Peanuts are one of the food allergens most commonly associated with anaphylaxis, a sudden and potentially deadly condition that requires immediate attention and treatment.
Schools around the world are mostly ‘nut free’, meaning an old time favourite – peanut butter sandwich for lunch – is out of the question.
Many parents fear the early introduction of peanuts and as a consequence, most children aren’t given peanuts until a very late age (some never are).
However, according to US guidance, in order to reduce the risk of peanut allergy, babies should be given peanuts early – some at four months old (when they are weaning ready).
An important fact to mention is that do not give your baby whole nuts as there could be a possibility of choking.
Why New Peanut Rules?
In 2015, the Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) study showed that introducing peanut early to infants may prevent peanut allergy. The study showed that the group of at-risk infants who ate 2 grams of peanut three times a week had significantly less allergy to peanuts at 5 years of age compared with infants who avoided peanut.
Based on the LEAP study, new guidelines have been produced. Find that here.
The guidelines show that the introduction of peanuts depends on the allergy risk of the child. It is therefore very important you consult a medical professional such as a doctor or dietitian to help you identify your child’s risk of allergy.
Timing Is Everything
The Timing of Peanut Introduction is Based on Risk
If your baby has a low risk for developing a peanut allergy (no eczema or egg allergy):
Introduce peanut products around 6 months of age, ideally, sometime between the ages of 4-6 months (at home).
If your baby is at moderate risk for peanut allergy (has mild eczema):
Introduce peanuts around 6 months of age, and ideally, sometime between the ages of 4-6 months (at home).
If your baby is at high risk for developing a peanut allergy (has an egg allergy or severe eczema):
Your baby may eat peanut products beginning at 4-6 months, but you need to check with your doctor first.
- Peanuts are a good source of protein in a child’s diet. They provide a source of niacin, magnesium, vitamins E and B6 and manganese.
- When peanuts are mixed with a wholegrain carbohydrate (toast and peanut butter for example) it makes it a source of complete protein. This means your child will be getting all the essential amino acids from one non-meat source.
I love nuts, they are nutritious, versatile (use it is sweet or savory cooking) and they are affordable.
How To Introduce Peanuts Into Your Child’s Diet
Below are some examples of how you can introduce peanuts into your baby’s diet.
Peanut Butter Pancakes
Measure out 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or peanut flour to make pancakes. You can also mix it in with warm cereal or in yogurts (if they don’t have dairy allergy) or a muffin or bread batter.
It’s your choice:)
Thin it with warm water to a watery consistency and mix it into other foods such as cereal, pureed veggies or mashed banana. You can also spread a thin layer on toast for a baby who is self-feeding. Apple Peanut Butter Puree is a lovely meal you could try.
Add peanut butter to baby porridge and some cooked apples. Start out with 1 teaspoon.
Bamba is a peanut butter based “puff” made in Israel. (It is one of the most popular snack foods in the Israeli diet and may be a contributing factor to the low rates of peanut allergy in Israeli kids).
Bamba and any other peanut puff melt in the mouth so it a safe food for the baby who has just started weaning.
This YouTube Video on my Channel shows you how to use peanut flour/butter in baby meals.