March is National Peanut Month: Should I Give My Baby Peanut Butter?
March is National Peanut Month. Based on the results of the landmark LEAP study, medical guidelines recommend introducing your baby to peanut. But is it safe to feed baby peanut butter? Today, we’ll break down the answer for families, based on AAAAI and NIAID guidelines.
Based on the results of the landmark clinical LEAP study, several sets of recent clinical guidelines, including the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) guidelines, recommend introducing your baby to peanut. But is it safe to introduce your baby to peanut butter? Today, we’ll break down the answer for families, including what AAAAI and NIAID guidelines have to say.
The LEAP Study and clinical guidelines on peanut introduction
The groundbreaking Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) study’s results have shown that introducing babies to peanut early and often is recommended.
In the LEAP study, children 4-11 months of age at high risk for peanut allergy were randomly assigned to either eat peanut products regularly or avoid peanut completely until they reached 5 years of age.
The results of the study showed that the children who consumed peanut regularly were much less likely to develop a peanut allergy than the children who avoided peanut completely.
Learn more about the LEAP study from the New England Journal of Medicine:
The LEAP study’s results have prompted several leading medical organizations to publish guidelines recommending early, sustained peanut introduction for babies.
Notably, in their new guidelines, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI); the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI); and the CSACI (Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology) recommend early peanut introduction for all babies, regardless of their risk for peanut allergy.
The AAAAI guidelines state, in order “peanut… should be introduced around 6 months of life, but not before 4 months.”
The AAAAI guidelines recommend feeding babies 2 grams of peanut protein at least three times per week, starting as early as 4-6 months of age. These amounts are based directly on the amounts of peanut given in the landmark LEAP study.
But should you introduce baby to peanut butter to follow the AAAAI recommendations?
Should I give my baby peanut butter?
Is it safe to give your baby peanut butter? By itself, no.
It is not safe to give your baby peanut butter on its own, as it is a choking hazard for babies and toddlers. In fact, you shouldn’t give any child lumps of peanut butter by itself, or peanut butter on a spoon, until they’re at least 4 years old.
As the AAAAI affirms in their peanut introduction guidelines, “Whole-peanut kernels and chunks of peanut butter are potential choking hazards and should not be given to children younger than 4 years.”
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) makes a similar statement in their own peanut introduction guidelines: “Peanut butter directly from a spoon or in lumps/dollops should not be given to children less than 4 years of age.”
“Peanut butter...should not be given to children less than 4 years of age.” - NIAID
Chunky peanut butter’s choking hazards are obvious, as it includes hard pieces of peanut. But even smooth peanut butter by itself can pose a choking hazard to babies and toddlers.
The only safe way to introduce peanut butter to babies
The only safe way to give your baby peanut butter is when you water down (dilute) smooth peanut butter to thin it.
If you choose to offer thinned peanut butter to your baby, only use smooth peanut butter that contains peanut as its only ingredient. Never use chunky peanut butter, as it’s a choking hazard even when thinned.
One commonly used approach to thin peanut butter is: 2 teaspoons of smooth peanut butter thinned with a few teaspoons of hot water, mixed together, then cooled before serving. The diluted peanut butter can be mixed with baby’s other foods, such as infant cereal.
Other safe forms of peanut introduction
Besides thinned peanut butter, the AAAAI also recommends other age-appropriate and safe ways to introduce babies to peanut.
In their guidelines, the AAAAI advises that “peanut-containing products, such as powders/flours and snacks (e.g., peanut puffs), have also been used as safe forms of peanut for infants.” The peanut powder or peanut flour should be mixed into other foods, such as baby’s puree.
The NIAID recommends similar forms of peanut for safe introduction: thinned smooth peanut butter, peanut powder, peanut flour, or peanut puffs.
But the AAAAI recommends using peanut powder or flour rather than using a peanut puff snack like Bamba, as peanut snacks usually aren’t healthy to give to baby regularly.
As the AAAAI explains, “Although Bamba...provides a dissolving textured food, it is not necessarily a long-term, healthy weaning food option; therefore, thinned, natural peanut butter or peanut flour (powder) is preferred as early weaning food.” (For more on why Bamba isn’t the best choice to introduce peanut to your baby, be sure to read our linked article.)
Whichever form of peanut a family uses, baby should consume the recommended 2g peanut protein per serving, at least 3 times per week (but this isn’t always the same as 2g of the flour, powder, or puffs).
Also, parents or caregivers should closely monitor baby for at least 2 hours after giving baby peanut, to make sure baby doesn’t develop symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Ready, Set, Food! makes peanut introduction easy and safe
DIY approaches to introducing peanut can be time-consuming and frustrating. It can be difficult to measure out the right amount of peanut protein--- and even harder to get baby to consume it.
But Ready, Set, Food! makes it easy to safely introduce peanut to your baby and follow the new clinical guidelines.
Our evidence-based powder system introduces peanut (plus egg and milk, the three foods responsible for over 80% of childhood food allergies) in the exact amounts used in LEAP and other landmark clinical studies.
So, you can rest assured that your baby is consuming the right amount of peanut. Just pour one of our daily pre-measured packets into baby’s bottle or food!
Ready, Set, Food! only contains organic, non-GMO food powders, with no added sugar or salt, and no artificial additives. It’s recommended by over 1000 pediatricians and allergists.
And since it fully dissolves in breastmilk or formula, you can start Ready, Set, Food! as early as 4 months of age, even before your baby is ready for solids.
Ready, Set, Food! can help you follow AAAAI and NIAID guidelines for early peanut introduction, and give your baby the best chance at food freedom.
All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
See the FDA Peanut Allergy Qualified Health Claim at the bottom of our homepage.