Introducing Peanuts into Your Infant’s Diet

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Peanut allergies are a serious concern for both children and adults because of the potential for severe reactions and the prevalence of peanuts within our society. But when is the right time for introducing peanuts into a baby’s diet? Well, there are new studies and regulations that go against traditional wisdom in regards to introducing peanuts to infants. Read on to learn the new recommendations about introducing peanuts to children.

Introducing Peanuts Benefits Your Child

First off, it should be clarified that peanuts in this blog refers to age appropriate peanut based products and foods, not whole peanuts. With that being said, the prevailing wisdom for years was that you should hold off on introducing peanuts until your child reached their toddler years to reduce the chances of developing allergies. However, there are new federal guidelines that suggest babies with a high risk of allergies are less likely to develop them if they are regularly fed peanut-containing foods during their first year of life. In fact, recent studies have shown that introducing peanuts at a young age makes kids 80 percent less likely to develop an allergy to peanuts than similar children who avoided them. This reduction in risk is the basis behind the significant change in thinking concerning the prevention of peanut allergies.

Risk Factors

The new guidelines highlight babies with severe eczema or egg allergies should begin introducing peanuts between four and six months of age. Both eczema and egg allergies in young babies have been linked to increased risk of developing a severe peanut allergy. Keep in mind that the definition of “severe eczema” may be a bit subjective when it comes to parents, so it is wise to consult an allergy specialist before beginning to provide your child with peanut-containing foods. It is also a good idea to make sure that you are only introducing one new food at a time so that, in the event of an allergic reaction, it is easier to pinpoint what food caused it.

Additional Information

Infants should never be given whole peanuts because they present a significant choking hazard for little ones. When feeding your child peanut-containing foods, it is necessary to monitor them after ingestion to look for signs of reaction such as hives, rash, or trouble breathing. If you observe any of these symptoms, discontinue feeding your baby peanut-containing foods and seek medical assistance.

Additional Resources

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/02/23/388450621/feeding-babies-foods-with-peanuts-appears-to-prevent-allergies

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/03/04/469237111/peanut-mush-in-infancy-cuts-allergy-risk-new-study-adds-to-evidence

https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/guidelines-clinicians-and-patients-food-allergy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pVNFWi0XvU