The four day rule is a simple strategy to help spot baby digestive problems or potential allergies and easily identify problem foods.
The rule is easy to follow…
Each time you introduce a new food to your baby, you need to continue feeding your baby that same food for four days.
You can continue to feed your baby other foods you have safely introduced.
But don’t introduce two new foods at the same time.
Allergic reactions usually appear quickly – sometimes within 1/2 an hour of your baby eating the food responsible.
But it can take up to 3 or 4 days for a reaction to occur. Baby digestive problems, too, tend to take a few days to appear.
By sticking to one new food for 4 days, you will immediately be able to tell which food is causing the reaction or digestive problem.
You can then eliminate this food from your baby’s diet, although it may be possible to re-introduce it later on.
Identifying the problem quickly means you won’t need to “experiment” to find its cause … and you won’t risk provoking the same reaction again.
A useful tip is to try introducing new foods in the morning or at lunch time.
If your baby suffers a severe allergic reaction, it will be easier to get medical help then, rather than later in the day.
If the food causes your baby digestive problems, he may experience diarrhea, gas (wind) or some other discomfort. If you’ve given him the food late in the day, then he – and you – will probably be in for a sleepless night!
If you are introducing solids to your baby before he is 6 months old, you might want to increase the “four day rule” to seven days.
Some medical experts believe that, in a younger baby, digestive problems and allergic reactions are more likely to occur.
Giving your baby new foods is exciting, but don’t rush things – it pays to be patient and apply this rule. You will be in control of your baby’s diet, alert to potential problems and able to identify their cause. And the end result … a happy, healthy baby, enjoying the foods that are right for him.