Like adults, babies can have allergies to certain foods. Interestingly, some of the allergies will pass when they get older and we’ll talk about that later in this chapter. It’s because of allergies that parents should wait 3-4 days before introducing a new food, especially if your family has a food allergy history. If you introduce foods one at a time when the baby is weaning to solids, you can gather a nice collection of foods your baby tolerates as well as those he doesn’t tolerate.
By doing the four day rule, you are also doing what allergists call an “elimination diet”. After the four days are up and you stop the food, you watch to see if the symptoms go away. By eliminating that food and getting relief of symptoms, you know that the food was the culprit all along.
If you don’t follow the 3-4 day rule because you don’t have allergies in your family, that’s okay, too, but you could run into trouble with an allergy that you can’t iden- tify because your baby has taken in too many foods in too short a time. In fact, some pediatricians aren’t recommending that parents wait 3-4 days at all because of studies showing that introducing allergenic food may not affect future allergies and the baby will outgrow the allergy anyway. If you have a personal or family history of food allergies, however, you may want to err on the side of caution.
Feed the baby new foods in the morning or at lunchtime. This will help you cope with whatever reaction you get and your pediatrician’s office will be open for seri- ous issues. You will disrupt your baby’s nighttime schedule the least by feeding them new foods early in the day.