Your baby: 4 months old

How to deal with unwanted advice, play with your baby and treat cradle cap. Learn about life with your 4-month-old.

Photo: iStockphoto

Photo: iStockphoto

Thanks for the advice (or not!)
Now that you have a baby, it may seem like everybody on the face of the earth has an opinion about how you should raise her. No doubt you’ve found that many people feel compelled to offer you their advice whether you want it or not. As a first-time parent, it’s natural to doubt your parenting ability, especially in the first few months. So what’s a new and harried parent to do?

If something makes sense, try it. If not, don’t give it a second thought. But don’t let unwelcome and unwarranted advice undermine your confidence in your own parenting skills. Remember: you know your baby best. To ward off unwanted advice, just smile, say thanks, and move on. Or say something like “I appreciate your concern, but we really feel it’s right for us to do it this way.”

Read more: Can you spoil a baby?>

Roly poly
Your baby’s biggest and most playful move at this stage will likely be rolling over. Babies usually roll over from their tummy to their back before they roll over from their back to their tummy. And once they get rolling, babies are likely to flip over at any time, so never leave her unattended.

Read more: Top 10 tips to end a nursing strike>

Baby games
You dangle a bright red rattle in front of your baby’s face. Her little hands reach for it, grab and — miss! Oh, poor baby! As your baby reaches for things at this stage, she may often come up empty handed, because she’s still developing her hand-eye coordination. Resist the urge to put it in her hand for her — you may actually spoil her fun. In fact, if you hold an object still and let her practise reaching for it, you’ll be playing just the kind of game she needs to help her hands and eyes work in sync.

Looking for more fun ideas? Try out these lap games and rhymes.

Read more: Swim classes for babies>

Tips from the trenches
“Let your partner do things his way even if it’s not the way you’d do it. At least he’s helping and he’ll be more inclined to keep helping if you don’t criticize.” — Erin, mom of two

Baby care 101: cradle cap
Cradle cap — crusty yellow or brown patches that appear on babies’ scalps — is gross to look at, but you’ll be happy to know the condition doesn’t bother baby in the slightest. Still, for your peace of mind, follow this simple remedy: Massage some vegetable oil into your baby’s scalp. Let the oil soak in for 15 minutes. Then gently comb out the cradle cap scales with a fine-toothed comb and wash your baby’s scalp with baby shampoo. Here’s everything you need to know about cradle cap.

Read more: 6 documents every baby needs>

Good Question! Can my baby wear sunscreen?
Babies’ thin skin makes them particularly vulnerable to sunburns, and a serious sunburn during infancy or childhood can double the risk of malignant melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Clearly, your baby needs protection from the sun, but sunscreen is not recommended for babies under six months, because we don’t know if their permeable skin absorbs chemicals that may be harmful. So keep your baby out of strong sunlight and use clothes, hats, and canopies to shield her from the sun’s rays.

Originally published on Oct. 20, 2011.

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