Allergy Prevention Q&A with Dr. Venter | Ready, Set, Food!
Item
Quantity
Price
  • Infant Food Allergy Prevention: Q&A with Leading Dietitian and NIAID Allergy Expert Carina Venter

    By: Carina Venter PhD RD

Infant Food Allergy Prevention: Q&A with Leading Dietitian and NIAID Allergy Expert Carina Venter

By: Carina Venter PhD RD

Infant Food Allergy Prevention: Q&A with Leading Dietitian and NIAID Allergy Expert Carina Venter

By: Carina Venter PhD RD

Registered Dietitian Carina Venter answers your most-asked questions about introducing your baby to peanuts, based on landmark food allergy prevention studies.


Carina Venter is a registered dietitian with a specialty in food allergies who is committed to helping children diagnosed with food allergies, as well as parents who want to help prevent childhood food allergies.  She is an Asst Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Allergy and Immunology at the Children's Hospital Colorado and University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, where she is conducting research and working with food allergic children.  She was appointed to the Expert Panel of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop Peanut Allergy Prevention Guidelines. Carina is here to answer your most-asked questions about introducing your baby to peanuts, based on the latest landmark clinical studies.



Early Allergen Introduction Q&A with Dr. Venter


What do you tell parents of young infants about the new guidelines on food allergy prevention?


The new guidelines for introducing your baby to peanut are very promising. After all, they open up opportunities for you to reduce your baby's risk of developing food allergies. In fact, the landmark clinical studies on food allergy prevention show a significant reduction in food allergy development with early and sustained allergen introduction. But these recommendations can also be confusing. When and how often should you introduce your baby to peanut? How much peanut should you give your baby at a time?


Keep in mind that introducing your baby to solid foods is meant to be an exciting part of normal development, not a "medicalized" process. And, even with the focus on allergen introduction, this shouldn't change.


I thought peanuts can cause choking in children under 5 years of age. Can I give peanuts to my baby?

It’s true that you shouldn’t give whole, shelled peanuts and lumps of peanut butter to children under 5 years of age due to the risk of choking. Instead, the new NIH guidelines recommend that you give your baby peanut puffs (like Bamba), smooth peanut butter mixed with hot water and then cooled down, peanut flour, or peanut powder.


Why 2g peanut protein, 3 times per week?

This amount is based on the amount of peanut given to children in the LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut Allergies) study, one of the latest landmark childhood allergy prevention studies.  

  • The LEAP study gave children snacks containing peanut at least 3 times a week, for 4 years.
  • Researchers chose this amount based on the average monthly peanut consumption of children in Israel, where there is a relatively low number of children diagnosed with peanut allergies.
  • Introducing your baby to allergens only once is not enough for allergy prevention. Sustained introduction, for at least 6 months, is just as crucial.


What does 2g of peanut look like, or is it actually 2g of peanut protein?

It is 2g of peanut protein. The NIH guidelines list the following options for giving 2 g of peanut protein:

  • 17g Bamba (another peanut puff that is very similar to Bamba is called Cheeky Monkey)
  • 9-10g peanut butter, depending on the brand
  • 8g of ground peanuts
  • 4g defatted peanut flour or peanut butter powder

What if my baby is sick and won’t eat? Or, what if my baby is full and doesn’t eat the full portion?

We don’t yet know if smaller amounts or less frequent feedings will be as protective against the development of peanut allergy. However, the LEAP authors mentioned that some of the babies in the study got ill (as babies do) and some did not actually finish every feed, though most did. Focus on staying as consistent as possible with regular peanut intake, even if your baby does not eat the full amount of peanut protein.


What if my baby or child loves peanut puffs and wants to eat more?

Go ahead! Some babies are good eaters and love peanut flavor. Eating more is perfectly allowed.  Also, older children (peanut was given up to age of 5 years in LEAP) may not be happy if you remove the bag of Bamba after they’ve eaten only 2/3 of the bag!


Which solid foods are best to start with, before I introduce my baby to peanut?

When introducing your baby to solid foods, just follow the normal weaning advice in your country. In most situations, your baby’s first foods will be vegetable or fruit purees, infant fortified rice cereal, or infant fortified oat cereal.


Does it HAVE to be 4-11 months?

According to recent landmark studies, introducing allergenic foods early (starting as early as 4-11 months) is the way to make early allergen introduction most effective.  It's important for parents to know that there is a critical window for allergen introduction. In the LEAP study, 9% of children had to be excluded because they already tested positive for peanut allergy at the age of 6 months. That's why I recommend early allergen introduction starting as early as 4 months.


Over 200 pediatricians, allergists, and dietitians recommend Ready, Set, Food!. Give your baby a head start on the path to food freedom, with a pediatrician-approved brand you can trust.


  

 


About Carina Venter, PhD, RD:

Carina Venter is a registered dietitian (US, UK, South Africa) who specializes in helping children diagnosed with food allergies. She is also passionate about the role of nutrition in the prevention, diagnosis and management of allergic diseases. She was appointed to the Expert Panel of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Peanut Allergy Prevention Guidelines.

Carina earned her BSc Dietetics degree from the University of the Free State, South Africa, and her Post Graduate Diploma in Allergy and PhD (2007)  from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom. She currently works as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Allergy and Immunology at the Children’s Hospital Colorado and University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor/Dietitian at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Carina is a founding member of the International Network of Diet and Nutrition in Allergy. She is also a member of the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (AAAAI), European Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), British Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) and the Allergy Society of South Africa (ALLSA).


----------------------------------

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.

Related articles: