Movement, Coordination, and Your 4- to 7-Month-Old
At this age, kids are learning to roll over, reach out to get what they want, and sit up.
You can help your child by providing a safe place to practice moving and lots of interesting objects to reach for or move toward.
How Is My Baby Moving?
By now babies can hold their head and chest up when lying on their stomach. They begin lifting their head and chest further by straightening the arms and using chest and back muscles.
Your child also might begin moving his or her legs and rocking on the stomach. In this way, babies are getting ready to roll over and build up to crawling.
During this period, your baby will probably learn to roll over in both directions. So be sure to never leave your little one unattended. These newfound movements could cause a child to fall from a bed or couch unless supervised. Even if your child never rolled over before, there's always a first time. Babies like to surprise parents that way.
With improved neck and trunk strength, babies can start to sit when placed in that position with support. Your baby will learn to lean forward with arms stretched out for support. Your baby will gain the strength and confidence to sit unaided over time, but will still need some help to get into a sitting position.
Legs are also getting stronger. Your baby will learn to support all his or her weight when held in a standing position. It's important not to force a baby to stand who is not ready, but by during these months most infants enjoy standing (and bouncing!).
Reaching and Grabbing
Babies use their hands more and more and will learn to reach and grab for what they want. They're learning to pass an object from one hand to the other and to pick up objects by raking them with the fingers into their grasp.
Give your child lots of toys with sounds and textures to pick up, shake, and explore. Be careful with small objects because babies will place just about anything they can into their mouths for further exploration, so watch for potential choking hazards.
How Can I Encourage My Baby?
Have a designated safe play space where favorite toys can be kept within your baby's reach. Continue to let your baby spend time on his or her tummy. In this position, encourage your baby to lift his or her head and chest off the floor. Make some noises, shake a rattle to entice your child to look, then lift up. Place a favorite toy in front of your baby to encourage forward movement.
Let your baby practice sitting by supporting your child with your hands or with a pillow behind his or her back. In a sitting position, your baby's hands are free to reach for and explore toys.
From a sitting position, help your baby pull to stand. While standing, let your baby bounce a few times before lowering him or her back down.
These three positions (tummy, sitting, standing) let babies exercise their muscles and master the skills needed to reach the next milestone.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Development follows a pattern that builds on skills your child previously gained. The time it takes for kids to achieve specific skills can vary widely.
Let your doctor know if your child doesn't:
- roll over
- bear weight on legs
- sit while supported
- reach for objects
Not reaching individual milestones doesn't necessarily mean there is a problem. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your baby's development.