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Introducing peanut butter to infants

Peanut butter

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends parents introduce allergenic and non-allergenic foods - including peanuts - starting around 4-6 months of age, in infants without a history of an allergic disorder, such as eczema or food allergies.

This recommendation was made based on the increasing prevalence of food allergies and the evidence suggesting that earlier rather than delayed introduction could potentially help prevent the development of food allergies.

Recent guidelines by the National Institute of Health strongly recommend that infants who have severe eczema, egg allergy or both, should undergo a food allergy evaluation by an allergist before introducing peanuts at home. Based on test results, peanut containing foods could potentially be introduced at 4-6 months of age. Infants without eczema or food allergy can be introduced to age-appropriate peanut containing foods, along with other solid foods starting at 4-6 months of age.

Before introducing peanuts to your infant ensure that they are well (i.e. do not give for the first time when they have a cold) and that you are available to observe them for a few hours after introduction in the home environment.

We recommend mixing 1-2 teaspoons of peanut butter with 2-3 teaspoons of water to thin it out. Offer your infant a small serving of peanut butter puree (e.g. tip of a teaspoon) and observe for 15-20 minutes. If there are no symptoms after the first dose, then slowly give the remaining doses, watching for any signs of an allergic reaction. Avoid giving whole peanuts or thick lumps of peanut butter to your baby, as this can be a choking hazard.

Dr. Sara Anvari, assistant professor of pediatrics - immunology, allergy and rheumatology