Solid Foods for a 5 Month Old Baby
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a baby is 6 months old before she is introduced to solid food. Breast milk or formula provides enough nutrition for the first six months, and waiting to introduce solid foods can help prevent allergies and allow the baby's digestive system to mature. However, some parents choose to introduce some solids between 4-6 months. There are a few grains, fruits and vegetables that are excellent beginner foods because they are gentle on the baby's stomach, offer nutrition and are delicious to a baby's taste buds.
Rice cereal is a perfect first food. It is bland and unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. For baby's first feeding, mix one tablespoon of the cereal with four to five tablespoons of breast milk or formula. The cereal will be very runny, but the baby is used to a liquid-only diet, so he will be more likely to eat the cereal from a spoon. Oatmeal cereal or barley are other options.
Easily Digestible Fruits
Applesauce or bananas make a good introduction to fruits because they are easily digestible for most children. To make your own applesauce, peel and core the fruit, cut into pieces and steam until soft. Then, blend to desired consistency, adding water if necessary to make the food more like liquid. Bananas are soft as is, so mashing them and mixing them with breast milk or formula will likely be enough; use a food processor if needed to get a smoother consistency.
Easily Digestible Vegetables
Carrots are an excellent choice for the first vegetable. They are naturally sweet and are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. To make carrots, peel, cut into pieces and steam until soft. Blend to desired consistency and add water if necessary. At first, the baby may need more water to make the puree easy to swallow. After carrots, you can introduce squash and sweet potatoes. Avocados are also a good option; they are easily mashed, and packed with healthy fats.
Introduce Foods Appropriately
To know if a certain food causes an allergic reaction, it is advisable to wait between 2-3 days before introducing a new food. If there is an allergic reaction, stop serving the food and consult the pediatrician. Follow the baby's cues and don't force him to eat when he doesn't want to. At this point in his development, eating solids is more for experimentation and learning. He is still getting most of his nutrition from breast milk or formula.