As your baby reaches 4 months, his stomach has grown bigger so he doesn't need to feed so often -- just four or five times a day. But he'll still gain weight -- his need to feed just tapers off as he gets older, becoming more like that of older children and adults. Now his attention will start to gravitate toward other people and things during mealtimes, and though it's exciting to see him aware of and responsive to new things, feedings can get difficult. If your baby is easily distracted, try feeding him somewhere quiet for a while.
A new talent for rolling over
When placed on his stomach, your baby will lift his head and shoulders high, using his arms for support. This mini push-up helps him strengthen his muscles and get a better view of what's going on. He may even amaze you (and himself!) by rolling over from his back to his front, or vice versa. You can encourage this through play: wiggle a toy next to the side he customarily rolls to in case he's interested enough to try again. Applaud his efforts and smile; he may need your reassurance since new actions can be frightening.
Time for solid foods?
For the first four to six months of life your baby gets all the nutrients he needs from breast milk or formula milk. Still, parents are often eager to start their babies on solid foods. Talk to your doctor before trying yours on solids. You can begin feeding your baby some solids (meaning mushy foods such as pureed baby food or baby cereal) now that his digestive tract is more developed and his tongue-thrust reflex is starting to fade, but many doctors encourage parents to wait until their baby is 6 months old. Not rushing onto solids can cut down on allergic reactions and ensures that breast milk and formula won't get crowded out of your baby's diet.
Reaching out and mouthing objects
Your baby is now able to reach out and grab an object, even though he often misses his mark on the first try. Once he wraps his hands around something, he'll study it for a moment and then try to put it in his mouth. You may also notice a lot more dribbling now. Some babies can start teething as early as 4 months old, but the first tooth usually doesn't surface until five to six months.
Encourage your baby to explore and play with a variety of objects. For instance, a clean cloth diaper will occupy your baby for a few minutes. Watch him suck on it, hold it, and discover what happens when he scrunches it up. Give him a light rattle and watch him delight in the sound it makes when he shakes it. An activity center or cradle gym is a good choice for this stage, as your baby begins to discover the cause and effect of moving a lever and hearing a bell ring, for instance.
Able to play alone now
By now, your baby can play with his hands and feet for a few minutes at a time. A miracle! Suddenly you realize it's strangely quiet in the bedroom so you look in, only to discover that your baby, who so far has needed your attention for most of every waking moment, is amusing himself. Now maybe you can start reading the paper again.
Beginning to understand the role of language
Researchers believe that by 4 months your baby understands all the basic sounds that make up his native language. Between 4 and 6 months, he develops the ability to make some vocal sounds, such as "ma-ma" or "da-da." He doesn't yet connect that sound with a parent, though. By now, he's also able to participate in back-and-forth imitation games -- you say "boo," and he'll try to say it back. You can promote your child's sense of communication through imitating his faces and sounds -- "mirroring" him. Because you react when he makes noises and tries to say something, your baby learns the importance of language and starts to understand cause and effect. He'll begin to realize that what he says makes a difference.
Appreciation for a full range of colors
Babies see color from birth, but they have difficulty distinguishing similar tones such as red and orange. As a result they often prefer black and white or high-contrast colors. Between your baby's second and fourth months, color differences become clearer, and your baby starts to distinguish similar shades. Your baby will probably begin to show a preference for bright primary colors now. Some great eye-catchers include primary-colored mobiles (hung out of his reach), bright posters and visually strikingboard books.
Getting more selective about people
By 4 months, your baby may respond to your presence, your voice and even your facial expressions by kicking and waving his arms. About now, your child, who to this point probably bestowed smiles on everyone he met, is beginning to be choosy about the company he keeps. In large groups or with unfamiliar people he may need time to get comfortable. Allow for transition time with strangers or when leaving your baby with a babysitter. You may also notice that when he's safely in your arms he's interested in interacting with other people -- especially noisy, boisterous older children.
Is my baby developing normally?
