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4 month developmental milestones

  • 0-1 Years
  • Child development and growing up
Mum and dad smiling sitting on the sofa together with the mum cuddling her smiling baby on her lap

There are some key physical and communication milestones you will expect your 4 month old to reach. These milestones should be treated as a rough guide, as each child is unique and will develop at their own pace. It is often unhelpful to compare a baby to other babies or their siblings.

Last reviewed: 1 November, 2023

At around 4 months old you can expect your baby to be able to:


  • when lying on their tummy, they can hold their head straight up and look around
  • when lying on their back, they can bring their hands together over their chest and touch their fingers
  • when in a supported sitting position, they can hold their head steady
  • when in a supported sitting position, they start to reach for a nearby toy
  • hold a toy in their hand whilst also looking at it, waving it about and attempting to chew it
  • play with their fingers when they put their hands together
  • grab or pull at their clothes

Read more about early physical skills development


  • smile or ‘coo’ at themselves when in front of a mirror
  • giggle and laugh
  • smile or get excited when they see you, after you have been out of sight
  • stop crying when they hear a voice other than yours
  • make sounds when looking at toys or people
  • make high pitched squeals
  • when in front of a mirror, smile and make noises at themselves

Read more about early communication with babies and toddlers

Encouraging development

Activities and games you can explore with your baby:

  • playing with your baby by getting down to child’s level (lying down or crouching)
  • small exercises such as moving their legs and arms gently
  • picture books (using the same books helps with familiarity)
  • blowing bubbles
  • talking to them in short simple sentences
  • speaking with your baby and talking about what they are looking at
  • responding to their babbling by copying back the sounds they make
  • singing nursery rhymes and playing peekaboo
  • using different voices and actions when reading, singing and playing
Young child blowing bubbles outdoors

Babies do not need lots of toys or devices to have fun or to encourage development.

They learn a lot of early skills by playing and spending time with you.

Possible development concerns

Sometimes development can be slower than you expect, or you may notice something different about your baby. It's normal to feel worried but there is lots of support out there. 

Contact your health visitor if you notice your baby is:

  • not engaging in eye contact when speaking to them
  • not fixing and following
  • not grasping objects when placed in their hands
  • not able to lift their head up for short periods when placed on their tummy


Need more specific support for your child?

If your child needs more help or has additional needs, you can visit our specific section for extra support.

Child development and growing up for additional needs


Who can help

If you have any questions or concerns about your baby's development, a health professional in our team will be able to offer advice and support.

You can Call Us on 0300 029 50 50 or Text Us on 07520 649887 to start a conversation.

Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays).

Information for babies aged 4 months old

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