The time has finally come! Your baby is starting solid foods and you’ve done some research about introducing peanuts. You’ve learned about your baby’s risk factors for developing a peanut allergy, you know the signs and symptoms of a reaction, now it’s time to start adding peanut to your baby’s meals!
When Can Babies Eat Peanut Butter?
Feeding your baby peanuts early and often is the single best way to reduce the chance that they will develop a peanut allergy.
Let’s repeat that:
Feeding your baby peanuts early and often is the single best way to reduce their chance of developing a peanut allergy.
Babies can eat peanut-containing foods as soon as they have tolerated one or two other solids like baby cereal.
While your baby is ready for peanuts, you cannot feed your baby regular peanut butter, whole peanuts, crushed peanuts, or even whole peanut puffs until they are much older as they are all choking hazards for babies 4 to 10 months old.
The safest ways to feed a baby peanuts when they are 4-10 months old are to thin regular peanut butter, mash up baby-specific peanut puffs, or use Lil Mixins Infant Peanut Powder.
Don’t be scared to introduce your baby to peanuts. Over 99% of babies are considered low risk of developing a peanut allergy, and doctors recommend they begin eating peanut regularly by 6 months old.
About 1% of babies are considered higher risk of developing a peanut allergy. These babies have severe eczema, and/or other food allergies. Even so, babies at higher risk of developing a peanut allergy should begin eating peanut sooner — around 4 months old.
Eating peanuts early and often has been proven to help babies develop a tolerance for peanuts, and can prevent them from developing a peanut allergy.
I Thought I was Supposed to Wait Until 1 Year Old?
That used to be true, but in 2017, the American Academy of Pediatrics reversed their guidelines on introducing peanuts.
Old Guidelines - wait until after the first birthday to introduce peanut
New Guidelines - Begin eating peanut-containing foods between 4-6 months. Continue regularly through age 1.
The old guidelines were not based on any actual clinical data. Beginning in the 1990’s, food allergy rates started going up and up. Doctors didn’t know what was causing it, and decided the best way to keep babies safe might be to avoid peanuts until they were older.
You can’t have an allergic reaction to something you don’t eat, right?
But food allergy rates rose faster.
Then doctors noticed that peanut allergy rates were really low in cultures where babies ate peanuts right from the start. So they did a huge clinical study called the LEAP study and proved that eating peanuts early and often lowered peanut allergy rates.
Now, doctors recommend practicing early introduction with peanuts to lower your baby’s risk of developing a peanut allergy. This isn’t just some fluke, either. The evidence for eating peanut containing foods early and often is very strong, and has been replicated many times. Doctors have also shown WHY eating peanut early protects a baby - it’s like training wheels for a baby’s stomach.
In 2019, the CHILD study validated this new policy by proving that low risk babies were 4 times more likely to develop a peanut allergy if they did not have early and regular exposure to peanuts.
The new guidelines are definitely here to stay.
How to Introduce Your Baby to Peanut Butter
Peanut butter, whole peanuts, and crushed peanuts are a choking hazard for babies just getting used to solids. Do not try to chop peanuts at home or use a food processor. Both of these methods will leave some chunks that are too large and unsafe for a baby.
There are three safe ways you can feed a baby peanut:
- Mix 2 scoops or 1 packet of Lil Mixins Infant Peanut Powder into their food. It contains no added sugar, no salt, and is made from just peanuts.
- Thin 2 teaspoons of creamy (do not use chunky) peanut butter with warm water. Allow the mixture to cool. Feed baby the peanut soup or stir the soup into baby food. Here are some peanut butter options, some of which are even organic and contain no added sugar.
- Mash 20 peanut puffs (like Bambas) into warm water. Allow the mixture to cool. Feed baby the peanut soup or stir the soup into baby food.
The first time you feed your baby peanuts, do it at a time where you will be near your baby and able to monitor them for the next 2-4 hours. Allergic reactions to peanut butter usually occur within 2 hours of the meal, but it can be longer.
Never feed your baby the first serving of any food at night, or when they are away from you at daycare or a grandparents house.
There is no need to wait 3 days between new foods, but it is smart to introduce the common allergens — dairy, peanut, egg, tree nut, wheat — for the first time without mixing them together.
Almost all allergic reactions in babies look like redness around the mouth, hives, or vomiting. If you see an allergic reaction, talk to your pediatrician before feeding peanut again.