Remember, each baby is unique and meets social milestones at his own pace. These are simply guidelines to what your baby has the potential to accomplish -- if not right now, then shortly.
And if your baby was born prematurely, you'll probably find that he'll need time before he can do the same things as other children his age. Don't worry. Most doctors assess a premature child's development from the time he should have been born and evaluate his skills accordingly.
If you have any questions at all about your baby's development, check with your doctor.
What if my baby looks fat? Obesity has become the health buzzword of the day. While it's unhealthy for anyone to carry too much fat, your baby's doctor is unlikely to be very worried if your baby is chubby. Some babies are born plump, others grow that way — but not because they have an unhealthy diet and don't exercise. It's because they haven't developed much muscle yet. This kind of baby fat isn't likely to stay with your child as she grows.
Should my baby go on a diet? No. First, your baby's doctor will check to see whether your baby's weight and height are within the guidelines for her age. If she's too heavy, it's likely your doctor will simply watch to see how she grows. It's pretty rare for a doctor to be very concerned at this age, especially before solids have been added to a baby's diet.
Does this mean my baby will always have weight trouble? No. A plump baby does not foreshadow an overweight teenager or adult. Many big babies slim down once they begin crawling and walking. They simply store their baby fat differently. As your baby grows, you can keep her fit and healthy by encouraging floor play. Feed her only when she's hungry, and avoid using a bottle to calm her when she's upset or stressed. Instead, offer her a toy or love and kisses.
Sometimes you need to cater to your baby's every whimper; at other times, you need to let him figure things out on his own.
By Cammie McGovern
Where's the Risk?
Before I had my first baby, I made a vow: I would never become an infant-indulging pushover. I had watched in horror as my friends jumped up every time their babies burped or whined, and I was certain that I had more fortitude than that. But you can probably guess the second half of this story: I had a baby -- and did all the same things.
With each new transgression, I shuddered at the thought of raising a spoiled child. But, according to experts, most of my worries were baseless. "During the first six months, it's really impossible to spoil a child," reassures David Mrazek, M.D., chairman of psychiatry and psychology at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota. "Meeting an infant's need to be comforted, held, and fed in a predictable fashion helps him feel secure and builds a loving relationship between parent and child. It does not lead to spoiling."
Responding to your toddler also fosters independence, says Peter Gorski, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, in Boston, and chairman of the American Academy of Pediatricians' National Committee on Early Childhood,Adoption, and Dependent Care. "A child will be more willing to explore boundaries and explore his world if he knows he can depend on his parents," Dr. Gorski says.
It's not until the second half of a baby's first year that the risk of spoiling even begins. That's when you may find it necessary to make a few adjustments. "At this point in development, children need to learn to trust themselves as well as their caregivers," says Ester Schaler Buchholz, Ph.D., author of The Call of Solitude: Alonetime in a World of Attachment (Simon & Schuster, 1997). "Of course, your baby still needs your care and love. But he also needs to start figuring things out for himself."
Obviously, this is often easier said than done. "Our older son, Gregory, always wanted to sleep with us," says Amy Pentz, of Suffield, Connecticut. "At first, we thought it was cute, but eventually we wanted a decent night's rest ourselves. It was a nightmare getting him to sleep in his crib. When our second son, Jackson, was born, we helped him go to sleep in his crib from the start."
I got this from my now favorite website, kidshealth.org.
I also sent this to my husband's email with the note:
Remember this when baby Joram gets his hands onto one or more of your toys ;)
Whatever the age of your child, it's important to be consistent when it comes to discipline. If parents don't stick to the rules and consequences they set up, their kids aren't likely to either.
Here are some ideas about how to vary your approach to discipline to best fit your family.
Ages 0 to 2
Babies and toddlers are naturally curious. So it's wise to eliminate temptations and no-nos — items such as TVs and video equipment, stereos, jewelry, and especially cleaning supplies and medications should be kept well out of reach.
When your crawling baby or roving toddler heads toward an unacceptable or dangerous play object, calmly say "No" and either remove your child from the area or distract him or her with an appropriate activity.
