A Mum from Australia sent us a message yesterday, asking if it really is absolutely necessary to introduce new foods separately. She said…
“…friends of mine have told me that this is something that parents are told to do, but that they have started several new foods over the course of a few days and their babies have been fine.“
Advice like this is something you’ll encounter quite often when your baby starts solids – but it can be dangerous advice.
In the vast majority of cases, new foods will cause no problems for babies at all. Fortunately for the friends mentioned in our visitor’s message, their little ones were not allergic or sensitive to any of the foods they were offered.
But it is important to realize that ANY food can trigger an allergic reaction in a baby – even foods that are usually recommended as “first foods”. Although foods such as these are considered to be the least allergenic, ANY food has the potential to cause a reaction in a sensitive individual.
If you follow the four day rule – that is, you introduce one new food at a time, at least four days apart – then you can pinpoint which food is causing problems for your baby and avoid it for the time being.
If you introduce several new foods simultaneously, then you are faced with either avoiding ALL the foods you have given… or you risk triggering a similar reaction again.
You should continue to apply the four day rule throughout your baby’s first year, whenever you give him new foods. You should also use this method when you add additional elements to his meal, such as herbs, spices, garlic etc. Each individual herb or spice should be treated as a new food and introduced one at a time.
Our food allergy page lists many of the common food allergies affecting infants and includes links to other pages on our site that describe how allergies to different types of foods may present themselves…