pitched voice with the exaggerated facial expressions.
- You discover the drive-around-the-neighborhood trick to get your baby to sleep. Now if only someone could just drive the whole family around so you could all get some sleep.
- You stare at your baby wondering, "this little thing is going to actually talk one day? ... in actual sentences?"
No matter how many times you silently will people to "keep your germs away from my baby!" your baby will eventually be exposed to germs. Luckily there are things you can do to help prevent colds and soothe sickness. (Now if there were only something you could do to prevent touchy-feely strangers.) Read more ...
Everything you ever wanted to know ... and were just about to ask ...
- Should I wake my newborn up to comfort her when she fusses, or cries during sleep?
- If my baby is underweight, should I start using formula instead of breast milk?
- My breastfed baby is gassy a lot of the time. What foods should I avoid?
- Ways to Soothe a Crying Baby
- Introducing a Bottle to a Breastfed Baby
Give baby's hardworking neck a little love.
Buy It: New Mom's Stress Survival Kit
Being a new mom is incredible ... and incredibly stressful!
Share It: The Advisor
Getting parenting advice from everyone and your mother? Let them all know who's the mama now!
Discuss It: Chat with other new mamas and papas on our Baby Board.
BACK: Newborn Development: Week 3 / NEXT: Newborn Development: Week 5
All babies grow and develop at different rates. So please don't compare your kid with so-and-so's baby from across the street—you'll just drive yourself nuts. If you have any concerns, bring them up with your pediatrician at your baby's next checkup.