Peanut butter is listed in many diet and health books as being a healthy superfood, but is it OK for baby?
There are so many things we have to worry about as parents. One of those things is whether or not we are giving our baby food that is safe for them.
Every day, we are bombarded by new findings of how certain foods are not healthy or safe for children. With the ever-growing and ever-changing list, how are we supposed to keep it all organized?
One food that poses the “can I give it to my child” question is peanut butter. Peanut butter is made from peanuts, and peanuts are very high on the list of allergy-causing foods. So what does this have to do with knowing when to give it to your child?
Years ago, doctors told parents to stay away from any foods that could cause an allergic reaction until their child was over the age of two. Today, doctors have realized that waiting does not cause children to avoid an allergic reaction. So today, doctors are advising parents to look at family history and judge from there.
Can I Give My Baby Peanut Butter? Answer: At One Year
If you have a family history of peanut allergies, or even food allergies, you should wait on introducing peanuts or peanut butter to your child until after his or her third birthday. Food allergies tend to be hereditary, so if someone in the family has an allergy, it is safe to assume that others, such as your child, will too.
When your child is three years old, their bodies are more developed to handle the reactions that can happen from a food allergy, such as swollen face, rash, itchiness or even vomiting.
Check for Food Allergies
If there is no history of food allergy in your family, you can give your child peanut butter after his or her first birthday. When introducing peanut butter into your child’s diet, it is always best to wait three days to check for an allergic reaction.
As mentioned before, symptoms of an allergic reaction can be swollen face, rash, itchiness or vomiting. If your child is symptom-free three days after first eating peanut butter, your child does not have a peanut allergy.
How to Handle an Allergic Reaction
If your child does have an allergic reaction to peanuts, you need to visit the doctor if they are only showing less severe symptoms (small swelling/rash) or take them to the hospital for more severe symptoms (vomiting/loss of breath). If your child has a severe peanut allergy, your child’s doctor will probably recommend that you or your child always have a preventative medicine on hand at all times, such as an eppy pen.
Keep in mind that if your child does have a peanut allergy, you need to be very careful with the food you give them. Peanuts can be found in foods that you would not expect. This is especially true in cookies and other dessert items. Always check the labels thoroughly on items purchased and ask the chef at restaurants. You cannot be too careful with a peanut allergy.
Benefits of Peanuts
If your child does not suffer from a peanut allergy, peanut butter is a great addition to their diet. Peanuts are very rich in fiber and are very beneficial to one’s health (as long as they are unsalted). Make sure to avoid giving your small child and actual peanut, as they are too hard and too small for your child to chew and could pose as a choking hazard.
Also, when giving your child peanut butter, be sure to spread it thinly on crackers or other breads. Never give your child a spoonful of peanut butter, as the sticky consistency of it could get lodged in your child’s throat.
So remember, knowing when it is safe to give your child peanut butter depends on your family’s history of food allergies. If your family is food allergy free, peanut butter is safe to give your baby after his or her first birthday. Make sure to wait three days after the initial introduction to check for symptoms of an allergy.
Never give your child peanuts or a spoonful of peanut butter, as it could get lodged in your child’s throat. If you do have a family history of food allergies, you should wait until after your child’s third birthday before introducing peanut butter. At the older age, your child’s body will be more likely to handle any possible symptoms if he or she is allergic.
As always, if you have any questions about peanut butter or food allergies, it is best to contact your child’s doctor. He or she will be able to discuss your concerns and answer your questions in more thorough detail.