Your baby is now five months old! Doesn't time fly!
Breast milk or formula is all your baby needs at this stage, but some time in the next few weeks she (or he!) might begin showing signs of being ready for solid foods. Your baby might be ready for solids if she:
*Is holding her head up well
*Has lost her extrusion reflex (her tongue no longer pushes the spoon out of her mouth - she will lose this reflex some time between 4-6 months)
*Still seems hungry after finishing her milk feeds
*Has begun waking during the night again (it is important to remember though that starting solids early will not help baby to sleep through the night any earlier)
Introducing solids is an exciting (and messy!) time for Mum and baby. Choose a time of day when both you and baby are relaxed and settled. Many mums find late morning or early afternoon is a good time to start. Begin with just a teaspoon of runny, slightly-warm solids and build up to a larger quantity over a few days. Baby rice is generally recommended as baby's first food as it is easy to digest and can be made up with baby's usual breastmilk or formula so will have a familiar taste. Once baby is tolerating this well you can begin introducing fruits and vegetables from the First Foods list. For more comprehensive information on starting solids, check out our guide to Starting Solids and if you have any queries or concerns, talk to your Well Child provider or call Plunketline on 0800 933 922.
Some time around 5-6 months your baby may also begin teething. Teething can start long before teeth actually appear, and you may be able to feel the teeth underneath baby's gums before they actually cut through. Signs that your baby may be teething include dribbling, rosy red cheeks, small spots on her chin caused by dribbling, putting anything and everything in her mouth, slight fever and irritability. Remember though that teething WON'T make your baby sick so if you are worried about your baby's health see your GP straight away.
The first teeth to come through are usually the two bottom middle teeth, followed by the two upper middle teeth. Your baby will eventually have 20 teeth, these will all be through by the time she turns 3.
If teething is making your baby uncomfortable you can try rubbing a teething gel on her gums (available from supermarkets and pharmacies) or giving her a cool teething ring or piece of cold apple wrapped in muslin to chew on. There are also homeopathic teething remedies, your natural health practitioner will be able to tell you about these.