.flickr.com/photos/cheesy42/26355491291Should you introduce peanuts early to children? And, how?!
For historical sake, when I was in medical school, the rule was to AVOID peanut ingestion until age one. The thought was that early introduction would increase the risk of peanut allergy. It is said that 50% of the material that medical students learn is false and now we know that this rule is part of that 50%.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease released their guidelines after an expert panel convened.
The NEW rules are
- For infants with severe eczema, egg allergies, or both, peanut-containing foods should be introduced at 4-6 months of age.
- Your physician can order a peanut-specific IgE (peanut sIgE) blood test before introducing peanut to help determine the potential sensitivity and need for initial “supervised feeding” (at a medical office) versus feeding at home.
- For infants with mild to moderate eczema, the recommendation is to introduce peanut-containing foods at 6 months of age after the introduction of other solid foods.
- For infants with no eczema or food allergies, the parents can introduce peanut containing foods at any age after 4 months.
- The total amount of peanut protein should be 6 to 7 grams divided into three or more feedings per week. You can thin peanut butter by adding hot water to 2 teaspoons of peanut butter to make a warm puree. Put a little of this puree on the tip of a spoon and feed it to your child. Then hit and watch for 10 minutes, checking the baby or any reaction like hives, rash, behavior changes or trouble breathing. If no reaction, you can continue to feed the puree slowly. Continue to watch the child for about two hours to make sure that there is not a late reaction.
- Do not give peanuts as those can be a choking hazard.
- Once peanut introduced, the parents should continue to provide peanut on a regular basis for several years.
The findings of another study were that there is an 80% relative reduction in peanut allergy at 5 years of age for peanut-exposed children compared with no exposure.