An infant's fourth month is precisely the start of the phase when parents start finding delight in her innumerable tiny advances. This is the time to observe more intense smiles from her; experience smiles turning into laughter, listen to her sweet coos and see her gurgling for the first time. The baby’s emotional connection with you has enhanced. Her growing activity independence gives you some time for yourself, but don't forget to be more vigilant.
Baby Development — Week 16
- Increased dexterity is a substantial advancement in week 16 of the baby’s growth. She exhibits better motor skills now and can reach out more efficiently to hold her toys or things around her. She'll be able to grasp the rattle with both hands now.
- A noteworthy leap in this age is her head control ability with support. That certainly is a breather for you as her initially wobbly head is not a concern anymore. She'll be able to raise her head 90 degrees when placed on stomach.
- She would now be about double her birth weight, and the weight gain will now slow down to 20g a day.
- With increased leg and feet strength, the baby can now push herself up when lying on her stomach.
- Mouthing off can initiate in sixteen-week old babies. If yours is already there, you may notice that first tooth would be close to sprouting. She'll also start placing small objects in her mouth around this time.
- Some babies give a tough nighttime to their mothers during initial 13 to 14 weeks. Stepping into the 16th week, their sleep duration considerably raises as they can easily sleep 8 hours at a stretch.
- Now that the baby has developed an understanding of cause-effect relationships, she will begin to anticipate feeding when she sees the bottle.
- She will now demand attention by fussing and crying if she feels you're around but not constantly looking at her. Research has suggested that soothing the baby more rather than making her sooth herself is a better, more effective approach.
- She will now show tell-tale signs of beginning hand-eye coordination as she tries to pick toys up off the floor. Although, it would be impossible for her to do so because the required muscle strength will still take time to develop.
Sensory, Social and Emotional Development
- Week 16 marks the beginning of the brain booster phase when the baby starts following movements. This can be explicitly noted when something is moved in front of the baby’s eyes in slow to quicker movements.
- This week will introduce sensory exploration for your baby with a better acquaintance with vision and taste. She can easily catch a shiny and vibrant object around her and take it in her mouth and taste, so be careful of her surroundings.
- You can spot your baby responding better in her 16th week. Experts call this a critical period because, at this age, babies have begun considering themselves as distinct entities. They start responding better now and even draw clues from others’ actions. For example, the baby learns that crying is a great attention puller as it would bring her mother or another member closer.
- She will have an increased eye contact with parents and other family members.
- This is the start of effective communication from your baby. She inherently learns to draw the focus of those around with sounds — like gurgles, coos or vowels, and even loud noises.
- She gets quite expressive in her sixteenth week as the purview of her facial gestures widens now. You can see her surprised, smirking and angered for short durations.
- A baby completing her fourth month can now competently read your facial expressions and sense what your message is from your vocal tone.
- A fun idea for play at this stage is to not just talk to the baby and converse with her in terms of day to day interactions, but also repeat the coos, ahhs, and the gurgling sounds she makes. This would encourage her to interact further and provide her with a more primitive but understandable cues for vocal tone for different emotions and expressions.
- If she can sustain her head erect and has sufficient head support, you could use an infant swing to give her stimulation with movement.
- If she is still unable to roll over, help her practice the same.
As your little one hits the four-month mark, here's a brief summary of skills babies her age develop- either now or in near future. Keep in mind that these milestones may differ within a range of few weeks and that's normal.
- Mastered Skills (most children can do): Can hold head up steadily, Can bear weight on legs with support, Coos when you talk to her
- Emerging Skills (half the children can do): Grasps toys, Can reach for objects, Rolls over.
- Advanced Skills (a few children can do): Imitates speech sounds (mama,dada), May sprout teeth.
Signs of Developmental Delay:
Along with the enchanting experience of watching your angel grow and progress each day, comes the silent but pervasive fear for her holistic well-being. Always remember that an upside of spotting developmental delays early on means a better prognosis and less of a challenge. A delay is possible if:
- Cooing and gurgling are important early signs of speech development and are the building blocks of future vowel sounds and babbling. The lack of the same could indicate speech delay.
- Your baby should be turning in the direction of your voice or other familiar sounds and must recognize them and react appropriately. The lack of it could indicate hearing deficiencies or other neurodevelopmental conditions.
- If she doesn't reach for objects to put them in her mouth and seems disinterested in show-and-tell activities, it could hint to a cognitive delay.
Contact your Pediatrician:
- Weight gain is anticipated in week 16 and if you don’t notice that, contact your pediatrician.
- For anything going against the expected growth milestone, such as the number of sleep hours, sensory skill development, eating volume, etc, visiting your pediatrician is desirable.
Check for the vaccination schedule in the previous weeks, if all the vaccines have been given, there is none required for this week.
Assist your baby in her tiny steps to an overall growth and remember to track her development constantly. Babies are a joy and responsibility in equal measures, take care of your little darling and actively facilitate her developmental needs. Also, now would be the right time to pay close attention to her safety and put proofing systems in place. She will start crawling
soon and her surroundings need to be safe and hygienic. Savour every little moment with your precious, she will never be sixteen weeks old again, happy mommy'ing!