Introducing Peanuts To Infants
For the past 20 years, the number of children diagnosed with severe food allergies has risen at an alarming rate with no clear explanation. Parents who once felt helpless to prevent this chronic condition now have hope, thanks to the latest study by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, released on January 5, 2017.
Millions of expectant moms and new parents can take their infants’ health into their own hands by introducing peanuts early and often, the study concludes. The recommendations are broken down into three categories: high risk, moderate risk and low risk infants.
Infant Risk Assessment
If your child has severe eczema, an egg allergy or both, he or she may be more likely to develop a peanut allergy.
For these children, the study says parents can introduce peanuts into their diet between 4 to 6 months. Some doctors may request that parents do this during a well baby visit in case a reaction occurs.
- Allergists also offer skin prick or blood tests for high-risk infants, which will determine if an allergy is present.
- If the baby is not allergic, incorporate peanuts into his or her diet at least three times a week.
Children with mild to moderate eczema fall into this category.
These infants should be introduced to peanuts when they begin eating solids, which is around 6 months of age.
- Once it’s deemed safe, incorporate peanut-containing food into a child’s diet at least three times a week.
- If your baby has no eczema or food allergies - and there’s no family history of allergies - he or she is least likely to have a reaction.
- Parents should feel free to introduce peanuts at any age, just as they would peas, oatmeal, sweet potatoes or any other new food.
- Try to incorporate peanuts into the child’s diet at least three times a week.
Early Introduction Options
While parents should never give babies whole peanuts or large spoonfuls of peanut butter - these are serious choking hazards - there are a number of products on the market and in development that make early introduction simple and safe. See below for some of our top picks.
Since the LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut) study found that an early introduction of nuts into an infant’s diet could prevent an allergy from developing, parents - and companies - have been searching for safe, effective solutions. This system enables parents to gradually introduce peanuts to babies as young as 5 months. The powder, which is organic and allergist recommended, can be mixed into baby food over the course of seven days. Introduction kits are currently sold at $25.
Using precise doses of liquified peanut protein, Aralyte’s goal is to introduce a common allergen into the diets of babies as young as 4 months old as conveniently as possible. This liquid can be mixed into breast milk, formula or pureed foods without presenting a choking hazard. A two-week supply is now being sold for $29 on Amazon.
Much like the fruit and veggie puffs sold at every grocery store, these melt-in-your-mouth peanut butter snacks are safe for babies who are ready to start finger foods (between 4 to 6 months of age). The fact that they have no added sugar, are low in sodium, are gluten free and have 5 grams of protein per ounce makes these vegan puffs a smart addition to your snack cabinet. A 12-pack costs about $29 on Amazon.
Details: Buy here
This organic applesauce pouch is packed with protein from eight types of nuts, including peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachio and Brazil nuts. The product, which was developed by allergists for infants and toddlers, was inspired by the LEAP study that promotes an early introduction to peanuts. Parents can begin offering these to babies as young as 6 months old. Purchase a pack of five for $9.95 or a pack of 24 for $44.95. First Peanuts, a pouch that only contains peanuts, is also available.
Since the 1960s, Israelis have sworn by this popular, peanut butter-flavored snack. People of all ages eat Bamba, including infants who are starting finger foods, which typically begins at about 6 months. Scientists have been intrigued by the fact that Israeli babies have a significantly lower incidence of peanut allergies, and the early introduction of Bamba is thought to play a role. Order a pack of 8 for less than $5 on Amazon.
This health and wellness company hopes to put a stop to food allergies before they start. CEO Ashley Dombkowski, Ph.D. and co-founder Dr. Kari Nadeau seem uniquely qualified for the task. Ashley was the Chief Business Officer at 23andMe as well as an active investor and serial entrepreneur in the healthcare industry. Dr. Nadeau is a pediatrician and director of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research at Stanford University and the woman behind the breakthrough oral immunotherapy (OIT) trials. Together, they are developing ways to work allergens into children’s lives at a very early age, and while specific products are still in development, there may be both edible and topical options.