Last week, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued guidelines recommending the early introduction of peanuts to infants to help prevent peanut allergies.
Although it was once thought that delaying the introduction of peanuts to high-risk children would help prevent peanut allergies, the new guidelines are based on research that shows that early introduction significantly decreases the risk of developing the allergy.
Wondering exactly how early you should introduce peanuts to your baby?
It depends on his or her risk of developing a peanut allergy, which you can learn from your pediatrician. The guidelines state that high-risk infants should be exposed between four and six months old, while you can wait until around six months old for moderate and low-risk babies. In both cases, peanuts should not be the child’s first solid food.
These new guidelines are partially based on a fascinating 2015 study that tested the hypothesis that Israeli children are less likely to develop peanut allergies because they are commonly introduced to peanuts early on via a popular snack food called Bamba. As it turns out, the Israelis are on to something! The study concluded that introducing children at high risk of developing peanut allergies in to peanuts in infancy lead to a phenomenal 81% reduction in allergy development.
My daughter started solids about a year ago and at the time, I was really eager to give these special Israeli snacks a try. To be clear, it’s not that using Bamba over other peanut products (like peanut butter) provides any additional protection, but it sure was fun and convenient.
So I ordered a few bags of Bamba from Amazon. Despite knowing the ingredients upfront (peanuts, corn, palm oil, and salt) I was pretty surprised to discover that they are basically peanut-flavored cheese puffs! I don’t know what I was expecting, but in my book, these are definitely a “treat” food.
I first gave them to my daughter by slicing a one into rounds with a butter knife producing something resembling a baby puff. She had fun practicing her pincer grasp by picking them up one by one and probably ate one or two puffs total.Can a snack food help prevent peanut allergies? Learn all about the Israeli peanut snack kids love Click To Tweet
These days, I have to keep them out of sight because my now one-and-a-half year-old will demolish a whole bag! We mostly save them for treats while traveling.
Of course, I also regularly give her other forms of peanuts since the guidelines recommend regular consumption. Remember that infants and toddlers should never be given whole peanuts since they are a choking hazard. And since I’m currently pregnant, I remind myself to eat peanuts regularly too, as research has also linked peanut consumption in pregnancy to a lower risk of allergy development for the baby.
How did you introduce peanuts to your baby? Would you try Bamba? Let me know!
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