The "rules" about babies and food allergies have been changing since it was noted that babies in other coutnries who start peanuts products early have a lower risk of peanut allergy. Here are the latest recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics...read more
New Guidelines on the Introduction of Peanut Products
Since this news, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has come out with guidelines to help pediatricians and parents understand and use this news—and do it safely. The guidelines divide babies into three groups: those with severe eczema(persistent or recurrent eczema who need prescription creams frequently) and/or egg allergy, those with mild to moderate eczema, and those who don't have any eczema or food allergy.
For the first group, those with severe eczema and/or egg allergy, testing for peanut allergy is recommended—and parents should talk with their doctors about how and when to give peanut products. If testing shows an allergy, it may be a good idea to do that first taste of peanut product in the doctor's office. Parents of babies in this group should talk to their doctor early, like at the 2 or 4-month checkup, because the recommendation is that these babies should get peanut products between 4 and 6 months.
There is no testing needed for babies with mild to moderate eczema, although they should still talk with their doctors about their child's situation and needs. These babies should try peanut products at around 6 months of age.
The babies who don't have any eczema or food allergy can have peanut products along with other foods based on their family's preferences and cultural practices. It's not so important to do it early, but it's fine if parents do.
It's very important that parents not give babies whole peanuts or chunks of them (or chunky peanut butter) because babies could choke. Smooth peanut butter mixed into a puree is better, as are snacks or foods made with peanut butter.
We don't know if this will work for other food allergies, so if there are other allergies you are looking to prevent, talk to your doctor.