Should I Really Start Giving My 4-Month-Old Baby Peanut Butter?

How to introduce safely to your infant
Should You Feed Your Infant Peanut Butter?

Q: New headlines claim parents should now give babies peanut butter to avoid allergies. Is this really a good idea for my son?

A: Yes, the new National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases guidelines are in response to peanut allergies doubling over the past decade, when pregnant and nursing moms were asked to blacklist peanuts and avoid kids’ exposure until age 3.

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Here’s how to introduce safely:

  • No history of eczema or egg allergy? Introduce whenever.
  • Mild eczema? Start at 6 months.
  • Severe eczema and/or egg allergy? Have your baby evaluated by a pediatrician or allergist first. If a blood/skin test is negative for peanut allergy, introduce between 4 and 6 months (which may prevent the allergy from developing).

Blend creamy peanut butter (2 teaspoons up to 3x/week) diluted in warm water or breast milk into food. Alternately, add peanut flour to cereal. Stop immediately if itching, rash, vomiting. Call 9-1-1.

No reaction? Make peanut butter a regular part of your baby’s diet. Peanut allergy can develop like wildfire if you skip it for even a few weeks.

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— Allergist Sandra Hong, MD

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