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Services To Support You & Your Family

3 - 4 Month Check

When your baby reaches around 3 - 4 months we will send you a letter, either in the post or by email. We do this because we know this is a time when lots of changes are coming up for your baby developmentally.

You may have started thinking about;

  • When and how to introduce your baby to solid foods
  • If their development is on track and how you can encourage them through play
  • How to cope with teething and care for their teeth.

We hope our letter will point you in the right direction to get useful information and support. The letter also has the details of all the services we offer and how to get in touch. If you have any questions or worries, you can also call Just One Number at any time.

Dive Deeper

Introducing Solids (Weaning)

It is often at around 3-4 months old that friends and family start asking you when you are going to try your baby on solids. Advice has changed a lot over the years and experts now say that babies only need breast or formula milk on demand until they are six months old.

This gives babies time to develop so they can eat solids safely in an upright position. It also reduces the risk of conditions like eczema, asthma and food intolerances.

At around this time your baby will begin to show interest when you are eating. They may also seem to want more milk or wake more often. These are very normal stages and do not mean that your baby needs solids.

  • Your baby is learning a lot by watching you.
  • If your baby is demanding more milk and waking more often it is fine to give them more milk. They are getting more active and this will make them feel hungrier.

Signs Your 6 Baby is Ready For Weaning

All babies are different and some will not be quite ready for solids even at six months. To safely start eating food your baby needs to be able to do all of these three things;

  • Hold their head and neck up steadily when sitting.
  • Be able to pick up food and bring it to their mouth.
  • Move food around in their mouth and swallow it - not spit most of it out.

If you are not sure if your baby is ready, or if your baby was born prematurely, ask your health visitor or GP for advice on when to start introducing solid foods.

Why Wait?

There are some big advantages to waiting until your baby is six months old;

  • They are more able to support their head and neck. This means they can eat safely with less risk of choking.
  • They can feed themselves (finger feeding). This means they learn to stop when they are full. This can help to prevent obesity in later life.
  • They will be learning to use their fingers to pick up small objects. They may get messy but learning to eat should be a lot of fun!
  • Chewing food develops jaw muscles and will help speech development.
  • They can have ‘lumpy’ food. This means they can try lots of different foods, tastes and textures.

Read more about weaning

Baby Teeth

You may be wondering when your baby will get teeth, or how you will be able to comfort your baby if teething makes them unhappy. First teeth usually appear at around six months but teething might begin sooner.

Caring for your own teeth will set a good example for your child as they grow. Now is a good time to register your baby with your NHS Dentist.

Find out more about baby teeth

Find out more about teething

Development

You will have really noticed the changes in what your baby can do. Their personality will be really shining through. This is a very special time. 

  • Your baby may already be chuckling or laughing softly. They might be making lots more noises and be showing their excitement when they see and hear you.
  • Their eyesight is much better and your baby will move their eyes from side to side or up and down to watch their toys, or the cat! They can move their head from side to side when laying down. They are interested in everything.

These new skills mean they can begin to watch and then reach up towards things dangled above them.

  • They can start to enjoy time playing on their tummy. Maybe holding their head up for 15 seconds and having a look around. 
  • They will notice their hands and fingers - looking at and playing with them.
  • With practise they will be able to hold toys for about a minute. They start to put toys in their mouth. They will try and ‘help’ at feed time, holding on to your breast or the bottle. 

Their smiles will be coming easily now and they will love smiling and cooing at themselves in a mirror.

All of these skills mean your baby is learning to communicate, problem solve, be sociable and enjoy physical activity. The time you spend playing and talking to them help these skills develop more.

Ways To Play

Babies are born ready to learn. Play is a fun way to help your baby develop. You are their ‘first teacher’ and their favourite playmate. By picking up your baby when they cry, singing or playing peekaboo over and over again, you are building your baby's brain.

Small children learn best from everyday experiences with you. Talking to them about the things they show an interest in, helping them explore the things around them will help their development. 

You don’t need expensive toys or equipment – having you with them is the most important thing. You could try; 

  • Playing on the floor with them so they can stretch, kick and practice rolling.
  • Helping them practise ’tummy time’ to develop their pushing up and head holding skills.
  • Talking, looking at books and singing songs to help with early language skills.
  • Give them different textures to feel, dangle toys above them and talk about what they are doing.

Praise your baby for trying and share their pride when they manage something new. 

Find out more talk and play ideas

Vitamins

It is recommended breastfed babies from birth up to one year of age also be given a supplement of 8.5 to 10 micrograms vitamin D per day.

Babies who are formula fed do not require vitamin D if they are having 500ml or more per day of infant formula. This is because infant formula already has added vitamin D. 

Some families on a low income will be entitled to Healthy Start vouchers. You can discuss this during pregnancy or postnatally with your health visitor or midwife. 

Find out more about vitamin D

Immunisations

As the protection your baby got from you in the womb is now decreasing, it is important your baby gets their immunisations on time. In the first year there are 3 lots of two vaccinations; these are done when your baby is around 8, 12 and 16 weeks old.

Your GP should contact you about these. If you have not heard from them, you should contact them to arrange it. If you have any worries you can discuss these with your health visitor or practice nurse. 

If you're planning on going abroad discuss this with your GP practice. You may be able to get vaccinations earlier if you are visiting a high-risk country.

Read more about baby and childhood immunisations

Keeping Safe

At around 4 months of age your baby may start moving and rolling. This puts them at higher risk from accidents. Babies can roll very fast and for quite a long way once they get the hang of it. Babies need a close eye kept on them to keep them safe.

You can reduce the risk of accidents if you; 

  • Change your baby on the floor so they can't fall. 
  • Don’t leave them on their own unless they are safely in their cot. Once they can roll moses baskets aren't safe for them.
  • Move breakable or special things out of reach.
  • Pad sharp corners on furniture or large objects.
  • Pick up small objects that a baby could choke on if they put them in their mouth.

It's a good time to plan ahead as your baby will get more and more mobile. Have a crawl around your house and see what might be risky for your little one. Remember you will soon need stair gates and cupboard locks for when your baby gets more mobile.

Read advice on home safety and preventing accidents

Sleeping

Safe sleeping advice is still very important, to reduce the risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Your baby should still be sharing a room with you and be put to sleep on their back. If your baby can roll you should still put them down to sleep on their back. If they roll in their sleep then try not to worry they are mobile enough to change their position. 

You may have noticed that your baby is awake for longer periods now and their sleep pattern might have changed.

At 3 months old your baby will need around 4-5 hours of sleep in the daytime, as well as about 10-11 hours at night. This sleep happens in smaller sessions. They are still very likely to wake in the night. All babies develop a sleep pattern in their own time and it is still early days. By the time children are a year old, they may be more able to sleep through the night.

One of the things that can help your baby learn to settle at night is to begin a bedtime routine. Have the same things happen at the same time – like a bath, pyjamas and then feed. Keep lighting low and your voice quiet when you put them to bed.  It is great if they can get in the habit of being put in their cot drowsy but not asleep – this helps them learn to drift back to sleep again when they wake in the night.

Read more about sleep routines and patterns

Who Can Help?

You can always contact us by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays. Our clinical team will be able to answer any questions or worries you may have.

If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of the Healthy Child Programme team.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below.

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