Timeouts can be effective discipline for toddlers. A child who has been hitting, biting, or throwing food, for example, should be told why the behavior is unacceptable and taken to a designated timeout area — a kitchen chair or bottom stair — for a minute or two to calm down (longer timeouts are not effective for toddlers).
It's important to not spank, hit, or slap a child of any age. Babies and toddlers are especially unlikely to be able to make any connection between their behavior and physical punishment. They will only feel the pain of the hit.
And don't forget that kids learn by watching adults, particularly their parents. Make sure your behavior is role-model material. You'll make a much stronger impression by putting your own belongings away rather than just issuing orders to your child to pick up toys while your stuff is left strewn around.
If ever there were a time in your life for realism, it's now. Remember that childbirth is a life- and body-changing experience. Your hips and waist may now be slightly wider and your belly may be softer. Give yourself at least the nine months it took to grow your baby to return to your pre-pregnancy shape.
If you're breastfeeding, it's particularly important not to go on a highly restrictivediet. Instead of focusing on rapid weight loss through a diet or exercise program that may be impossible to live with the rest of your life, think more carefully about what you eat and how you eat. Here are some guidelines:
• Eat smaller portions, and chew each bite more slowly. You'll find that you can feel satisfied with less. Stop before you feel filled up or bloated.
• Drink water. Not only is it wise to stay hydrated if you're breastfeeding, downing liquids also fills your stomach and curbs hunger pangs. Herbal tea, decaffeinated coffee, flavored water or low-calorie fizzy drinks are also okay in moderation.
• Eat more "good" calories and fewer "bad" ones. Don't abandon the emphasis on nutrition that you developed while you were pregnant.
• Keep low-calorie snacks available, such as saltines, fruit and raw vegetables.
• Start exercising again. Remember to start slowly and ease back into your pre-pregnancy workout routine.
Doctors aren't sure what causes colic. Milk intolerance has been suggested as a possible culprit, but doctors now believe that this is rarely the case. Breastfed babies get colic too; in these cases, dietary changes by the mother may help the colic to subside. Some breastfeeding women find that getting rid of caffeine in their diet helps, while others see improvements when they eliminate dairy products.
Some colicky babies also have gas, but it's not clear if the gas causes colic or if the babies develop gas as a result of swallowing too much air while crying.
Some theories suggest that colic occurs when food moves too quickly through a baby's digestive system or is incompletely digested. Other theories are that colic is due to a baby's temperament, that some babies just take a little bit longer to get adjusted to the world, or that some have undiagnosed gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It's also been found that infants of mothers who smoke are more likely to have colic.
I did think of GERD too. I even kept my baby's regular spitting up or sometimes even forceful vomiting a secret to our pediatrician for fear that baby will have all of those expensive tests not to mention that it may be invasive too.
Anyway, our baby has been feeding well and has a constant increase in this weight which had alleviate my worries and reasoned that the vomiting is either due to overfeeding (which I admit that we're guilty of at times) or to his own poking of his mouth (you know how babies tend to put their hands in their mouth).
I try to keep baby upright and not to overfeed to prevent this though.
No single treatment has proved to make colic go away. But there are ways to make life easier for both you and your colicky baby.
First, if your baby is not hungry, don't try to continue the feeding. Instead, try to console your little one — you won't be "spoiling" the baby with the attention. You can also:
Walk with your baby or sit in a rocking chair, trying various positions.
Try burping your baby more often during feedings.
Place your baby across your lap on his or her belly and rub your baby's back.
Put your baby in a swing or vibrating seat. The motion may have a soothing effect.
Put your baby in an infant car seat in the back of the car and go for a ride. The vibration and movement of the car are often calming.
Play music tapes — some babies respond to sound as well as movement.
Place your baby in the same room as a running clothes dryer, white noise machine, or vacuum — some infants find the low constant noise soothing.
Some babies need decreased stimulation and may do well swaddled, in a darkened room.
