Doctors Urging Parents To Feed Their Kids Peanut Butter
ShareTap Staff 1/31/2017
A sure way to feel unprepared for parenthood is by walking into a baby store. The never ending aisles of baby stuff not only makes you wonder how our grandparents and generations before survived, but also how does a tiny human need so many things! The second sure way to feel even more unprepared is to go online and read baby advice.
The proliferation of information is dizzying and sometimes it is almost impossible to tell the real from the make believe. While we can't help you sort through all the parenting advice out there, we will share this very important update coming straight from the doctor's office.
Flickr/Alameda County Community Food Bank
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a favorite in many households and yet if you've raised children in the last 10-12 years, the advice from the medical community has been to keep infants/children away from it until at least 3 years of age. The reason for this recommendation has to do with peanuts being one of the most common allergen around and any adverse reaction can more often than not be fatal especially in kids.
Thus the advice to keep our littles away from it until they are older seems very sound. But don't be so sure; parents might be shocked to find out what doctors are saying now.
Flickr/Donnie Ray Jones
Statistics on peanut allergy has proved that the number of children suffering from peanut allergy has tripled between 1997 and 2008. Further investigation from researchers seems to suggest that the cause of this rise has a lot to do with the medical advice of keeping kids away from it in their formative years.
To explain this seemingly contradictory information, we look at no further than how vaccines work in humans. Vaccines are essentially low dosages of the same bacteria that can make us very very sick or even kill us. But by reducing their potency and injecting our body with them at a young age, it gives our immune system a chance to build up natural defenses which can later fight the big guns, should they ever enter the body. In the simplest terms, vaccines help build resistance.
Now researchers and doctors strongly believe that by keeping children away from peanuts, we are actually doing them injustice by not allowing their bodies to develop the natural defenses needed to fight off an allergy. So, what exactly do parents need to know!? According to these new guidelines from the NIH,
"The expert panel recommends that these infants have peanut-containing foods introduced into their diets as early as 4 to 6 months of age to reduce the risk of developing peanut allergy."
If known peanut allergy exists in the family, the pediatrician can perform a blood or skin allergy test on the infant before doing this. Additionally, the guidelines seem to suggest that if the child is prone to eczema the chances of him/her developing a peanut allergy is even greater than normal, and safely introducing peanut products at a young age is that much more important.
The best way to introduce peanuts is by adding hot water to 2 teaspoons of peanut butter to make a warm puree. Then put a little bit of it on a spoon and feed it to the child; wait 10 minutes before giving another taste to see if any immediate rashes or hives appear. Feed the puree slowly and continue to keep an eye on the child for any adverse reactions for at least a couple of hours.
All experts agree that in no circumstances should whole peanuts be fed to infants. If the baby continues to show no signs of peanut allergy in the next few hours and days, other products containing peanuts can be introduced to their diet.
In the world of infant and baby care, there is always something new to learn. Regarding peanuts the advice is simple - give peanuts now to prevent allergies later!
Sources: Food Allergy Research & Education, NIH, NPR, Image Credit: Twitter/Fitness & Nutrition, Image Credit: Wikipedia