Experts agree: it is important for most babies to be exposed to peanuts at an early age.

New Guidelines Tell Parents When to Introduce Babies to Safe, Peanut-containing Foods

Guidelines suggest that parents should introduce most babies to safe, peanut-containing foods around the time they start eating solid foods, typically 4-6 months of age. Talk with your child’s doctor at the 4 or 6-month well-child visit to see which of the following 4 groups your child falls into:

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Infants with severe eczema and/or egg allergy

  • This group is at highest risk for developing a peanut allergy and would benefit most from early introduction
  • It is recommended that these infants begin consuming peanut-containing foods between 4 to 6 months of age, but only after checking with the child’s physician
  • The physician should evaluate the child for peanut sensitization before they are introduced to peanuts
  • This may include allergy testing and/or introducing peanut-containing foods for the first time under doctor’s supervision
  • High levels of sensitization indicate probable peanut allergy and these children should see an allergist to determine next steps

Infants with mild to moderate eczema

  • These infants should incorporate safe, peanut-containing foods into their diets around 4 to 6 months of age
  • It’s generally recommended to introduce peanut-containing foods at home and without prior allergy testing
  • Some health care professionals may desire an in-office supervised feeding and/or evaluation before introducing peanuts at home
  • Some parents prefer the first introduction be done at the doctor’s office during baby’s 4 or 6-month well-child visit

Infants without eczema or any other food allergy

  • These infants do not need peanut allergy testing before introduction
  • Experts recommend these babies start eating safe, peanut-containing foods as early as 4 to 6 months of age, after the introduction of solid foods

No/mild history of eczema or food allergy but a family history of peanut allergy

  • Data is limited about risk of peanut allergy in this group. Some studies show increased risk of peanut allergy compared with infants who do not have a family history.
  • Due to potential benefit, it is recommended that these infants have peanut-containing foods introduced into their diets around 4 to 6 months of age
  • Parents and health care professionals can decide together whether to do allergy testing and/or introduction of peanut-containing foods at the doctor’s office before introducing peanuts at home

Once peanut-containing foods have been consumed safely, regular consumption is important.

 

These guidelines do not apply to anyone with known or existing peanut allergy. You should not confuse these guidelines with treatment recommendations.

Instructions for Introducing Peanut-containing Foods at Home

Talk to Your Doctor Before You Introduce Peanut-containing Foods to Your Baby

Feeding Your Infant

1. Prepare a full portion of a baby-safe, peanut-containing food.

 

2. Offer your infant a small taste of the peanut-containing food on the tip of a spoon. Wait 10 minutes.

 

3. If there is no allergic reaction after this small taste, then slowly give the remainder of the peanut-containing food at the infant’s usual eating speed.

Safety Tips

  • Introduce peanut-containing foods after your baby has begun eating other solid foods like fruits, vegetables and cereals.
  • Feed your infant only when he or she is healthy; do not do the introduction if he or she has a cold, vomiting, diarrhea or other illness.
  • Give the first peanut feeding at home and not at a day care facility or restaurant.
  • Make sure at least 1 adult will be able to focus all their attention on the infant, without distractions from other children or household activities.
  • Make sure that you will be able to spend at least 2 hours with your infant after the feeding to watch for any signs of an allergic reaction.
  • Peanut butter directly from a spoon and whole peanuts should not be given to children less than 4 and 5 years of age, respectively, due to choking risk.

What is a Food Allergy?

A food allergy is when your body mistakes a certain food for something dangerous or unknown.

How Long Before I Know if My Baby is Having an Allergic Reaction?

When your baby is trying a peanut-containing food for the first time, it is important to watch him or her for signs of a food allergy. An allergic reaction can happen up to two hours after trying a new food.

What are Common Signs of a Food Allergy?

  • Rash or hives (swollen red bumps) around the mouth or on the face or body
  • Swollen lips, tongue or face
  • Itching
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Change in skin color (blue or pale)
  • Wheezing (whistling sound when you breathe in)
  • Trouble breathing
  • Suddenly feeling tired or drowsy
  • Feeling like your body is going limp

If you have any concerns about your infant’s response to peanuts, seek immediate medical attention and call 911.

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