Prevent Peanut Allergy
Recently, new recommendations for introducing peanuts to baby were released by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which complete the advice for all babies, regardless of risk.
Babies who are at high risk for developing peanut allergy are those infants with an egg allergy and/or severe eczema.
When I wrote about this topic a few months ago, I said I was waiting for more guidelines, specifically for this high risk population, and I am happy to say they are here.
You may be trying to get used to this new information. It may seem counter-intuitive, and even scary, but the research and subsequent recommendations have been outlined for all babies, and I want to review them with you here.Low and moderate risk infants can eat developmentally appropriate peanut products around 6 months. Click To Tweet
Timing of Peanut Introduction is Based on Risk
The new recommendations tease out risk level for peanut allergy development, and provide guidelines for how to go about introducing peanuts as follows:
If your baby has a low risk for developing a peanut allergy (no eczema or egg allergy):
Introduce peanut products around 6 months of age, ideally, sometime between the ages of 4-6 months (at home).
If your baby is at moderate risk for peanut allergy (has mild eczema):
Introduce peanuts around 6 months of age, and ideally, sometime between the ages of 4-6 months (at home).
If your baby is at high risk for developing a peanut allergy (has an egg allergy or severe eczema):
Your baby may eat peanut products beginning at 4-6 months, but you need to check with your doctor first.
Testing High Risk Babies
Your child, if at high risk, may receive special testing (blood test and/or skin prick test) to check his peanut allergy risk level. From that, a determination of whether to introduce peanut and where to do it, will be made.
The testing results may indicate your baby is sensitized to peanuts but that doesn’t mean he’s allergic to them. In fact, your doctor may determine that introducing peanut products could prevent a peanut allergy from developing.Babies who are sensitized to peanuts may not be allergic to them. Check with your doctor about testing. Click To Tweet
How to Introduce Peanuts to Your Baby
As I mentioned, your baby’s risk level will determine HOW you introduce peanut-containing foods:
For Normal or Moderate Risk Babies
Offer peanut products in developmentally appropriate ways such as mixed into purees or other foods, as often as you like.
For High Risk Babies (Who Get the Okay from their Doctor)
If you get the go ahead from your doctor, then according to the new recommendations, offer your baby peanut products in the amount of 2 grams of peanut protein, three times per week.
Two grams of peanut protein is equivalent to:
- 2 teaspoons of peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons of peanut flour
- 21 pieces of Bamba
Peanut Introduction, Practically
Obviously, there’s some common sense that goes along with introducing peanuts. Always gauge your baby’s readiness and abilities! The National Peanut Board’s info-graphic about introducing peanut protein is something you may want to check out.
Whole (or chopped) peanuts are a choking hazard for a young baby, so avoid them.
For babies, peanut butter is thick and poses a choking hazard. However, you can thin it with warm water to a watery consistency and mix it into other foods such as cereal, pureed veggies or mashed banana. You can also spread a thin layer on toast for the experienced baby who is self-feeding.
Peanut flour is made up of defatted peanuts, which are crushed into a powdered form. You can mix peanut flour into warm cereal, yogurt (if your baby is tolerating it), pancake or muffin batter, or any pureed veggies or fruit your baby may be eating.
Bamba is a peanut butter based “puff” made in Israel. (It is one of the most popular snack foods in the Israeli diet for youngsters, and interestingly, may be a contributing factor to the low rates of peanut allergy in Israeli kids.)
Similar to a Cheese Doodle, Bamba melts in the mouth, so it’s a relatively safe delivery system for peanut protein. Don’t worry, you can order Bamba on Amazon.
As always, if you are worried about introducing peanuts to your baby, discuss and plan it with your healthcare provider.
For more information on the important steps to feeding your baby, check out my guide:
Have you implemented these new recommendations? Tell me about it in the comments below!How to Introduce Peanuts to Your Baby Click To Tweet
Written by: Jill Castle, MS, RDN
Published on: January 18, 2017
Updated on: August 23, 2019