Learn about the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI)’s new early allergen introduction guidelines, which recommend introducing peanut and egg to babies “from 4-6 months of life.”
Recent medical guidelines, including those from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) support the early introduction of peanut and egg during baby’s first year of life.
Now new guidance from the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) and Dr. Gideon Lack, Lead Author of the landmark Learning Early About Peanut (LEAP) Study, provides even more support for introducing babies to allergens early in life. According to the EAACI guidelines, “the most effective age to introduce egg and peanut is from 4-6 months of life,” based on the allergen introduction studies that the EAACI’s Task Force reviewed.
“The most effective age to introduce egg and peanut is from 4-6 months of life.” --- EAACI 2020 Guidelines
The EAACI recommendations apply to all infants, not just babies at the highest risk for developing a food allergy.
To quote the guidelines, “All recommendations apply to infants and young children at general risk of food allergy and those at increased risk.” The recommendations were based on over 40 randomized clinical trials related to food allergies.
Here are the top takeaways parents need to know from these new guidelines:
Introduce peanut between 4 and 6 months of age.
“Data from the [clinical] trials included in the review,” reports the EAACI, “suggest that it is safe to introduce age-appropriate forms of peanut into the diet in the first year of life.”
In fact, the guidelines from the EAACI advise “introducing peanuts in an age-appropriate form, as part of complementary feeding, in order to prevent peanut allergy in infants and young children.” The best time to introduce peanut, according to the EAACI, is between 4-6 months of age for the most effective introduction.
“It appears that the most effective age to introduce [peanut] is from four to 6 months of life.” --- EAACI 2020 Guidelines
These guidelines are based on several different studies on peanut introduction, conducted over different lengths of time and with infants at different levels of risk for peanut allergy.
The EAACI guidelines mainly recommend early introduction of peanut for infants at the highest risk for peanut allergy.
However, the EAACI goes on to say that early introduction “could be encouraged in those at general risk [for peanut allergy] as well, because many cases of peanut allergy are seen in this lower risk group.”
How to safely introduce peanut to your baby? You’ll need to use safe, age-appropriate forms of peanut, advises the EAACI, so you don’t pose a choking risk to your baby.
- Avoid whole peanuts and undiluted peanut butter, as these are choking hazards.
- Instead, offer your baby diluted smooth peanut butter, peanut flour, or peanut powder mixed into foods.
And how much peanut should you introduce? The EAACI suggests introducing 2 grams of peanut protein (about one heaping teaspoon’s worth of diluted peanut butter) per week.
Introduce egg between 4 and 6 months of age.
The EAACI Task Force also recommends “introducing well-cooked hen's egg, but not raw egg or uncooked pasteurized egg, into the infant diet as part of complementary feeding to prevent egg allergy in infants.” “Well-cooked egg” can be baked egg or hard-boiled egg.
Like with peanut, it's best to introduce egg between 4-6 months of age for the most effective introduction, reports the EAACI. This recommendation is based on the review of clinical studies on egg introduction.
How much egg to introduce in this window, and how often? The EAACI Task Force suggests introducing “about half of a well-cooked, small egg twice a week as part of complementary feeding.”
This is based on the allergen introduction studies the task force reviewed, where two grams of egg were introduced per week. It recognizes that smaller amounts may also be effective, though, as seen in the results of the Two-step egg introduction for prevention of egg allergy in high-risk infants with eczema (PETIT) study.
Ready, Set, Food!: The Only Way To Follow Medical Guidelines
Although the new EAACI guidelines recommend introducing peanut and egg as early as 4 months of age, many babies aren’t ready for solids at such an early age.
And even if they have started solids, it can be difficult to introduce peanut and egg to little eaters in an age-appropriate way --- and sustain the recommended weekly exposure that the EAACI guidelines encourage.
Fortunately, Ready, Set, Food! Stage 1 and Stage 2 fully dissolve into baby’s bottle of breastmilk or formula, allowing you to safely introduce peanut and egg (plus milk) starting at 4 months of age, even if your baby is not yet ready for solids.
Our system, created by an allergist-mom and leading doctors, is an easier way to introduce allergens in line with the latest medical guidance, with no added sugar or artificial additives.
Easily introduce peanut and egg starting at 4 months of age, following the EAACI guidelines and other recent medical guidelines, with Ready, Set, Food!
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Jessica Huhn is a Content Writer for Ready, Set, Food!