Your 16-week-old Baby – Development, Milestones & Care
Happy four months! Your little munchkin is 16 weeks old already and is probably making the best sound you have ever heard. Initially, taking care of your little one and even holding him in your arms must have seemed quite a task for you, but we know you must have done a great job, mommy! From now on, your little one will start meeting various milestones. His physical and mental growth will be rapid at this stage and his communication (we mean cooing and gurgling) will be the strongest among other things. It’s time you celebrate his little victories and track other important development and milestones such as talking, growth, etc.
Your 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 shows signs of rapid development, both physical and mental development. One of the major signs of development you will notice in your baby is an increase in his movement abilities and limb control. Reaching out to things by bending his body ahead and holding toys with both the hands or even moving them around are some of the signs of development you may notice. By this age, your little one should understand how to use his hands.
All your fears concerning your baby wobbling his head back and forth will subside as your baby will now be able to hold his head properly. While enjoying the tummy time under your supervision, he will try to lift his head and look right ahead. This can also 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.
Some babies start teething rather early. If your baby is one of those, you might notice slight signs of his very first tooth slowly rising to the surface. At this age, your little one may also want to put everything in his mouth.
Hours of sleepless nights while feeding your baby may come to an end as your baby may start sleeping peacefully for nearly 8 hours of the night, giving you enough time to rest and face the day fully energised.
Your baby will also start understanding when it is time to feed when he sees the feeding bottle or looks at you at a particular time of the day. He may start asserting his independence by wanting to hold the bottle by his hands or holding your breast in a particular way for his own comfort.
Communication and perception also increase to a great level by this age. Being able to follow objects will become a tad easier for him. Your baby will also be clever enough to know what kind of cries will get you to him quickly 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 will become a new discovery for him – an activity that he will now understand and will have 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]
Your Sixteen-Week-Old Baby’s Milestones
Here are some of the milestones you should look out for in your baby.
- By this age, your little one should 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.
- Most of all, your baby should 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.
- When you bend his legs and help him do the cycling exercise, he will discover how his legs bend at the knees and keep himself occupied at this new discovery.
- His eyes and ears will be a lot sharper and responsive when you move around in the garden or the park.
- Your little one will 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]
New moms can start going to their workplace again, i.e., if they were on maternity leave. If you were working, you can start going to work again. You will 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. However, research has conclusively proven that breast milk is the most nutritious and important food that a baby should have for at least 1 year of his life. Having said that, you can still 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. 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, you can. 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]
Your 16-week old baby’s sleep schedule should start falling in sync with your schedule and you may find your baby sleeping through the night, which would be quite a relief for you. 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 to sleep.
[Also Read: 4 Months Old Baby Sleep]
Tips to Take Care of Your 16-week-old Baby
Here are some tips you should follow while caring for your 16-week-old baby.
- Most mothers opt to introduce solids at this age. You can too if you want, but don’t stop breastfeeding him. Breast milk is very nutritious for a baby, so keep breastfeeding your baby.
- At times, teething of the baby may cause him some pain and he may want to chew on to 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 weeks prior to this week. If all of them have been done as per the schedule, no additional vaccination is scheduled for this week.
Games and Activities to Keep Your Baby Engaged
As your baby will be 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 for him. 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.
Your baby will also enjoy listening to music and songs. By this age, he may also remember certain sounds. 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 gain substantial weight around this week which is within the expected norms. If your baby does not gain enough weight as per his age, it is suggested that you have your baby’s paediatrician look into the matter.
Apart from that, if your 16-week old baby’s fussiness keeps increasing and he does not sleep as much as needed, he does not eat properly or respond to sounds, you should refer a doctor a the earliest.
Once your baby turns four months of age, he 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 you be on guard so that he doesn’t end up hurting himself. Start babyproofing certain places around the home and keep the environment safe and secure to ensure he grows properly and remains unhurt.
Previous Week: 15 Weeks Old Baby
Next Week: 17 Weeks Old Baby