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4 Months Week 4

Your baby

What a difference there is between the tiny wrinkled-sleepy newborn who came to live with you and the bright eyed, alert miss socialite who now smiles and talks to you Look at how much baby has grown, you should be proud of yourself mom.

The fourth month also marks the beginning of teething time for most babies, which is often indicated by increased dribbling by the baby. With physical and cognitive developments, your baby is now able to easily grab an object of interest. Possibly due to teething, as well as her mouth being her lone source of exploring things, she instinctively puts objects of interest directly into her mouth after a slight inspection. The first teeth of the baby do not surface before five to six months of age.

At four months (or even earlier), your baby loves it when you pull her to a sitting position. She now has enough control over her back and neck muscles to keep her head from flopping over and leaving her nose in her navel. At first, however, her head might fall backward somewhat while you pull her up.

Sitting up gives your baby so much more to see and learn that she won't be able to get enough of it. Once she's learned that you can pull her up to sitting, she probably won't even wait for you to offer anymore. Instead, she'll reach out imploringly and you'll be unable to resist. Remember that her back muscles are still not strong; the best way to do this will be if she sits on your lap facing away from you, so you act as her support while holding her. Look out for signs that say ‘I’ve had enough mom’.

A new baby and friendships

When you have a baby, you will need to readjust your relationships with other people. This doesn't mean you need to give up close friendships or never see your family. It might even mean the opposite. But the rhythm of your lives has changed, which means the other parts of life will change as well.

Your priorities changed the most when you brought your baby home and actually started being a mommy. Now baby’s safety and happiness comes first, it’s the stroller over those killer heels you saw on sale. Also how you relate with other people will change.

All of a sudden, you will start seeing your friends as those with children and those without children. The ones with children will understand your new rhythm of life. They will realise that it's not always so easy to get a baby-sitter and get together with them they will probably enjoy getting together with you and your whole family.

Your friends without children might need some education. Your relationship with them might change. They might be offended that you don't want to pay for a baby-sitter to go out and get a bite to eat; you would rather have them over for dinner. They might get annoyed that you cannot finish a thought completely before your child needs something. If this happens with some of your friends, don't write them off. Explain your new constraints (involving both money and time) to them. Hopefully, they will understand and you will be able to enjoy each other's company in different ways than you did before you had a baby.

Concerns: Diarrhea-how does a parent know when their babies have it?

Normal baby stool can look a lot like an adult's diarrheal stool. Healthy baby poop is often soft and runny, and (especially in the first month) quite frequent. 1-2-weeks-old with 10 runny stools a day may be perfectly healthy, while another 4-month-old with 3 stools a day, all firmer than the other baby's, may have diarrhea. So how can a parent tell?

Look for a sudden increase in the frequency of the stools. Each baby has her own stool frequency pattern that changes slowly over time. If it changes noticeably within only a few days, she may have diarrhea. Any baby who has more than one stool per feeding should also be suspected of having diarrhea, even if this isn't a sudden change. Also look for a sudden increase in the water content of the stool. Other signs of illness in your baby, such as poor feeding, a newly congested noe or a new fever, make the diagnosis of diarrhea more likely. Diarrhea in babies can be caused by a change in diet (including, sometimes, a change in mother's diet if the baby is breast-fed), by infection, by antibiotic use, or by a number of rare diseases.

The central concern with diarrhea is the possibility of dehydration from loss of body fluids. Treatment is aimed at preventing dehydration, the real culprit. Most children with diarrhea can be treated safely at home.

If your baby is breast-fed, don't stop. Breast feeding helps prevent diarrhea (making diarrhea only half as likely); it also speeds recovery and helps prevent hospitalisation.

If you give your baby formula, try switching to one that's lactose-free until diarrhea improves — lactose can make diarrhea worse. Never dilute formula more than the instructions advise. Your doctor may also suggest substituting an oral rehydration solution for the formula for 12 to 24 hours.

Unless your doctor advises otherwise, use an oral rehydration solution such as Pedialyte for infants and children who have diarrhea, vomiting or fever. These solutions contain water and salts in specific proportions to replenish both fluids and electrolytes. They also contain glucose or another carbohydrate such as rice powder to enhance absorption in the intestinal tract. Oral rehydration products are readily available in most pharmacies. Some pharmacies carry their own brands. Begin giving fluids early in the course of an illness instead of waiting until the situation becomes urgent.

If your baby is already big enough to be taking solid foods, then carrots, rice cereal, bananas, potatoes, and applesauce can help slow down the stools. Avoid fruit juices, peas, pears, peaches, plums, prunes and apricots until the stools are back to normal, which should be within a week or so.

If the diarrhea lasts longer than a week, or is accompanied by fever, get in touch with your pediatrician. Better be safe.

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