Allergies to peanut butter are common amongst children.
Pediatricians and allergy experts once agreed that the best solution was to avoid peanuts altogether.
Recent Research Findings
But just as babies can be trained to recognize that hot stoves are dangerous, so too can their immune systems be educated to see peanut proteins as harmless rather than as threats.
Two recent studies point in this direction:
- In one, the rate of peanut allergies was about 10 times lower for children who ate peanuts from an early age, compared to kids whose parents avoided giving their infants peanuts.
- In another, young children who were assigned to either eat peanuts early or avoid them showed again that kids who were introduced to peanuts when young had up to an 80% lower risk of developing peanut allergies than those who were not.
Experts have changed their view. Instead of recommending pregnant women to avoid any particular groups of foods in the hopes of protecting their children from allergies, now they advise for introducing peanuts to infants in order to prevent peanut allergies.
Recommendations of experts
Here is the guideline:
- If babies are already allergic to eggs or have severe eczema that doesn’t respond to treatment, they are considered at high risk of developing a peanut allergy. For these babies, the guidelines recommend introducing peanuts at about 4 to 6 months, just as a baby is transitioning to solid foods. Peanuts must be given on doctors advice.
- For babies with mild to moderate eczema, and those without any known allergic reactions – parents can introduce peanuts gradually at home, beginning at six months.