When Should I Introduce Peanuts into My Baby’s Diet?
Breaking news! The findings of the very first large, randomized prevention trial for peanut allergies was just released to the benefit of parents and babies everywhere.
Previously it was recommended that babies at risk for peanut allergies should be exposed later on, but the LEAP Study has found that exposing children at risk for peanut allergy earlier is more likely to reduce the incidence of it occurring. Babies’ immune systems “sample” the environment as they develop, and exposing their immune systems to peanuts during the right window of time can limit the instance of peanut allergy in children by 80%.
The recommendations resulting from the study address three groups of children:
Children who are thought to be highly likely to develop a peanut allergy can be given a skin prick test or blood test by an allergist. If they are tested positive for peanut allergy, parents can avoid exposure altogether. If they test negative, it is recommended that parents expose their babies to peanut products between 4 to 6 months. A baby is believed likely to develop a peanut allergy if they have egg allergies or severe asthma.
Children thought to be mildly prone to developing a peanut allergy can be exposed around 6 months of age to peanut products. Babies who have moderate to severe eczema are thought to be more prone to developing an allergy to peanuts than other children.
Children with no known risk of development can be given peanuts at any time, as dictated by the parents’ preferences, lifestyle, and culture. If your child does not have asthma, egg allergies, or eczema they are far less likely to develop an allergy to peanuts.
For those who are highly allergic to peanuts, it can result in anaphylaxis and in the most extreme cases, death. More and more daycares and schools are becoming peanut free facilities to prevent such reactions. For those who have a history of peanut allergies or other allergies listed above, there is now a very simple and straight-forward set of guidelines they can follow with their children.