How to Introduce Peanut to Baby? What Parents Need To Know

How to introduce peanut to baby? When is the best time to start feeding peanut to your little one? Today, we'll answer these questions.

Parents have lots of questions about when and how they should start feeding their babies peanut, including:

  • When and how should I introduce peanut to my baby?
  • What's the safest approach to peanut introduction?
  • What approach gives me the best chance of food freedom?
  • Which forms of peanut should I introduce to baby, and which should I avoid?

We're here to help. Today, we're answering parents' most frequent questions about how to introduce peanut to baby.

Dos and Don'ts of Introducing Peanut

Here's a quick overview of the dos and don'ts of introducing peanut. We'll go over these in more detail below.

The Dos

  • DO introduce peanut between 4 and 6 months of age, for the healthiest outcomes.
  • DO keep consistently feeding your baby peanut – multiple times a week for several months.
  • DO introduce peanut when baby is healthy. 
  • DO watch baby closely for at least 2 hours after feeding peanut.
  • DO introduce at least 2 grams peanut protein, at least three times per week.
  • DO consider peanut powder or peanut flour, as these are safe forms of peanut for babies.
  • DO thin out smooth peanut butter, if you want to feed baby peanut butter.

The Don'ts

  • DON'T delay: Introducing peanut early and often is best.
  • DON'T feed baby whole peanuts. 
  • DON'T feed baby chunky peanut butter. 
  • DON'T feed baby peanut butter in lumps or directly from a spoon.
  • DON'T feed baby smooth peanut butter that isn't watered down.

When to introduce peanut to babies?

You may think it's best to wait a few years to introduce any kind of peanut to your child. For years, this approach was recommended – but it wasn't backed by science. We now know that delaying peanut introduction isn't best for baby.

Delaying the introduction of peanut actually puts babies at increased risk of developing a peanut allergy.

Start Peanut Introduction Early

Thanks to results from the landmark LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut) study, we now know that it's best to introduce peanut early and often.

These results show that consistently introducing babies to peanut as early as 4-6 months of age is vital  this gives your baby the best chance of being free to eat peanut later in life.

The LEAP study inspired guidelines from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), which recommend early peanut introduction for all babies.

The AAAAI guidelines state that “Peanut… should be introduced around 6 months of life, but not before 4 months” for babies to have the best chance at safely eating peanut throughout their life. 

Take Advantage of the Window of Opportunity: 4-6 Months Of Age

2022 findings that re-examined the landmark LEAP and EAT studies' results underscore how important it is to start peanut introduction early.

These findings show that starting peanut introduction at 4 months of age (and before 6 months of age) can help your child’s body be more likely to recognize peanut as just food.

  • According to these results, introducing peanut at 4 months of age is more impactful than introducing it at 6 months of age.
  • And introducing peanut starting before 12 months of age is more impactful than introducing it at 12 months of age.
  • Frequent feeding of peanut was also key to these healthier outcomes.

Based on these findings, the earlier you start feeding peanut, the more likely your child will be able to freely eat peanut later in life. And it’s important to introduce all infants to peanut before 6 months of age, not just infants at higher risk of peanut allergy.

All children will benefit from early peanut introduction, starting as early as 4-6 months of age, regardless of their food allergy risk.

Introduce Peanut ASAP to Your 6-11 Month Old

If your baby is older than 6 months of age, it's not too late to start peanut introduction. Introducing peanut in baby's first year is still more effective than delaying introduction.

A JACI study based on CHILD cohort data found that, compared to infants who were introduced to peanut within their first 12 months of life, infants who did not eat peanut during their first year of life were over four times more likely to develop a peanut allergy by age three. Most of these children were at low initial risk of peanut allergy.

The EarlyNuts Study showed similar results. In this study, babies who started eating peanut before 12 months of age had healthier outcomes than the group that wasn't introduced to peanut before their first birthday. And not all children in the study were at high risk of peanut allergy.

How to introduce peanut to baby?

How should you introduce peanut, and how often, to maximize safety and give your baby the best defense against food allergies?

Know the Choking Hazards to Avoid

Never feed your baby whole peanuts, any chunky peanut butter, or smooth peanut butter that isn't thinned with liquid. These can cause choking.

Choose a Safe Way to Feed Peanut

In addition to diluted smooth peanut butter, the AAAAI advises that “peanut-containing products, such as powders/flours" are safe, recommended ways to introduce peanut to your baby. The peanut powder or peanut flour should be mixed into other foods, such as baby’s puree.

Ready. Set. Food! is a safe option based on AAAAI guidelines. Our Stage 1, 2, and 3 Mix-Ins are powder-based and easily mix with baby's food, and our Organic Baby Oatmeal already has peanut powder mixed in. 

Make Sure Baby is Healthy

You should only start introducing peanut when baby is healthy. Don't start feeding peanut if baby has a cold, a fever, diarrhea, or another illness. This way, it will be easier to tell how baby's body responds to peanut, in case an allergic reaction would occur.

Give the First Tastes At Home

Baby should be at home when you first give them peanut. They shouldn't be at daycare or a restaurant for their first peanut introduction.

Monitor Baby In Case of a Reaction

Always make sure an adult can closely monitor baby for at least 2 hours after feeding peanut, in case of an allergic reaction. If a reaction develops, immediately stop feeding baby peanut, and talk to your pediatrician.

