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Frequently Asked Questions: 4 Month Olds

Posted by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 2:46 PM
  • 5 Replies

When can I introduce solid foods?

Ask your baby's pediatrician for her specific recommendations, as solid foods are usually not introduced before 4 to 6 months of age, at the earliest. Most babies do not need any solid foods before this age because breast milk or iron-fortified infant formula provides all the nutrients the baby needs. After 6 months of age, a baby requires more foods to provide more calories, protein, and iron. Around that time, he will begin to show interest in other foods and develop the ability to eat them.

The introduction of solid foods before 4 to 6 months may not provide the proper balance of nutrients. Despite popular belief, adding cereal to the diet does not help babies sleep through the night.

Each child develops at his own pace. Signs that your baby may be ready to try solid foods include: holding her head and neck steady for 10 to 15 minutes while sitting up with support in your lap or in an infant seat; putting his hands or other objects in mouth; acting hungry, demanding breast or bottle more often, or taking more than 32 ounces (one quart) of formula in 24 hours. You may also notice your baby showing interest in your food and trying to grab your food while watching you eat, and waking more often during the night when he had been sleeping through much of the night for a while.

For more information see introducing solids.

Should I put cereal in the bottle to help my baby sleep through the night?

Cereal does not usually need to be put in your baby's bottle unless your baby's doctor specifically suggests it. Despite popular belief, adding cereal or other solid foods to your baby's diet will not help your baby sleep through the night. Your baby may have a hard time learning to eat from a spoon, if she gets used to taking solid foods in a bottle.

When will my baby sleep through the night?

Although newborns sleep approximately 16 hours each day, they do awaken often to feed. Each time they sleep lasts as long as four hours or so, but the longest time may not always occur at night. Parents are understandably anxious for their infants to sleep for long periods, particularly at night, so that they can get some uninterrupted sleep, too.

Fortunately, by age 4 months, most babies can sleep as long as 6 to 8 hours at night, without the need for feedings, rocking or other interventions; by age 6 months, they can sleep as much as 10 to 12 hours.

There are some things you can do to help your baby learn to sleep through the night and to prevent later sleep problems. Put her to bed when she is drowsy but still awake. Keep middle-of-the-night feedings brief and boring, with dim lights and no talking or playing. Minimize nighttime diaper changes and make these quiet and boring, too. Establishing good sleep habits early with your baby can help everyone in the family to be well rested.

Last updated February 11, 2011
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 2:46 PM
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by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 2:52 PM


Hmm... middle of the night feedings and changes have always been brief and boring, since I just sit up, don't turn any lights on, and feed him until he unlatches, but I can count on one hand the times he has slept longer than 5 hours in his whole 4 months of life.

From talking to other EBF moms it's not too uncommon...

by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 2:56 PM
I EBF 2 of mine. I can barely stay awake for middle of the night feedings sometimes! Especially when the baby wakes up while I'm in the middle of the oh-so-important REM cycle. Sleep quality become essential when your have 3 (plus one more!)to take care of the next day. If I'm really in need of the sleep, I pump so my hubby can feed Jude. :)
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by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 3:15 PM

I don't agree with this at all. I started giving my daughter solids before 4 months.

She still sleeps the same as she did before. The reason I changed to solids part of the time was because she would eat and eat and eat... and then spit it up because she had eaten to much and then still be hungry. Problem went away after I started her on solids.

Babies are different and to put a number or an age on what all babies fit into is wrong. All babies are different. I've heard of moms having to start their baby as early as one month.

My daughter had also meant all of the recommended milestones and then some which is another reason I felt it okay to start her on solids.

I also don't agree with cereal not helping a baby sleep through the night. While it didn't make a difference with  my daughter most mothers I've talked to admitted their child started sleeping much better once solids were started.

I've done extensive research on this topic and have found that there is no set one rule that all babies follow. Sure, there is an average but there are children out of that average and to follow these rules for a child who is will only do them more harm then good. Just my opinion.

by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 3:17 PM


by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 3:44 PM


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