Introducing peanuts to your baby

Introducing peanuts to your baby

Learn how to safely introduce peanut products to infants and toddlers

In the past, many doctors advised parents not to introduce peanut products to their babies. However, recent studies have shown that early introduction of peanuts can have health benefits and reduce the risk of developing a peanut allergy later in life. As more parents are considering introducing peanuts to their infants, let’s look at how this introduction may be done safely.

Should my baby have peanuts?

The answer is yes! The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommends that peanuts be introduced before a baby’s first birthday—taking into consideration any risk factors—to help them prevent a future peanut allergy or detect an allergy early. Also, peanuts are generally a healthy snack, providing babies with fat, protein, fiber, and other nutrients that support their growth and development.

When should my baby have peanuts?

It is always important to consult with your baby’s doctor before trying anything new. Generally, it is recommended to introduce peanuts anywhere between four to six months or when your baby begins to eat other solid foods.

How can you introduce peanuts into your baby’s diet?

When you are planning to introduce peanuts into your baby’s diet, it is important to plan to monitor your baby for two hours after eating. Also, it is recommended to let the baby try the new food item when they feel well, show no signs of a cold or illness, and are in their home, not daycare.

How to Serve the Peanuts

Peanuts should never be served as a whole to any child under four as the nut presents a great choking hazard. Also, peanut butter on a spoon is not the only option for introduction. Below are some ways to serve peanut products to your infant.

  1. Mix peanut butter with water, formula, or breast milk
  2. Mix peanut butter with other foods
  3. Mix powdered peanut butter into vegetables or fruit puree
  4. Serve teething snacks that contain peanuts, like peanut puffs
  5. Serve peanut butter teething biscuits

The Peanut Allergy Risk

About three million people in the United States are allergic to peanuts, with a peanut allergy being the most common food allergy among children. Some parents fear introducing peanuts to their little ones, as they know how severe and dangerous a peanut allergy can be.

There are certain risk factors for peanut allergies.

  1. A blood test or skin test that shows allergy related IgE antibodies or sensitivity to peanuts
  2. A severe or moderate eczema diagnosis
  3. An egg allergy

It is important to note, if your child has tested positive for a peanut allergy they should not consume any peanut products.

Signs of an Allergic Reaction to Peanuts

Food allergy reactions range from mild to severe and typically occur shortly after the food is consumed. The common symptoms are:

  • Hives
  • Sneezing and wheezing
  • Shallow breathing
  • Swelling
  • Itchy rashes
  • Throat tightness
  • Swelling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of consciousness

Unfortunately, peanut allergies tend to be lifelong. Only about 20% of children outgrow a peanut allergy.

If your child is presenting symptoms of an allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately. NW Indiana ER & Hospital is open 24/7 to provide emergency care for anyone presenting signs of an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis. Our team of expert physicians are here to get treatment initiated quickly and you and your loved one back to normal.

Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, NW Indiana ER & Hospital and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.