It may never be safe to begin feeding peanut butter to your baby or toddler if you have peanut allergies in your family. If either parent or one of the toddler’s siblings has a peanut allergy, there may not be any sure safe time to begin feeding peanut butter to their toddler. Just to be sure, it is best to discuss this with your pediatrician. Your child’s doctor may recommend allergy testing to see if your child has an allergy to peanuts. Many parents who have been through serious peanut allergy reactions themselves or with an older child never want to go through that trauma again, so they hesitate to feed peanut butter to their younger child.

Babies and Young Kids Can Choke On Peanut Butter

There is some controversy around the question of when it is best to begin feeding a toddler peanut butter. Babies should never be given peanut butter before they are a year old simply because it is thick and gooey, and children tend to choke on it. Waiting until 18 months is even better, or until the child is able to chew and swallow a variety of foods. The peanut butter should be spread in a very thin layer on soft bread to make it safer for the child to chew and swallow.

Waiting Too Long May Cause Kids To Develop An Allergy

A study was completed in 2008 by G. Dutoit and published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology pointed to the fact that waiting too long to introduce peanut butter to a child may make the child more likely to develop an allergy to this food. Doctors were recommending that parents not feed peanut butter to their kids until they were between 3 and 7 years of age, but since this study was completed, many doctors do not recommend waiting this long.

Parents Should Wait Until A Certain Age

At one time, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that parents wait until a child was at least 3 years old to feed peanut butter to children, especially if peanut allergies run in the family. This organization changed its advice in 2008. They now recommend that it is not necessary to wait that long. The Mayo Clinic reminds parents that researchers have found no evidence that waiting to introduce peanut butter lessens the chance of allergic reactions. They suggest that parents introduce this food at home and that they have an oral antihistamine handy in case of any reaction. Non-drowsy Benadryl is recommended by pediatricians as a medication that should always be kept handy when introducing new foods to babies and toddlers.

Parents Need To Use Their Own Judgement

If parents do not feel comfortable feeding a 1-year old peanut butter, then they need to wait until the child is older. Anyone who has experienced anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can occur after eating peanut butter, may want to keep all peanut products out of their home. Many families use peanut substitutes such as sunflower seed butter that tastes almost the same as peanut butter. If one child in a family or one of the parents is allergic to peanuts, it can be risky to have peanut butter in the home because of the possibility of cross-contamination. The allergic person may accidentally eat a small amount of peanut butter that could again cause anaphylaxis.

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