Caring for a colicky baby can be extremely frustrating, so be sure to take care of yourself, too. Don't blame yourself or your baby for the constant crying — colic is nobody's fault. Try to relax, and remember that your baby will eventually outgrow this phase.
In the meantime, if you need a break from your baby's crying, take one. Friends and relatives are often happy to watch your baby when you need some time to yourself. If no one is immediately available, it's OK to put the baby down in the crib and take a break before making another attempt at consolation. If at any time you feel like you might hurt yourself or the baby, put the baby down in the crib and call for help immediately.
I did that more than just a couple of times... put baby down for a minute or so on the bed/crib just to compose myself before another attempt at consoling our baby. At that time, I really prayed more... since there was this kind of feeling of helplessness and maybe even desperation (not really ;).
And I remember that Dennies would ask me "Kaya pa?" "Kakayanin", was my reply.
If the baby has a temperature of 100.4° Fahrenheit (38° Celsius) or more, is crying for more than 2 hours at a time, is inconsolable, isn't feeding well, has diarrhea or persistent vomiting, or is less awake or alert than usual, call your doctor right away. You should also call your doctor if you're unsure whether your baby's crying is colic or a symptom of another illness.
My husband called in to ask what we did to relieve baby's stuffy nose when he got cough and colds. His co-worker had asked him.
Anyway, this is the email that I sent back to Joram's adorable daddy.
Sabihin na lang na SALINE NOSE DROPS for babies. (Since I couldn't read our pediatrician's handwriting on the brand name that she specified).
Naiwan kamo ung prescription ng doc (mkkabili nmn nito khit walang prescription. (I know that this is lying but it is a non prescription drug after all. Pharmacists sometimes defer to give a non prescription drug when you don't seem to know what you're doing).
That would be used 2x a day, 1-2drops on each nostril. tapos isuction using the suction bulb for babies.
Or they could use VICKS vapor rub, yun yung ginamit natin. Just a very small (thin film) amount on the nostrils. yung halos wala lang.. kasi baka masyadong strong for baby kung msobra.
A:Leanne, it's very common for babies to have stuffy noses. Increased nasal mucus from a cold or allergies can make babies' breathing very noisy because they breathe through their noses rather than their mouths, their nostrils are very small, and they can't yet blow their noses to get the mucus out. In infants under 4 months of age, it's more common for a stuffy nose to interrupt feeding and sleeping.
There are a few things you can do to help relieve your baby's stuffy nose:
Run a cool-mist humidifier or vaporizer in your baby's room.The water vapor can help moisten and loosen your baby's nasal mucus. Keep the vaporizer near the crib to get the full effect from the water vapor. Be sure to empty, clean and dry out the vaporizer each day to prevent the growth of bacteria or mold. Don't use a hot water vaporizer because it can cause burns.
If your baby's nasal secretions are still too thick, considering using "normal saline solution" (salt water) nose drops. These are available at the pharmacy without a prescription. Tilt your baby's head back gently and use a clean baby dropper to put a couple of drops of saline into each nostril to loosen the mucus. Don't use other medicated nose drops since these could be harmful for a baby.
Use a soft rubber infant suction bulb to suck out her nasal mucus. Squeeze the bulb first, gently stick the rubber tip into one nostril, then release the bulb, sucking the mucus into the bulb. Squeeze out the bulb with the mucus into the sink, rinse out the bulb, then repeat for the other nostril. If your baby's nose is too congested to feed comfortably, you can use the saline nose drops and suction bulb before feedings. Since the suction bulb can irritate your baby's nose, try to limit how often you do this. In fact, you'll find that this technique works well for newborns and young infants, but not for older infants because they tend to fight the bulb.
Usually, babies recover from stuffy noses within a week or two without any problems. But be sure to call your doctor for any of the following signs of concern:
Nasal mucus turns thick and green;
Difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, persistent cough, flaring nostrils and skin pulling in around her ribs when she breathes, or lips turning blue;
Excessive fussiness, loss of appetite, or excessive sleeping;