An extensive study of children and peanut allergies has recently been released, and it encourages pediatricians to re-assess the recommendations that have been in place for some time. The study, called LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy), looked at children who have a severe or mild risk of developing peanut allergy and those who don’t.
Peanut allergies have been on the rise in recent years. Conventional wisdom has been that infants and toddlers should not be given peanuts or peanut products until they were older. That wisdom is now changing as a result of the LEAP study, conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
The director of NIAID said in a recent press release: “We expect that widespread implementation of these guidelines by health care providers will prevent the development of peanut allergy in many susceptible children and ultimately reduce the prevalence of peanut allergy in the United States.”
So, what are the new guidelines, and what should parents do about introducing peanuts to the diets of their young children?
For babies who are considered to be at NO risk for developing a peanut allergy, parents can begin introducing peanut butter with solid foods at about six months of age. The LEAP study concludes that once peanut butter is introduced and tolerated with no allergic reaction, it should remain in the baby’s diet with some regularity.
There are different guidelines for babies and young children who are determined to be at moderate or severe risk of developing peanut allergy. How do you know whether or not your child is at risk? There are several factors that contribute to that risk, and it’s a conversation you should have with your child’s pediatrician in the office before introducing peanut butter into the diet.
Your concerns are our concerns, and we look forward to answering any questions you may have at your child’s next checkup.