As a parent of four kids, there are certain things you start to expect when you sit in the pediatrician’s office, your infant baby in tow, ready for their check-up. There are the safety concerns, the height and weight check, any vaccinations you may be getting (or declining) and then there are the recommendations on what you feed that bundle of joy, including when and when not to introduce certain foods like peanuts and strawberries to your child.
I remember well when my oldest son was 6 months old I was making peanut butter bars in the kitchen and my husband stuck a spoon in his mouth as he hung out in the high chair watching, a spoon covered in peanut butter. I was horrified. I sat and waited for a reaction. I was convinced that what had just happened would lead to a peanut allergy because of the early exposure. All was well, and peanut allergies have thus far been avoided in this family.
Now, however, new studies are showing that there is no basis for avoiding foods in your diet while regnant, breastfeeding or when introducing solids to your infant. That’s right. Peanut butter + infant does not a peanut allergy make.
Shoshana Kordova recently broke it down on Babble, sharing her experience in Israel, as well as looking at several different studies. From the article:
“And in the United States, both the NIH and the AAP have determined that there is no reason to avoid delaying the introduction of any food beyond four to six months of age for any infants without a documented food allergy, even if they are at risk of developing one because a parent or sibling has an allergy. (Of course, no one is recommending feeding an infant actual peanuts, which pose a choking hazard.)”
She also shares that researchers in a comparison study between Israel and UK peanut allergies concluded that “recommendations to avoid peanut products ‘might be promoting the development of peanut allergy,’” but then they also warn “doctors shouldn’t be advised to recommend early consumption until more conclusive results are in.” So, we don’t know yet, essentially, what the real culprit is, at least not sure enough to say it’s okay to shove spoonfuls of peanut butter into your 6-month-old’s mouth. Perhaps, though, waiting too long to introduce foods is causing more harm than good?