Know Your Baby's Risk for Peanut Allergy

All babies should start eating peanut between 4 and 6 months of age, regardless of their risk for peanut allergy. However, it's still helpful to know your baby's peanut allergy risk, as your doctor may recommend allergy testing if your baby is at high risk.

These risk levels are based on guidelines developed by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

High Risk

  • Babies who have severe eczema, egg allergy, and/or a close relative with an allergic condition are at high risk for peanut allergy, and should be introduced to peanut starting between 4 and 6 months of age.
  • Parents of babies with severe eczema should talk to their pediatrician before introducing peanuts or other allergens. Your pediatrician may recommend allergy testing prior to starting introduction.

Low to Moderate Risk

  • Babies with no close family history of allergy, and with mild, moderate or no eczema, are at low to moderate risk of peanut allergy.
  • Even though your baby is at a lower risk for peanut allergy, it's still best to start feeding them peanut between 4-6 months of age.
  • The earlier you start feeding peanut, the better your baby's chance at food freedom later in life.

Sustain Exposure

Regardless of a baby's peanut allergy risk, it's important to sustain peanut exposure. After all, in the LEAP study, babies were fed peanut several times a week for up to 4 years. 

The AAAAI guidelines recognize how important it is to sustain exposure to peanut, based on the results of the LEAP study. They recommend that you feed baby peanut at least three times per week.

So, be sure to feed your baby peanut 3-7 times per week for at least several months, starting as early as 4-6 months of age.

Know the Recommended Amount of Peanut Protein

Whichever safe form of peanut you decide to introduce, baby should consume at least 2 grams of peanut protein per serving, at least three times per week. 

This amount and frequency is based directly on the amounts of peanut given in the landmark LEAP study, and is recommended by the AAAAI guidelines.

But be aware  2 grams of peanut protein isn’t always the same as 2 grams of peanut flour, peanut powder, diluted peanut butter, or peanut puffs.

Should you introduce baby to peanut butter?

It is not safe to give your baby peanut butter on its own. Peanut butter is a choking hazard for babies and toddlers.

  • It's never safe to introduce chunky peanut butter, because of the hard pieces of peanut inside.
  • But even smooth peanut butter is a choking hazard if you don't water it down. It's not safe to introduce your baby to smooth peanut butter in lumps, and it's not safe to introduce smooth peanut butter directly from a spoon.

As the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) advises in their 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.”

The only safe way to feed baby peanut butter is giving watered down, smooth peanut butter. 

If you want to feed baby thinned peanut butter, only use smooth peanut butter where peanut is the only ingredient. 

Know Before You DIY

One commonly used approach to peanut introduction is: 2 tsp. smooth peanut butter thinned with a few tsp. hot water, mixed and cooled before serving. Sometimes, people recommend thinning this mixture out more with baby's favorite puree.

However, with approaches like these, there's the concern that baby won't eat enough peanut to promote tolerance – or will consume too much peanut at once.

How much peanut is baby consuming? And how much is recommended? DIY approaches can be time-consuming and lead to frustrating guesswork, especially since many babies can be picky eaters. Ready. Set. Food! is an easier way to introduce peanut and other allergens to baby, early and often – read more about how we can help below.

Ready. Set. Food!: An Easy, Safe Way to Introduce Baby to Peanut

Ready. Set. Food!'s evidence-based allergen introduction system safely introduces peanut in pre-measured doses. In addition, it also introduces egg and milk, which together with peanut represent over 80% of the most common childhood food allergies.

Ready. Set. Food! Stages 1 and 2 Mix-Ins easily dissolve into breastmilk, formula, or puree, making allergen introduction even simpler for families, even if baby is not yet ready for solids. You can start introducing these Mix-Ins to any baby, as early as 4-6 months of age, and follow important clinical guidelines.

Our Stage 1 and 2 Mix-Ins introduce the exact amounts of allergenic foods used in LEAP and other landmark clinical studies, in powder form. So, you can rest assured that your baby is consuming the right amount of peanut.

As baby grows, you can continue to feed them peanut and other allergens (egg, milk, almond, cashew, walnut, sesame, soy, wheat), with our system that grows with your baby:

  • Stage 3 Mix-Ins and Organic Baby Oatmeal, with peanut, egg, milk, and 6 more top allergens inside (for babies consistently eating solids)
  • Organic Puffs, a first-of-their kind yummy snack with 9 top allergens inside (for babies 8+ months old and accustomed to chewing solids)
  • Organic Oat and Fruit Bars, to keep feeding your little one 8 top allergens on the go (for toddlers 12+ months old standing or walking without support, who can use their back teeth to chew through a variety of foods)

We've also got lots of ways baby can safely enjoy the delicious flavor of peanut butter, already mixed into our Ready. Set. Food! products:

All Ready. Set. Food! products are fully organic and non-GMO. Also, over 1,000 pediatricians and allergists recommend Ready. Set. Food!

Ready. Set. Food! can help you follow clinical guidelines on early allergen introduction. Join us in our mission to give families everywhere a lifetime of food freedom.

Introduce Allergens Safely and Easily with Ready. Set. Food!

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.  If your infant has severe eczema, check with your infant’s healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.