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Understanding your baby at 4 to 6 months

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When she is 4-6 months old, your baby enters the Supported Sitter stage. Your baby will show signs of becoming more social and interactive with others around her. She may entertain you with her babbling, squealing, blowing bubbles and even begin to show a sense of humour. You may also notice that your baby’s motor skills are developing as she tries to hold objects and bring them to her mouth. Soon she will be ready to try her first few bites of solid food.

Friday, March 10th, 2017

As you watch your baby grow, remember that babies develop on different time schedules. So don’t worry if your little one isn’t developing at the same time as other babies of the same stage.

Here are few pointers that will help you understand your baby’s growth and development at this stage.

Physical signs.

Learning to walk: Every developmental stage your baby is experiencing now - and in the months ahead - is geared towards learning to walk. Your baby’s first step during this adventure is gaining control of her head, which is required for sitting, crawling and walking. You’ll see your little one learning to hold her head up when lying on her tummy. Next she will push up on her arms and arch her back to raise her chest. When she is developmentally ready, you can help her learn to balance her upper body by supporting her back with pillows in a sitting position. As she learns to sit without support, she may try the “tripod” position where she leans forward with her arms extended for balance.

Increasing motor abilities: Your baby is also getting better at using her hands to reach out for objects and bring them to her mouth, including her fists and even her toes! During this stage, she will also learn to coordinate her senses, such as vision, touch and hearing, with her increasing motor abilities to help develop skills like grasping, rolling over and sitting up.

Cognitive skills.

Learning to relate to the world: During this stage, your baby’s memory and attention span increase, and you’ll see her concentration improving. She may look at an object for longer periods of time and turn to newer sounds. An important concept that your baby will learn is cause and effect. When she drops things on the floor, she will learn that it starts a chain of responses from people around her. She will also start to understand about object permanence - the idea that things exist even when out of sight.

Social skills.

Learning to communicate: Your Supported Sitter communicates through sounds and crying, but she communicates in nonverbal ways too. For example, she may turn her head away when she’s had enough or doesn’t like something, or cling to you when you try to put her down. She will start to babble and imitate your sentences by making simple sounds like “bah” or “goo”. Your baby can show emotions such as pleasure, fear and frustration.

Your baby’s growth.

Increase in height and weight: Your baby continues to grow rapidly and may gain about 500 gm to 600 gm a month. The height and weight ranges provided in the charts below are representative of the majority of babies at the age specified. Of course, healthy babies can also be outside this range. Remember that your baby’s actual length and weight are not as important as the steady, appropriate rate of her growth. It is important to track your baby’s length and weight over time as this is one of the key indicators of healthy growth and development. So keep plotting your baby’s growth on a growth chart and discuss with your pediatrician at each visit, including if your baby is beginning to follow a different curve on the chart or gaining weight or length slowly.

Typical length and weight for Supported Sitter boys at 4 and 5 months

Age

Length**

Weight**

4 months

58.8 - 65 cm

5.7 – 7.8 kg

5 months

60.6 – 66.9 cm

6.25 – 8.5 kg

**indicates 10th-90th percentile range. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Typical length and weight for Supported Sitter girls at 4 and 5 months

Age

Length**

Weight**

4 months

56.9 – 63 cm

5.2 – 7.16 kg

5 months

58.8 – 65 cm

 

**indicates 10th-90th percentile range

During this stage, your baby may:

Smile at her reflection in a mirror, even though she doesn’t recognise who it is

Rub her nose and stroke your face

Rock on her stomach, kick her legs, and move her arms in a swimming motion

Have full head control when pulled into the sitting position

Follow moving objects with her eyes

Explore toys with her eyes, hands and mouth

Recognise and enjoy familiar routines like feeding or bath time

Use a “raking” grasp to pick up objects

Like to imitate you

Make noise to get your attention

Turn her head away if she dislikes something

What you can do to help your baby’s development?

As a parent you can play an active role in every stage of your baby’s development. Here’s a recap of what your baby might be doing at this stage, plus some things you can do to support her healthy development along the way.

Read to your baby - it’s never too early to start

Give her objects to hold and look at, which use both her brain and developing finger skills

Play hiding games - like peek-a-boo - to teach your baby about object permanence. Hide a block under a blanket or a toy behind you and then reveal them to her

Make frequent eye contact and exaggerate your facial expressions and gestures

Imitate your baby’s sounds, changing the pitch and volume

Show her cause and effect. Have her shake a toy or tambourine to show her that she is making a noise when she rattles it

Use a mirror to play games. Help her pat “mom” or “baby” in the mirror

Talk to your baby as often as possible. Point out interesting things when you’re out together - describe what you’re doing, what you’re seeing in the car, or at the store.

Remember to spend as much time as you can with your baby. Play with her, talk to her and respond to her. This is the best way to make her learn and support her growth and development.

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