Most of us have fond memories of enjoying a good old fashioned PB&J during our early childhoods. Parents and other caregivers love this simple sandwich because it’s budget friendly as well as so easy to make. Allergies to peanuts, however, have been on the rise, and parents often face contradictory information as to when it’s safe to give children peanut butter and other products.
Can My Child Try Peanuts and Peanut Butter at Any Age?
In the past, many pediatricians advised parents to wait until their baby was over a year old before introducing peanut butter into their diet. Now, there is new research that suggests that the longer that we wait to start our children on new foods, the more likely that it is for them to develop a food intolerance or actual allergy.
As long as there isn’t a strong history of allergies in your family’s health history, and your baby has been enjoying other solid foods, many doctors believe that it is safe to give your baby a small amount of peanut butter once they reach about six to eight months of age. If your baby tolerates the peanut butter well, you can try giving baby peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that are cut into strips that are easier for baby to hold.
Smooth Peanut Butter is Best to Start but Monitor for Signs of Allergy
When introducing peanut butter, make certain that you give baby the smooth, creamy kind that is free of chunks and hard bits of crushed or sliced peanuts. Whole and sliced peanuts are considered a choking hazard for babies and toddlers under the age of 4, so stick with the creamy kind until then.
One important thing to keep in mind is that you will want to closely watch your baby for any sign of a reaction the first several times that you give them some peanut butter.
Signs of an allergy can include hives, rash, wheezing, swelling of the mouth or face, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. If your baby exhibits any of these symptoms, DO NOT give them any more peanut butter and consult with your doctor.
While an allergic reaction can be frightening to the child and parents, true food allergies are rare. So, it’s very likely that your baby will be able to enjoy this tasty childhood treat!