but I never get completely flat.
We're not supposed to ask questions but normally I'd ask here in what way(s) your boards aren't flat after planing with the no. 4. If you can identify a consistent out-of-flat condition to the boards after planing this is a much easier fix than to suggest all the possible ways to maintain flat during hand-planing operations.
If it's a simple case of what used to be called "dubbing over", which is low leading edge and trailing edge, application of the proper hand pressure during planing should help resolve this (along with regular checking of your progress).
When starting the cut, press down firmly on the toe of the plane with the secondary hand grasping the knob; this helps keep the plane flat to the wood as the cut starts. During the cut pressure is lessened on that leading hand until no pressure is applied at the knob at all by the end, with the dominant hand pushing down and forward to complete the cut. Some guides suggest you think of the plane 'taking off' as you leave the surface of the board.
This page, Handplaning 101, and this page, Using a Bench Plane, have similar advice and more that may be of further help. You might also find this four-page article from a 1948 issue of Popular Science a useful read, called Surfacing a Board by Hand.
I know one issue I'll have to sort out is holding the work while planing
There are a great many simple tips for keeping a board in place for planing. One of the easiest is just to drive two screws into the workbench top. The edge of the screw heads dig into the end grain of the board and keeps it remarkable stable. This method has the advantage that you can screw in or back off the screws to vary their holding height for various thicknesses of stock.
But of course you may not wish to have screws in the surface of your workbench so an alternative to this is to make a simple planing stop (or more than one, of varying heights) from strips of wood or ply of suitable thicknesses, that you hold in place with the leg or face vice, or with clamps.
To add greater stability to the board during cross planing operations you need to hold the rear of the board too and perhaps the best method for this is using a notched batten which is held firmly with a holdfast as shown, or with any suitable clamp. This can be used in conjunction with the above two methods or with any bench dog or other slid-up stop.