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.