5 Month Old Can't Tolerate Baby Food

Updated on December 19, 2008
B.M. asks from Deerfield Beach, FL
13 answers

My 5 month old daughter has been on cereal since she was a month old and had no problems about a month ago i tried introducing bananas, and she was up all night screaming i waited a few days and tried apples...same thing. So i tried carrots same thing. Is it normal for a 5 month old to not tolerate anything but rice cereal?

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

I started my older daughter and my niece at the same time and never had a problem. My aunt started all 4 of my cousins at about 3-6 weeks and never a problem.

Featured Answers



answers from San Francisco on

Hi personally i've never known anyone that started their baby on solids and/or cereal so early - not to say that it's wrong. here's are some guidelines for infant feeding



and one i particularly like


hope this helps!

Edit My Answer
1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Miami on

I'm sure by now she is tolerating baby food, but for anyone else who stumbles upon this question, my daughter wouldn't tolerate baby food until she was about 6-7 months. Her poor tummy would hurt and she would scream and scream. Now she is 17 months and I can't get her to eat fruits and veggies any other way! I probably should have been more focused on introducing table foods when she was old enough then relieved that she would finally eat baby food.



answers from Port St. Lucie on

Maybe 5 mos. is a little young to try to introduce other foods. What worked with your first might not work for this one. I never started my babies on other foods until much later, and it could be her little digestive tract isn't up to other foods yet. I'de stick to the rice cerial for a while, and try again in a month or so.



answers from Miami on

I didn't have that problem, so I can only offer suggestions based on how I fed my kids. They were all around 4-6 months when I started just with cereal. It depended on how hungry they were after nursing. Then, after awhile I started adding a tablespoon or so of fruit to it. And after one jar was used up, I would try something else. As time went on, I added more fruit and less cereal. I think they were 7 or 8 months before they were eating just fruit alone. You could try something really mild too, like squash. If she is still having problems, you should talk to your pediatrician.



answers from Mayaguez on

Maybe fruits make her hungry faster? Try mixing the fruit with some cereal. My first and third couldn't wait an hour for their next feeding unless it was like a concrete mix. The pediatrician was always laughing because he said they were just hungry!



answers from Boca Raton on

Yes, it is normal for a 5 month old not to tolerate food yet. Here's some information from Dr. Sears:

Gone are the days when pressured mothers stuffed globs of cereal into the tight mouths of reluctant six-week-olds. Nowadays parents feed their baby on the timetable that is developmentally and nutritionally correct -- as determined by their baby. Don't be in a rush to start solids. Here are some good reasons for waiting.

1. Baby's intestines need to mature. The intestines are the body's filtering system, screening out potentially harmful substances and letting in healthy nutrients. In the early months, this filtering system is immature. Between four and seven months a baby's intestinal lining goes through a developmental growth spurt called closure, meaning the intestinal lining becomes more selective about what to let through. To prevent potentially-allergenic foods from entering the bloodstream, the maturing intestines secrete IgA , a protein immunoglobulin that acts like a protective paint, coating the intestines and preventing the passage of harmful allergens. In the early months, infant IgA production is low (although there is lots of IgA in human milk), and it is easier for potentially-allergenic food molecules to enter the baby's system. Once food molecules are in the blood, the immune system may produce antibodies to that food, creating a food allergy . By six to seven months of age the intestines are more mature and able to filter out more of the offending allergens. This is why it's particularly important to delay solids if there is a family history of food allergy, and especially to delay the introduction of foods to which other family members are allergic.

2. Young babies have a tongue-thrust reflex . In the first four months the tongue thrust reflex protects the infant against choking. When any unusual substance is placed on the tongue, it automatically protrudes outward rather than back. Between four and six months this reflex gradually diminishes, giving the glob of cereal a fighting chance of making it from the tongue to the tummy. Not only is the mouth-end of baby's digestive tract not ready for early solids, neither is the lower end.

3. Baby's swallowing mechanism is immature. Another reason not to rush solids is that the tongue and the swallowing mechanisms may not yet be ready to work together. Give a spoonful of food to an infant less than four months, and she will move it around randomly in her mouth, pushing some of it back into the pharynx where it is swallowed, some of it into the large spaces between the cheeks and gums, and some forward between the lips and out onto her chin. Between four and six months of age, most infants develop the ability to move the food from the front of the mouth to the back instead of letting it wallow around in the mouth and get spit out. Prior to four months of age, a baby's swallowing mechanism is designed to work with sucking, but not with chewing.

