Your 16 Week Old Baby – Development, Milestones & Care

A 16 week-old baby wearing an owl hat

16 whole weeks of taking care of your baby have brought you to this age. It is a time of extreme joy and satisfaction and surely an achievement in itself. The physical and mental growth begins taking place rapidly and communication becomes stronger amongst everyone. And yes, your baby will begin to make his own independence known to you, too.

A 16 Week-Old Baby’s Development

The signs of your 16-week old baby’s growth spurt will be more evident than before as he starts showing signs of rapid development, both physically and mentally.

One of the major signs is a strong increase in your baby’s movement abilities and limb control. Reaching out to things by bending the body ahead and holding toys with both hands or even moving them around, are all signs that he is able to understand how to best use his hands. This is literally the human evolution in a nutshell.

All fears of having a head that wobbles back and forth will be subsided as your baby will now be able to hold his head properly. While doing the supervised tummy time, his head will easily be lifted up to look right ahead. This can then give him a spur of energy and motivation to push his arms and legs to try and move ahead and take the very first steps of attempting to crawl.

In certain babies, teething initiates rather early. If your baby is one of those, he will start having slight signs of his very first tooth slowly rising to the surface. This will be accompanied with him trying to put anything and everything on his mouth and attempting to chew it down.

Having faced a nightmare of a situation with long nocturnal hours of feeding the baby and nearly staying awake throughout, you will be in for a treat as you will find your baby sleeping peacefully for nearly 8 hours of the night, giving you enough time to rest and handle the day fully energised.

As with playing toys, your baby will also know that it is time to be fed when he sees the bottle or sees you at a particular time of the day. He may start asserting his independence by wanting to hold the bottle by his hands or hold your breast in a particular way for his own comfort.

Communication and perception all increase to a great level. Being able to follow objects becomes a tad easier. Your baby also gets clever enough to know what kind of cry will get you to him quicker and will understand how to get what he wants. So he may constantly cry to call you for something and then instantly start smiling or laughing while interacting with someone else.

Rolling over becomes a new discovery and activity for him as he now understands the technique and also has the strength to do it. This will warrant keeping a watch on your kid whenever he is on the bed or on any raised surface. The best is to spread out a large mat with a soft cloth and let your baby keep rolling around on the ground.

[Also Read: 4 Months Old Baby Development]

A Sixteen Week-Old Baby’s Milestones

  • By this age, your little one will be able to sit upright and hold his head properly as well. This should last for about 8-10 minutes by himself.
  • The giggling and smiles will be further complemented with some loud gurgle-filled laughter as he rejoices in the emotion.
  • As you walk around the house, he will begin to follow your movements and call out to you randomly.
  • Most of all, your baby might finally be able to sleep for a long time at night, giving you the much needed and desired nighttime sleep.
  • Lateral movement tracking will be enhanced as well as understanding the coordination of limbs when he begins to splash water around during baths.
  • Having been fed via bottles or nipples, he may start accepting spoon feeds, too.
  • By exercising your baby, he will discover how his legs bend at the knees and keep himself occupied at this new discovery.
  • His eyes and ears are a lot sharper and responsive when you’re moving around in the garden or the park.
  • Your little one can now make use of his fists to hold things firmly or even use both hands to hold them together and squeeze objects.

[Also Read: 4 Months Old Baby Milestones]

Feeding

Most mothers who had jobs prior to getting pregnant might start working again. This would mean that you would have to ensure enough supply of milk or formula to feed the baby. Most women at this age are generally advised to start introducing solids to the babies right away. However, research has conclusively proven that the breastmilk is the most nutritious and important food that a baby should have for as long as possible. However, you can start trying out feeding your baby some milk or formula with a spoon. This will help exercise his mouth muscles and get him used to a different feeding style as well. He might get impatient since he would be used to drinking copious amounts of milk from your breast or the bottle. In certain cases, doctors might recommend giving solid foods, too. But it is completely your call if you’d wish to do so. Even if you have begun, stopping the feeding of solid food items will not affect the baby adversely.

[Also Read: 4 Months Old Baby Food]

Sleeping

A mother taking care of her sleeping child

For a 16-week old baby sleep, times start falling in sync with you and you may find your baby sleeping through the night, which is quite a relief. This may not always be the case since the cerebral and physical development at this stage is at an all-time high and most of the growth happens in deep sleep only. If your baby has not been fed properly during the day, there are higher chances of him waking up at night for a quick feed. For most other babies, they do tend to wake up at night but that isn’t because of hunger. That is a natural rhythm they settle into. In such situations, having your baby sleep next to you is advantageous. At times, your baby might wake up, make simple sounds, and go back to sleep all by himself. At other times, if the sounds continue, you can quickly give him your breast. He will suckle on it for a while until he is lulled back into sleep.

[Also Read: 4 Months Old Baby Sleep]

A 16 Week-Old Baby’s Care Tips

  • Most mothers might opt to introduce solids at this age. Opinions might differ but it is important to not reduce the breastfeeding at all.
  • At times, teething of the baby may cause him some pain or want him to chew on something constantly. Keep a sterile chewy toy next to him for that.
  • Let your child start sitting for extended periods regularly. This will further build the strength in his back and spine.

[Also Read: 4 Months Old Baby Care]

Tests and Vaccinations

A large number of vaccines are usually administered in the previous weeks. If all of them have been done as per the schedule without any misses, no additional vaccination is scheduled for this week.

Games and Activities

Since your baby is able to sit upright for longer and support his own head, you can involve him in a number of games. As he can also look around quite a bit, you can start by making soap bubbles. This can be played in the hall but also in the bathroom since there will be soap and water quite a bit. Make sure your little one is seated firmly in a seat or on the bed secured properly on all sides. Then start blowing bubbles and let them float all around. The mere sight of floating bubbles will get him all excited. Pop the bubbles with your fingers or let them settle on your hand. This will let him know that it is fine to touch these bubbles. Once that happens, there’s no stopping him from trying to grab them all. Whenever there is a large bubble, make a surprised sound and watch your baby drop everything and be hypnotised by it.

Songs and music are easily enjoyed by your baby. Around this age, specific sound formations can also be memorised in his brain, even though he might not be able to make it himself. So try making up a song of your own, where you start pointing at yourself and say “mama”, point at the father and say “dada” and so on. These simple words will help him associate different people accordingly.

[Also Read: 4 Months Old Baby Games and Activities]

When to Consult a Doctor

Most babies have substantial weight gain around this week, which is still within the expected norms. If your baby still falls short in that category, it might be necessary to have your paediatrician look into the matter.

Apart from that, if your 16-week old baby fussy moments keep increasing leading him to not sleep as much as needed, and further resulting in not being able to eat properly or respond to sounds, your doctor should take a closer look.

Once 4 months are completed, your baby will start taking his own measures at exploring the world and learning new things even more passionately. As much joy as that would bring, it is important that more care is taken to ensure their exploration doesn’t end up hurting them. Start babyproofing certain places around the home and keep the environment safe and secure for his continued growth.

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