New Guidelines for Peanut Introduction

January 6, 2017

Introducing peanut-containing food to babies as early as four months might become the new norm.

It’s long been suggested to hold off introducing foods containing peanuts until age 3 with the thinking it could prevent peanut allergies. But the prevalence of peanut allergies has continued to rise.

Recently, an expert panel sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, released new guidelines in hopes of prevent peanut allergies and see those numbers decline. 

Dr. Laura Esswein, pediatric and adult allergist with Mercy Clinic Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, talks with Fox 2 about the new recommendations.

There are three separate guidelines for infants at various levels of risk for developing peanut allergy.

  1. Infants deemed at high risk of developing peanut allergy – those with severe eczema, egg allergy or both – should be introduced to peanut-containing foods as early as 4 to 6 months of age to reduce the risk of developing peanut allergy.  
  2. Infants with mild or moderate eczema should be introduced to peanut-containing food around 6 months of age.
  3. Infants without eczema or any food allergy can have peanut-containing foods introduced freely into their diets.

Keep in mind, parents and caregivers should always check with their health care provider before the introduction of peanut-containing food and, in all cases, infants should start other solid foods before they are introduced to peanut-containing foods. It’s also important to never give the actual nut to a baby,

The institute developed the guidelines as a result of emerging data suggesting peanut allergy can be prevented by early introduction of peanut-containing foods. 

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