Peanuts can be a scary topic for new parents. Peanut allergies affect 1-2% of children and can be severe and lifelong. Most schools typically have peanut bans or at the very least, peanut-free classrooms or lunch tables. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology has recently come out with updated guidelines that reduces the risk of developing a peanut allergy.
Back in the day, peanuts were among the last foods introduced by parents. There was a time where it was recommended to avoid peanuts altogether until elementary school. In summary, these new guidelines encourage parents to discuss whether or not their baby is a candidate for early introduction of peanuts. In the Learning Early About Peanuts (LEAP) Study, infants that were high risk for developing peanut allergy were 80% less likely to become allergic if they had peanuts introduced prior to 1 year of age. Some infants may even benefit from peanut introduction as early as 4-6 months of age.
Despite the new guidelines, it is important to remember to never give an infant or toddler any whole peanut or partial peanuts which are a significant choking hazard. There are options for safer introduction of peanut products, which should be discussed with your pediatrician. Using a specialized peanut powder given at slowly increasing intervals, (which can be easily mixed into stage 1 foods that are already tolerated) is an easy way to introduce peanuts without the risk of choking hazards. Check out “Hello Peanut!,” a product developed by an allergist and available for infants/toddlers who meet the criteria for early introduction.
Introducing new foods with your baby is certainly an exciting time, and we love giving our VIPs a sample menu of foods (fruits, veggies, meats, grains, dairy) with recommended age ranges to start. We call this the “foodie visit” at our office, as we introduce babies to a lifelong lifestyle of eating healthy foods! While this new research is certainly promising, it is still recommended that you discuss the introduction of any new food with your pediatrician prior to giving it to your child.
For more tips on the best foods to feed your baby and how to raise a “veggie-lover,” one of our favorite reads is “What To Feed Your Baby: A Pediatrician’s Guide to the 11 Essential Foods to Guarantee Veggie-Loving, No-Fuss, Healthy Eating Kids” by Pediatrician Tanya Altmann.