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How to Introduce Peanuts to Your Baby

peanut allergy

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.

Peanuts

Whole (or chopped) peanuts are a choking hazard for a young baby, so avoid them.

Peanut Butter

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

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

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: 

starting solids 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
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  1. Hi Jill, thanks for the article. I’m curious what is your take on breastfeeding while consuming a diet with peanuts and/or treenuts? If a baby is considered high risk for developing a peanut allergy is it safe to consume peanuts while breastfeeding before the 4-6 month mark? Could this potentially help decrease the risk of them developing a peanut allergy by introducing it to them through breastmilk from the time of birth?

    1. Good question. The current stance is that peanut is ok to eat during pregnancy.http://www.reuters.com/article/us-pregnant-women-peanuts-idUSBRE9BM0T620131223
      It’s also considered safe to breastfeed and eat peanuts/nuts with a high risk infant–but, of course, you should discuss with your doctor if you feel unsure. It does seem that early exposure is helpful rather than harmful, but I am not aware of studies to date that tease out the breastfeeding/eating peanuts phase…