What is introducing peanuts to infants?

What are the risks of introducing peanuts to your baby's diet?

Peanut products can cause a very severe allergic reaction in some children. A mild reaction may include a few raised, red, itchy patches of skin (hives). A severe reaction may cause hives all over, swelling in the throat, trouble breathing, nausea or vomiting, or fainting. It can be life-threatening.

How can you introduce peanuts to your baby's diet?

If your baby has a high risk of peanut allergies, ask your doctor if you can give peanut products in a safe way. This may be done as early as 4 to 6 months, or soon after your baby starts to eat other solid foods. You will most likely work with an allergist to try feeding a peanut product at the doctor's office.

If your baby has a moderate risk, you may want to try feeding peanut products at around 6 months.

If your baby is at low risk, you can feed peanut products as you like, after your baby starts to eat solid foods.

If you plan to introduce peanut products, find a time when you can be with your baby for at least 2 hours. This gives you time to watch for allergic reactions. Give your baby just a small bite first. Then wait 10 minutes. If that goes well, then feed the rest.

For the first feedings, you might try:

  • A teaspoon or two of smooth peanut butter mixed with warm water, milk, or fruit. Let it cool before you feed it to your baby.
  • Baby snacks that contain peanut. One example is Bamba. Start with 20 pieces. (If your baby is less than 7 months old, mix the Bamba with a small amount of water, breast milk, or formula to make it soft.)
  • Ground peanuts mixed into yogurt or applesauce.
  • Peanut soup.
  • Other peanut foods that your family likes.
Avoid whole peanuts for children under 4. Small children can choke on whole peanuts.

If your baby has no allergic reactions, give a similar amount a few times a week.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.