When to Give Peanut Butter to my Baby
Peanut butter is the king of sandwiches, very popular among children. But peanut butter is as tasty as an allergen to many kids. For this reason, many parents are not sure of when is the right time to introduce peanuts to their children. Peanut allergies have been on the rise lately in the Western countries, and many parents are worried about the fact that giving them to young children could be dangerous for their health. However, other studies have showed that feeding peanuts to young children could actually protect them against this allergy. So, when is the right time to give peanut butter to your baby? The answer to this question is not easy and many things need to be considered.
Why is peanut butter considered dangerous
Peanut butter is made out of peanuts, which are one of the most important food allergens among babies and children in Western countries. Some doctors recommended avoiding peanut butter in case your baby could be allergic to peanuts, which could cause serious health problems on your baby or even death. Before 2008 there were some foods considered forbidden by some doctors, and peanut butter was one of them. However, the guidelines have changed nowadays and these foods are no longer considered forbidden.
The connection between peanut butter and allergies is clear, however, some studies showed that what was actually causing the allergies was NOT giving peanuts to babies. These studies concluded that babies that weren't fed peanuts were more likely to develop peanut allergy, opposed to the ones who ate peanuts from a young age. This case was clear in Israel, where kids usually eat Bamba, a snack made with peanuts. In this country the number of children with peanut allergy was 10 times smaller than the number of children allergic to peanuts in the UK, where it was recommended to avoid giving your children peanuts.
However, there are some specific guidelines that need to be followed when giving peanut butter to your baby for the first time.
When to give peanut butter to a baby
Peanut butter is a source of many beneficial nutrients for your baby. It contains monosaturated fats, protein, iron, vitamins B and E as well as many calories concentrated in a small amount of food. Therefore, peanut butter is a good option for your children, but it can also be dangerous, either because of allergies or choking. There is no clear answer for the question of when to give peanut butter to a baby, however, doctors recommend giving it after six months old. You can give peanut butter to your baby when he/she is 6 months old if there is no history of allergens in the family. If you, the other parent, a sibling or any other family member has an allergy and specially, an allergy to peanuts, you should wait a bit more to give peanut butter to your child. In this case it is recommended that you start doing it after your child is 1 year old.
6 months to a year is a good time frame to give children peanut butter, although some families start giving it to their children as young as 4 months old.
Regardless of when you give peanut butter to your baby for the first time there are some safety considerations:
- Talk to your pediatrician before introducing peanut butter to your baby. He/she will tell you if there is any food that can be considered an allergen for your baby in particular.
- Don't give your child peanut butter until he/she is comfortable eating solid food.
- Give your child a very small piece of peanut butter the first time. Peanut butter from a spoon is very dense and could choke your child. The first times you give peanut butter to your child you should spread it very thinly over a piece of bread or toast to prevent choking.
- It is better that you give your baby peanut butter in the morning, this way you'll be able to observe your child during the day and spot any symptoms of allergies.
- Wait for three days after giving peanut butter to your baby for the first time. This way you'll see if there are any symptoms over time.
- If nothing happens, you can gradually increase the amount of peanut butter.
- Never give your baby whole peanuts. These should only be given to your child after 3 or 4 years old, as they are a choking hazard.
- If you notice something strange in your baby after giving him/her peanut butter, take him/her to the doctor immediately.
Is it safe to give peanut butter to a baby?
Peanut butter hasn't been proved safe for children before 12 months old, however, it hasn't been proved unsafe either. Every child is different and will react in a different way to peanut butter. If you are concerned about a possible allergy it is better that you visit your pediatrician before introducing peanut butter to your baby.
Other foods not recommended for babies
Some studies recommend giving peanut butter to babies to prevent them from developing allergies in the future. However, it is important that you consult your pediatrician before, as every child is different and they have different health needs.
Peanut butter might be safe for some kids, but there are some other foods that are not recommended for babies:
- Honey. Ingesting honey could cause infant botulism, given the immaturity of the babies' intestinal tract.
- Whole milk. It shouldn't be given to babies as a replacement for breast milk or formula until after 1 year. This is because cow milk doesn't have enough nutrients to sustain a growing infant. Also, it can be difficult for babies to digest whole milk proteins.
- Citrus. Its acidity might cause rashes and tummy upsets in babies under the age of 12 months.
- Strawberries and shell fish. These foods can cause severe allergies. Just like peanut butter, you need to consult your pediatrician before giving them to your baby.
- Broccoli and beans. These foods cause gases that could be painful for an infant.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to When to Give Peanut Butter to my Baby, we recommend you visit our Family health category.
- Consult your pediatrician before giving peanut butter to your baby
- Always use soft peanut butter, never give chunky peanut butter to your baby
- Whole peanuts should only be given to your child after the age of 3