4 Months

Location, location, location or change, change, change!

What a difference a few months make. Just like in real estate it’s all about location, location, location, with your baby it’s been all about change, change, change.  You brought home a newborn who slept more than they were awake and now you have a bright-eyed individual.  A tremendous amount of growth has taken place in the past 4 months.

Baby pictures at four months old will show a little person who likes to put everything in their mouth. It’s their form of getting to know the world around them.

Your baby now typically eats 6-8 times per 24 hours and has a least one longer stretch of sleep. Wet and dirty diapers are similar to last month: 3-4 wet disposables (or 6+ cloth diapers) and a dirty diaper several times per day to one time per week. If you are still exclusively breastfeeding it will still be yellow mustardy color and soft, even liquidy. If you are giving any formula, your baby’s stool will smell different and be more green (due to iron content) in color and a thicker consistency.

You may notice that your baby is more distracted, especially during their daytime feedings. See Distraction. This is because they are now more aware of their surroundings and need to find out where a sound is coming from. You may find breastfeeding in a room with less going on helps. You might even try a darkened room with no TV or radio, or other people. You also may want your little finger at the ready to break their suction if they try to take you with them, when they turn their head to investigate a sound!

For yourself, hopefully you aren’t experiencing any engorgement or soreness with breastfeeding. Your breasts may feel fuller first thing in the morning, or when your baby goes a longer period of time without eating, but nothing too uncomfortable. If you have concerns with engorgement or soreness, check with your healthcare provider or lactation consultant.

Breastmilk is still all your baby needs to grow and thrive. Weight gain often slows at around 4 months of age for a totally breastfed infant. This is normal. Also note, if your healthcare provider is using growth charts that were developed when the majority of baby’s were formula fed, this will be more pronounced. Formula fed babies tend to be heavier. There are now growth charts now that were developed for exclusively breastfed babies. See Infant Weight. ½- 1 ounce per day (15-30 gms/day) is still a normal amount of weight gain for most babies. (1)

Solid food introduction is something you might discuss at this doctor visit. Breastmilk is still all your baby needs until 6 months of age, but that is usually your next healthcare provider visit and you might want to have the information ahead of time.

What to expect next:

The next growth spurt is between 5-6 months.   If it goes beyond the usual 24-48 hours of increased eating and baby continues to be extra hungry for 4, 5 or 6 days, then this is often when solid foods are ready to be introduced.

As you begin to add solid foods in the next several months, breastfeeding will become more the beverage at each meal versus the main course.  The exception to this is typically the first breastfeeding in the morning and the last at night are still likely to be the largest and longest feedings of the day. Often through the daytime, baby is much more aware of their surroundings and their time breastfeeding can be shorter.

Reference:

  1. Mohrbacher, N, Stock, J, La Leche League International The Breastfeeding Answer Book 3rd Revised Edition, Schaumburg, IL, La Leche League International, Jan 2003. pp 148.

Written by Sherri L. Gartner, RD, IBCLC, Copyright 2015

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