Introducing solids to babies: potential reactions

Introducing solids to babies: potential reactions

Dr. Stan Cohen, MD

Is a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Children’s Center for Digestive Health Care / GI Care for Kids, whose books on nutrition for parents led him to start Nutrition4Kids with his co-founders.

Introducing solid foods can be a unique experience for you and your baby as he begins to share the same foods the family eats.  However, at first, this process must be done slowly to make sure that your baby does not have any reactions to certain foods. We generally recommend giving your infant a new solid food every 3-5 days. By 5 days, you will usually be able to tell if your baby has a negative reaction to it. 

Common negative reactions to new foods include: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Rash  (often on the face)
  • Constant crying
  • Diarrhea 
  • Blood in the stool 

These symptoms can start any time up to 36 hours after ingestion. That is why it is important to wait a few days before introducing another new food. Otherwise, it may not be clear which food caused a reaction. If you discover that a certain food does cause symptoms, wait several weeks before reintroducing the food to your infant again. Generally, if the same reaction occurs on three widely spaced introductions, it is safe to assume that a food allergen is present and the food should not be reintroduced for several months.

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