What You Need to Know Right Now About Feeding Your Baby Peanuts

peanut allergies in babies

Nuts are in the news again. New guidelines released this week recommend parents feed babies peanut-based foods as early as six months of age. Evidence suggests that doing so could help prevent peanut allergies. This is a change from previous advice that suggested introducing peanut-based products before toddler-age could actually lead to a peanut allergy.

The Guidelines

These new recommendation were released on January 5 by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and are endorsed by the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. They stem from a research study published in 2015 that found introducing peanuts early reduced the risk of high-risk infants developing a peanut allergy by age five.

What is high-risk?

Babies are at high risk if they:

  • are allergic to eggs
  • have severe eczema
  • have both of these

If you baby is high-risk, talk to your doctor about what to do. You might decide together to test first and/or introduce peanuts in the doctor’s office at four months of age, as an example.

The Peanut Plan

If your baby is low-risk, they cold also benefit from an early taste of peanuts. Consider introducing small amounts of peanut products several times a week at home. Offer a small portion and then wait 10 minutes, looking for signs of a reaction. If no reaction develops, offer more—but keep watching for immediate or delayed reactions. Make sure to try the peanuts when your baby is healthy—if they have a cold it will be hard to tell if symptoms are from the virus or are a potential allergic reaction.

What to Offer

Trying peanuts doesn’t mean you have to place a PB&J sandwich on their high chair tray. Whole peanuts pose a choking risk and should be avoided, but there are many ways to introduce peanuts, including:

  • Add 2-3 tsp. of hot water to 2 tsp. of smooth peanut butter, mix and cool
  • Peanut-flavoured snack puffs (e.g., Bamba) can be used
  • Mix 2 tsp. smooth peanut butter with 2 tbsp. fruit or veggie puree
  • Add 2 tsp. peanut flour to 2 tbsp. fruit or veggie puree

And if all goes well, you’ve got a potent portable protein in your arsenal of first foods for baby!


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