The 3-Day Wait Rule For Babies To Introduce Solids

5 min read

Written by Jyoti Pachisia

Jyoti Pachisia

Three day wait rule

We all have heard of the 3-day wait rule before introducing solid food to your little one. It simply means you have to wait 3-4 days whenever you introduce a new food item to your baby before you go ahead with another new food. This rule helps you discover if your baby is allergic or intolerant to a specific food.

Doctors and experts, time and again, urge parents to introduce solid foods gradually to their babies. While in the initial weeks, this is followed to the end, parents generally get excited in the absence of any allergies and stop following this thumb rule. Let’s see how important the 3-day wait rule is for your baby.

In This Article

What is The 3-Day Wait Rule?

Patience is the key to this rule. It simply means that after introducing a new food item in your baby’s diet, you must wait at least 3 days (ideally 4-5 days) before introducing a new food item. During those 3 days, ensure your baby eats only those items that have previously passed the 3-Day test.

For instance, if you start with apple puree, you give it in very small quantities for 3 days. Then introduce a new item, for instance, banana puree. Give it for 3 days, but you can continue offering safe foods such as apple puree in this case. Watch out for any allergic reaction.

If you do not see any reactions, from the fourth day you can give apple and banana purees to the baby. Then introduce another item (may be ragi) for the next 3 days. This rule will help you pinpoint any allergens that food items may cause. If your baby develops an allergy, gas, diarrhea, etc., you will know which food to avoid.

Why is The 3-Day Wait Rule Important?

3 day wait rule

If you introduce a new food over many days, monitoring the impact of that particular food on your baby gets easier. Does your baby appear to have rashes the next day? Is their poop very loose? Are they showing signs of a tummy ache?

If you notice any of these small issues, you can easily pinpoint the root cause foods and eliminate them from the baby’s diet.

It is also a good idea to keep a baby food journal where you note down the food items introduced with dates and any noted aftereffects.

This is especially important if there is a family history of food allergies.

How do I Identify if my Baby is Allergic to Any Foods?

baby food allergies

It is delightful to see babies indulging in foods and tasting them for the first time. They discover new tastes, flavors, and textures. But problems may arise when they react badly to certain foods and show allergy and intolerance symptoms.

The term food allergy (1) comes under the umbrella term “Food Sensitivity” (2) reaction happening after ingestion of food or exposure to food. However, it is important to understand how these allergies manifest or show themselves.

Here are some reactions that may appear in your baby indicating food allergies

1. Skin Problems

A red patch appears on skin which would be itchy or swollen. Acute urticaria (3) and Atopic Dermatitis (4) are the known manifestations of food allergy (5). Sometimes the color of the skin turns pale or blue.

2. Breathing Problems

This ranges from simple sneezing to serious wheezing or throat tightness and results therefore in breathing problems like asthma (6).

3. Stomach Problems

Allergy to certain foods starts with immense stomach pain followed by vomiting. The symptoms (7) range from mild to severe.

If the babies already have known allergies or eczema or a family history of food allergies or similar conditions, introducing new foods may be a matter of concern. Certain foods commonly trigger allergic reactions in babies- nuts and peanuts, eggs, cow’s milk, soya, shellfish and fish (8).

Babies experiencing allergic reactions may show dramatic behavioral changes or act irritable without reason immediately after a meal. If a baby confirms an allergy, parents should communicate with the healthcare expert team to understand the management of such food allergies babies.

When Can I Stop Following The Three Day Wait Rule?

By the time your baby is 9-10 months, you will have introduced most foods that make a balanced diet. Once this is achieved you can relax a bit, but only when you are offering homemade food.

That said, it would never hurt to be cautious, especially when introducing common allergens such as peanuts, eggs, wheat, meat, or certain types of fish. This holds good for store-bought or canned food items as well. Always introduce a new food item either in the morning or during lunch.

How to be Careful After You Stop The Three Day Wait Rule?

Follow the below-mentioned steps to ensure safety while introducing your baby to a new food.

  • Ensure that you introduce a new food item early in the day. This way, even if your child develops an allergic reaction, you can monitor it well and it would not lead to an emergency room visit during the night.
  • Be extremely cautious when you introduce a food item that is known to be allergic to you or your spouse. In fact, you can avoid introducing it till the baby is older.

The 3-day wait rule is the best rule to find out if your baby is allergic or intolerant to a particular food. Though the 3-day wait rule is becoming outdated and obsolete, it is best to be followed to avoid any implications of serious food allergies.


1. Should I Wait Three Days After Introducing Solid Food to my Baby?

The three day wait rule is a trusted method of ensuring that each new food introduced to your baby is safe for the baby and is not causing any allergies. Though this rule is not compulsory, following it is a good way to identify food allergies and intolerances in babies.

2. Why Give 3 Days Break Between New Foods?

When you start solids, you don’t know what your baby can be allergic to. Three days is a good time gap for any allergies to show up. If your baby is ok, then you can introduce the next food.

3. Can I Give Other Non-Solid Foods These 3 Days?

Yes, you can. Don’t give a new food item. Ensure that you are giving foods that your baby is already comfortable with This helps you identify reactions to new foods if any.

4. Should I Always Follow the 3-Day Wait Rule for my Baby?

No, that’s not necessary. The three day rule must be followed in the initial few weeks of introducing solids to your baby. Once your little one has reached 9 months of age and has tried enough new foods, you can quit using the three day wait rule.

5. What Foods Should be Introduced to The Baby First?

It is vital to introduce foods balanced with essential nutrients. You can opt for pureed colorful fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas, carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Simultaneously, you can also introduce liquids such as vegetable broth and soup.


    1. Food Allergies – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf – []
    2. Food Allergies, Intolerances and Food-Borne Intoxications | SpringerLink – []
    3. Proven Food-Induced Acute Urticaria and Predictive Factors for Definitive Diagnosis in Childhood | International Archives of Allergy and Immunology | Karger Publishers – []
    4. Relationship Between Atopic Dermatitis and Food Allergy: Ingenta Connect – []
    5. Skin manifestations of food allergy – PubMed –  []
    6. Frontiers | Asthma and Food Allergy in Children: Is There a Connection or Interaction? –  []
    7. Gastrointestinal manifestations of food allergy | Pediatric Health – []
    8. Causes, symptoms and prevention of food allergy – PMC – []
Jyoti Pachisia,M.Sc (Nutrition & Dietetics),PG Dip.(Dietetics & Applied Nutrition)

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