When Can My Baby Have Peanut Butter Puffs?
If you don’t have a little one with peanut allergy, chances are you know someone who does. In the last two decades, food allergies in children have risen by 50%, while nut allergies have tripled.
Because peanut allergies are one of the most common food allergies in children, it’s likely also the one you hear the most about – so it’s only natural to want to protect your kids. But take a deep breath before you rush to toss every peanut product from your pantry: the evolving science behind food allergies has shown that early peanut introduction can actually help prevent peanut allergies from developing. That’s great news for everyone!
According to the Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) Study, led by global food allergy prevention expert and Mission MightyMe co-founder Dr. Gideon Lack, early and sustained exposure (starting between 4-11 months and until age 5) to peanut foods can reduce the chance of a peanut allergy developing by more than 80%. Because of this groundbreaking discovery, leading health organizations now recommend introducing baby-friendly, peanut-containing foods like peanut butter puffs during infancy, and keeping them in the diet regularly as they become big kids.
Once your baby is showing signs of readiness to start solid foods, ask your pediatrician whether you have the green light to introduce peanut foods. Note that if your baby has severe eczema or an existing egg allergy, current guidelines recommend starting peanut foods as early as 4-6 months but only after evaluation by a physician and possible allergy testing. So be sure to have the conversations about risk level and allergen introduction timing with your pediatrician early! Most other babies can start peanut foods around 6 months of age without any allergy testing but you can always discuss with your pediatrician if it makes you more comfortable. Assuming your pediatrician gives you the go ahead, below are some tips for introducing peanut foods.
1. Start With Standard “First” Foods
Give your baby a few different types of foods - such as cereals, veggies or meat purees - before introducing peanut foods. Let your little one get used to eating solid foods in general, and monitor how they respond to each item. Once you’ve successfully introduced other foods, you can expand their diet to include peanut foods.
2. Pick the Right Day
Potential allergens should only be introduced to a happy and healthy baby. Think: a good mood = a good day to try peanut foods! This will help you avoid mistaking fussiness caused by teething or an upset tummy for an allergic reaction. If possible, plan for a weekday (and not a holiday!) so your pediatrician will be readily available if needed, and well before nap time, so you can monitor your baby for a couple of hours after consumption.
3. Safely Introducing Peanut Butter Puffs
When you’re ready to try peanut foods, start with a small bit of thinned, diluted peanut butter or a tiny morsel of a peanut puff on the tip of the tongue. Let your baby eat it, and then monitor them closely for at least 10 minutes. If there does not appear to be any reaction, you can then offer the rest of the full infant portion at baby’s pace. Remember: nuts of any kind and nut butters in natural forms can be a major choking hazard for babies, so peanut butter puffs can be a safer and less messy option.
4. Watch Your Baby Closely for at Least Two Hours
Allergic reactions are a common concern. However, they are rare, and the first year of life is the safest time to introduce potential allergens, as reactions are milder in infants.† Regardless, it’s important to know the signs of an allergic reaction and what to do if one occurs! Let’s learn more about the signs so you feel prepared…
Mild to Moderate Symptoms
- Stomach Pain
- Trouble swallowing or breathing
- Loss of consciousness
- A weak pulse
- Two or more affected body systems (e.g., hives and vomiting)
Severe symptoms can be a sign of life-threatening anaphylaxis and require immediate treatment with epinephrine. Severe food allergic reactions / anaphylaxis require immediate treatment with epinephrine and medical evaluation.
If your child exhibits a reaction to any food, stop feeding them immediately and consult a physician. If you suspect an allergy, avoid including that food in their diet, but consult an allergist to confirm. Unnecessarily avoiding certain foods may increase the risk of a food allergy developing.
5. Keep Peanut Foods in the Diet Regularly
Once peanut foods have been successfully introduced, keep them in the diet regularly. The babies in the LEAP Study ate an average of 6 grams of peanut protein per week, from the first year of life until age 5, to benefit from the dramatic 86% reduction in peanut allergies. Remember: early, often, ongoing.
Where to Find Peanut Butter Puffs for Babies
Is your baby ready to try peanut foods? For baby-friendly, organic peanut butter puffs, try Mission MightyMe (and psst…read more here about why we’re better than Bamba!). Our Proactive Peanut Puffs were developed by the pediatric allergist who led the LEAP Study. We formulated our puffs based on his research, so one pouch per week contains the weekly amount recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for high-risk infants*.
Our puffs can be softened with water (recommended for babies 7 months and younger), crumbled into purees, or eaten as an on-the-go snack for older children. With organic, all-natural ingredients – with no added sugar – these delicious puffs are a nutritious, tasty treat for kids of all ages that you can feel good about keeping in the snack rotation. Shop and stock up today!
*FDA HEALTH CLAIM: For babies with an increased risk of peanut allergy (babies with severe eczema, egg allergy or both), introducing age-appropriate, peanut-containing foods as early as 4 months may reduce the risk of developing a peanut allergy. Caregivers should check with the baby’s healthcare provider before feeding the baby peanut-containing foods.
†2018 Study by Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago