Allergy Experts Now Recommend Introducing Peanut Products To Babies

Parents have been told to avoid giving peanut-containing foods to babies for a long time, but recent research has started to suggest the opposite. Now, the US National Institutes of Health recommend parents introduce peanuts to babies as young as four to six months.

Photo by NIAID.

Peanut allergies are deadly serious, and parents were previously told to hold off on introducing peanuts until children were into their toddler years, especially if there is a family history of allergies. Experts believed this would reduce the risk of them developing a peanut allergy, but now they believe it's the other way around. Several large studies have shown that babies who are at high risk of becoming allergic are actually less likely to develop the allergy if they're regularly fed peanut-containing foods during their first year. In an announcement earlier this week, the NIH summarised new guidelines for preventing peanut allergies in young children. Their panel of allergy experts recommend that infants with a high risk of developing a peanut allergy should have it introduced to their diets as early as four months.

That said, before you introduce peanut-containing products to a child, make sure they are evaluated by an allergy specialist first. And the NIH cautions against giving infants whole peanuts or straight peanut butter since they can be choking hazards. To learn more about the new US guidelines, check the link below.

NIH-sponsored expert panel issues clinical guidelines to prevent peanut allergy [National Institutes of Health via NPR Science]


Comments

    What isn't mentioned here is quantity.

    I had a chance to learn as a child that being exposed to TOO MUCH of something as a child can cause an allergy. My mum mainlined oranges, when she wasn't eating horse-apples and boiled cabbage, as a way of staying slim for more than a decade.

    There was too much orange oil in the air at home. Today, orange is kryptonite for barb d. Something I used to eat occasionally as a child, I cannot even be in the same room with. It's caused me to vomit on buses twice when people open them up, it's caused me to faint in my office when working late one evening because carpet cleaners used a newfangled "harmless natural" orange oil cleaner to clean the carpets, etc. (And I'm not even aware of what's causing the problem when it happens. I just know that I'm suddenly really ill.) I have to carry an epi-pen. Because of orange oil. :-(

    Allergist said that it was over-exposure that did it and has advised, "Stay away from wherever people are eating oranges and don't use orange cleaners," because the more of it I'm exposed to, the more extreme my reactions get. My allergy is severe enough that it cannot really be "fixed" by standard injections that introduce the substance to try to teach my immune system tolerance, because even small amounts directly in my system, as opposed to in the air, are life threatening.

    So I wish these stories that talked about introducing kids to peanuts at a young age, would give a benchmark amount that would be appropriate, rather than leaving people to guess or dig up information hiding deep in a government pamphlet somewhere.

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