Four- to five-month-old babies are sometimes very eager to participate at mealtime, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they are ready to eat solids - more often it's just the normal developmental urge to do what everyone else is doing. Research studies tell us that there are many health advantages to delaying solids for about 6 months for all babies, not just the babies who are not yet interested in mealtime.
There are a number of things you can do to let baby participate in mealtimes without starting solids:
-Let baby sit with the family at mealtime - in a lap, booster seat or high chair.
-Give baby a cup of water or expressed milk. Your baby can entertain himself at mealtime while learning to use a cup. 1-3 ounces of water in the cup should be plenty (often for the entire day). Many moms choose to use only water or a small amount of breastmilk to avoid wasting the "liquid gold" while baby learns to use the cup.
-Offer baby sips of water from your cup or straw. Even if baby hasn't figured out how to use a straw yet, you can put your straw in water, block the top end of the straw with your finger to trap a little water in the straw, then let baby drink the water from the lower end of the straw (unblock the top end once it's in baby's mouth).
-Offer baby spoons, cups, bowls and other baby-safe eating utensils to play with during mealtime.
-Give baby an ice cube (if it's a baby-safe size & shape) or ice chips to play with.
-Offer baby a momsicle (popsicle made from breastmilk) or slushy frozen breastmilk to eat with a spoon.
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