Your baby is already four months old! Her brain and body are growing fast. You’re probably getting a sense of her personality – is she quiet or peaceful? Very active? Engaged and aware? Pay attention to how she reacts to new people and situations and help support her to feel confident (and safe) taking in the world around her.
Some babies need more comfort than others. It’s impossible to spoil a baby at this age. In fact, baby’s secure attachment is important for brain development.
On the physical front, you may already be wondering if your baby is teething. Baby teeth (also called “primary” teeth) come in around 6 months. Some babies hardly seem to notice, while others may need to chomp, chew or cry when a tooth starts to come in.
As teeth come in:
- Once a month, lift baby’s top lip and check the top teeth for any changes. Contact a dentist if you see signs of white lines or brown spots on the teeth.
- Offer cold (not frozen) teething rings instead of teething biscuits, which contain sugar and can cause tooth decay
- Ensure your baby eats while being held or sitting – don’t put baby to bed with a bottle
- Don’t offer sugary drinks or food
- Brush gums and teeth with a soft brush and water twice a day for 2 minutes
Your checklist for 4 to 6 months
✓ Book your baby’s next two immunization appointments for when she is 4 and 6 months old. Breastfeed your baby, if you can, before, during and after her shots to help keep her calm.
✓ Make a birth control plan because it’s possible to get pregnant again very soon after having your baby. Learn more about contraception options and talk to your healthcare provider to find out which methods might work for you. If you’re breastfeeding, this birth control while breastfeeding fact sheet (PDF, 3 pages 68 KB) covers your options.
✓ Book your baby’s first eye examination before her 6-month birthday. It’s free and covered by OHIP. If everything looks fine, she won’t need another until age 3.
✓ By six months, if your baby shows interest in food and can sit without support she is ready to start solid foods. What should you start with? How often should she eat? Read this Caring for Kids - Feeding your baby in the first year handout.
✓ As soon as your child has her first tooth, switch from wiping to brushing at least twice a day. There are dental programs in your area to help with the cost of dental care for children. For more information, call the Dental Line at: 1-800-265-7293 ext. 2661.
✓ Complete your 6-month Nipissing Developmental Screen, available by email when you register. If you have any questions or concerns after completing the screen, call Let’s Talk Parenting to talk to a public health nurse: 1-800-265-7293 ext. 3616. Call Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
✓ Help older children maintain their routines to help them feel secure.
✓ Keep open communications with your partner. Find ways to be romantic and intimate that are fun for both of you.
✓ Help provide meals, household tasks and listen.
Ontario Early Years Centres (OEYCs) focus on social, emotional, and intellectual growth through play-based learning. Check out your local program calendar:
Guides and resources
- Oral health guide from birth to age 12 (PDF, 24 pages, 2 MB)
- Baby’s World Matters: Creating the right environment for healthy brain development [videos]
- Tips for Parents – Brain Development (PDF, 1 page, 53 KB)
- Healthy Babies, Healthy Children: A guide for new parents (PDF, 32 pages, 2 MB)
Your local and Public Health supports
- Let’s Talk Parenting: Talk to a public health nurse about pregnancy, breastfeeding, parenting and more. Call weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 3616.
- Telehealth Ontario: A registered nurse can answer your health questions 24-hours a day, seven days a week for free. Call 1-866-797-0000.
- Motherisk offers one-on-one counselling about the risk or safety of medications, alcohol, herbal products, chemicals, X-rays, infections, and chronic conditions (e.g. high blood pressure, asthma, epilepsy, depression) during breastfeeding. Call 1-877-439-2744.
- Feelings After Birth is a support group for mothers of infants and toddlers up to age 2 who are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, helpless or irritable/angry with family members.
Looking forward? Read ahead to 7-9 months >