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Introducing Nuts to a Baby in a Nut Free Home

Question of the Week: Answered!

Every week, answers one of the questions posted in our community.

Our Answer:

Thank you for your question. Raising a child with a food allergy can be stressful and challenging. If you have a child without a food allergy, it’s important that you communicate the seriousness of his sibling’s food allergy once he reaches an appropriate age.

Until then, it’s important to take some precautions to keep your food allergic child safe. Firstly, you should communicate to him that he should not assume something his little brother eats is safe for him to eat. In addition, that means that even if his little brother — when he gets older — tries to share something, he should politely decline.

It’s also important to keep allergens off objects that your nut allergic child might come into contact with every day. Particles of allergens such as peanuts could cause an allergic reaction. There are a few ways to make sure that allergens are washed off dishes. For starters, if you hand wash these items make sure to use hot water. You can also soak the dishes in bleach water and re wash them with regular water. You can see more tips for disinfecting dishes here.

Researchers also did some investigating about just how long allergens last on table surfaces. The study found that peanut allergen can remain on uncleaned surfaces for quite some time. Tables that were cleaned with a cleaning wipe didn’t show a trace of the allergens. This research emphasizes the importance of wiping down surfaces. Make sure you run wipes over any surfaces that came in contact with allergens in addition to cleaning these surfaces regularly. You can read more about the findings here.

It’s also a good idea to pay attention to how your younger child reacts to food. Normally, it’s a good idea to allow three to five days in between trying new tastes so that you can monitor the child for any possible reaction to a new food. The best thing to do is follow your doctor’s advice on how to proceed with introducing foods to your youngest child. Read more tips related to new food here.

We also reached out to our Facebook community with your question, and you can see their responses here.

We hope this information helps. Take care!

Get your younger baby tested for an allergy. It would be better as your elder is already allergic. Make sure you dont bring peanuts, hazelnuts and Brazilnuts in your home as your baby may want to have it; he might not understand the fact that he is allergic to those food. Be in contact with your allergist. Check label for ingredients before buying any food. Baked food like cakes, pastries which are much favorite of the kids, often contain peanuts so be careful. For any emergency keep EpiPen, provided your doctor suggests.

May I first say, Shame on your sons Allergist. I am not a doctor, I am however a paramedic, the person who typically gets called to the life threatening emergency of the individual suffering from anaphylactic shock. The outcome is rarely favorable for the exposed victim. This is very traumatic for the family and as a rescuer it scares the hell out of me because each of these victims wears the face of my son.

I am not trying to scare you, but a child that young cannot determine what is safe, from what is life threatening. My household has been peanut and tree nut free for 11 years after the diagnosis of our now 12 y/o son. Nothing is worth taking the risk, and a simple exposure may result in a devastating loss of life. It is quite possible your sons allergist has never had a patient struggling to breathe and then succumb to respiratory arrest and then cardiac arrest all from a little peanut.

For those who say Im overly protective, tell that to the many families that have lost a 10, 12, 13, 14, 15 or 16 y/o child, these kids certainly have more awareness than a young child. It only takes once and of very little consumption. We have a sign posted on our front door prohibiting any peanut or tree nut products, or individuals who have recently consumed these products from entering our home, yes this includes grandparents and relatives.

You must to be so very careful that you do not become a grieving parent who wishes they would have done more in protecting their child.

Thank you for your post! My husband and I have already decided that we will not take the risk of having nut items in our home. Our gut feeling was to not do it. Your comment helped confirm my gut feeling. That was good advice about keeping a sign on your door. We will continue keeping our home a safe place for our son. Its hard enough worrying about the dangers he faces in the outside world!

Our 3 yr old daughter is also allergic to peanuts and our 6 months old daughter just tested negative to peanuts and egg. Our allergist recommended that we introduce both foods to her so that she does not develop an allergy. He stated that we have a small window and research is saying to introduce early. I, like you, want to protect my older daughter. Our house has been peanut and tree nut free for 1.5 years since we found out she was allergic to peanuts and stopped breathing. It was a horrifying experience that I will NEVER forget. I do however want to protect my younger daughter from having to experience any type of food allergy if I can avoid it. My husband is a paramedic and I am a pharmacist. We have decided to introduce peanut butter to our 6 month old. The plan we have come up with is to put a label on the jar not for our older daughter and keep it out of reach along with other medications. We are treating this as a medication in our house...only to be dispensed by mommy or daddy. To avoid using silverware I am getting wooden popcicle sticks to get a small amount of peanut butter to give to our youngest. That way I can throw it away outside in garbage and it is not washed with any thing. I will then immediately wipe her face with a wet wipe and dispose of it outside as well. we will follow with other food right away so that there is minimal hands in the mouth and on the tray table. I will however wipe the tray off with another wipe. I know that this process will be very anxiety inducing for all of us. I am hoping though that we can still provide a safe environment for my 3 year old and keep our younger daughter from becoming allergic. The allergist told us we only have to do this 3 days per week. I hope this helps! Keep me posted if you decide to introduce nuts. Best wishes!

I agree with everyone here in that its far too risky to bring nuts into the home to introduce to your baby when you have a PA child in your home. Is there any way that you can introduce nuts to your baby as your allergist recommended outside of your home, maybe at a family members or friends home? Thats what I would do. I would keep all nuts out of your home and try to do the introduction to nuts with your baby outside of your home if possible. If thats not possible, I wouldnt do it. If the nuts get anywhere at all, on the floor, or on the table and your PA child picks them up and ingests them, its so dangerous. Keep your home as you have, totally peanut and nut free.

I like Sunshines recommendation of introducing peanuts outside of the home this way there is no risk to your PA child. Babies can drop food on the floor and around their high chair which can pose danger for your PA child. The only other way around it is if you feed your baby away from your PA child when introducing nuts. For example if your PA child is at school then introduce peanuts during that time. Thats another option that could work.