4. Baby needs to be able to sit up. In the early months, babies associate feeding with cuddling. Feeding is an intimate interaction, and babies often associate the feeding ritual with falling asleep in arms or at the breast. The change from a soft, warm breast to a cold, hard spoon may not be welcomed with an open mouth. Feeding solid foods is a less intimate and more mechanical way of delivering food. It requires baby to sit up in a highchair – a skill which most babies develop between five and seven months. Holding a breastfed baby in the usual breastfeeding position may not be the best way to start introducing solids, as your baby expects to be breastfed and clicks into a "what's wrong with this picture?" mode of food rejection.

5. Young infants are not equipped to chew. Teeth seldom appear until six or seven months, giving further evidence that the young infant is designed to suck rather than to chew. In the pre-teething stage, between four and six months, babies tend to drool, and the drool that you are always wiping off baby's face is rich in enzymes, which will help digest the solid foods that are soon to come.

6. Older babies like to imitate caregivers. Around six months of age, babies like to imitate what they see. They see you spear a veggie and enjoy chewing it. They want to grab a fork and do likewise.

There is no real nutritional reason to have your baby eating solids this early anyway. So if she is responding that way, I would hold off for awhile. Hope that helps.




answers from Miami on

Have you spoken to your pediatrician about this? Typically, babies should not be given any food until they are are at least 3 months or whenever their tongue thrusting reflex has somewhat diminished. My guess is that she may have developed food allergies, which could be related to giving her solids too soon. I'm a mother to 3 children and I never gave my babies cereal until they were 3-4 months old. And other foods like you've mentioned, I didn't introduce until they were 5 & 6 months old. I would recommend that you talk to your pediatrician.



answers from Miami on

Hi B.,

I think putting a child that young on cereal is way too early. They should only begin eating solid foods when they start developing teeth, this is when their body also starts making the proper digestive enzymes to break the food down. But starting out with fruit is good as the first sold when that happens. Starting too early can cause digestive problems and allergies. I would say to get her adjusted by a chiropractor to help restore proper nerve function to the area so it can function as it is supposed to again. This helps a lot of babies with digestive problems and pain.

Good luck,



answers from Miami on

What's the rush? My daughter didn't start solids until she was 9 months old! Babies do not "need" solid food for the 1st year of their life, we "introduce" it to them just for practice. I am glad your daughter took well to the cereal, but introducing foods that early could lead to allergies. Please read up on the subject and good luck!



answers from Boca Raton on

What is your doctor saying? Please consult with the doctor for advice, as he/she went to school to learn the dynamics of the young bodies. You will get a lot of advice here, but what works with one person, doesn't always work for everyone. Please seek information from your Pediatritian.



answers from Miami on

Why worry when the baby's digestive system isn't really mature enough until 6 months anyway. No hurry, babies will not starve themselves. Take it slow and try pears, sweet potatoes, peas each individually to see what the baby fancies.
We have a great class with new moms, check out
You and baby sound great,
D. Geymayr, R.Y.T., HBCE, CPD
Prenatal Plus - Yoga



answers from Miami on

Hi, B.. I'm a little confused: are you combining the fruit or the carrotts with the cereal, or are you giving each food separately? It is possible that the cereal mixed with the other things might expand in baby's stomach, as it sounds like she's getting a bad gas attack.

Always introduce new foods separately so that any bad reaction can be traced quickly to the source. Also, 5 months is still pretty young for foods. She should be getting all her basic nutrition from breast milk or formula, with just a little bit of cereal introduced. Babies are built to live off of this diet for most of their first year, so don't be too quick to push the solids.

It is also possible that something you are mixing the new foods with is giving a bad reaction. Are you mixing the fruit or the carrotts with formula or milk? That may be a bad combination for baby, too.

Also, are you feeding her raw stuff or cooked? Only feed cooked (except for bananas -- they're OK raw) at first. Baby can't chew raw stuff yet anyway.

It's also possible that something about eating new foods gives baby anxiety. Maybe the gas plus the little bit of anxiety over a new thing is creating the problem.

It could also be that she is very excited about the new tastes and is eating too much, hence the stomach ache.

Remember that baby's digestive system hasn't been dealing with plant fiber AT ALL up to this point. Rice has little or no fiber, and it doesn't affect the bowels much, but all fruits and vegetables have fiber (that's why they have to be cooked, to soften the fiber).

I think it may be time for a trip to the pediatrician if your daughter isn't tolerating any new foods, but again, remember: she's still pretty young for solids. A good rule of thumb about when to start on foods is the appearance of teeth. About the time they get teeth that can actually chew things, their digestive systems are ready to start handling them.

I hope everything works out OK, and that your daughters are in perfect health.




answers from Miami on

They say now to start babies on solid food by 6-8 months. If she is not ready I'd wait a bit. If she tolerates rice cereal maybe try another single grain such as oat. I'd hold off on the wheat because of possible allergies. Maybe she's just not ready for the acid, etc. comes with the fruits and veggies.

Next question: Feeding Baby Jarred Applesauce