Friday, March 12, 2010

Requests from our Readers: Week 21

Our Reader asks:

I am wondering about how to avoid food allergies, particularly peanut allergies. I avoided all the "no no" foods during my sons first year (honey, nuts, chocolate, etc). From what I've read, it sounds like pretty much everything is safe after the first year - just to be cautious of choking hazards like carrots, whole grapes, popcorn...), but I've heard mixed things about nuts. I'm mostly wondering because I want to start using peanut butter. I even asked his pediatrician and he said some people say that the earlier they start nuts, the more likely the allergies; and other are saying the opposite - introducing sooner might actually decrease the risk. What have you heard and learned from your own experience? When did you start giving your child peanut butter?

If you have any advice or thoughts to share with this mom please do!


Britta said...

I gave my daughter peanutbutter stuff starting just after she was a year old.

From what I've heard, alergies tend to run in families. If you have any relatives who have nut alergies, I'd wait longer to give it to him. But for most average kids, waiting the year mark sounds like a good plan.

I wouldn't sweat it too much anyway- when you do give him any sort of nut product just keep any eye on him. Nut alergies have almost instant reactions so you should be good if you watch him for a half hour and nothing happens. So if you start it now or in another year, that's all you really need to pay attention to.

Megan said...

I too introduced peanut butter to my son just after a year old. I was a stickler about peanut butter, strawberries, and honey not being given to my son before he was one. He never had any reaction that worried me to any of the above mentioned products.

Like Britta mentioned above, the first couple of times watch your son after you give him a nut product, if he doesn't have a reaction in the first hour you should be safe to continue using the product.

Erin said...

When I had my first baby the doctors told me to be really careful and to wait to give eggs, nuts, strawberries... all the allergens. I started all that stuff after 1 year. With my second baby, the doctors told me that new research said that waiting actually had the opposite affect, and that it was better to start them like normal when the baby was ready to eat finger foods. I understand being confused! I went with the "new research" but mostly, I just went with what felt right. I was a LOT more easy going with pretty much everything with the second baby, so it wasn't a problem for me to relax and just give her the new foods. And to be honest, she got most of that stuff from her brother on accident anyway. :) I was more watchful with the foods that I knew had severe reactions (anaphylaxis) like eggs and peanut butter, because if there was a reaction it would need immediate attention vs. just avoiding that food in the future. I don't give honey before a year though, because that's a risk of botulism, not necessarily an allergy.

Raylynk said...

I waited until a year to start peanut butter...but our doctor said the same thing as Erin's about the new research and that all the old rules about allergies are gone and to start the foods when you think their ready.

Jared and Delia said...

Seriously...isn't it funny how nobody can make up their minds? I remember being told not to give orange juice to my baby until after a year at least by the doctor and by several friends. So...when my well meaning sister in law gave my baby a sip of her orange juice and I gave her the "I can't believe you just did that stare" she was way offended. After all she has raised five babies. was my first and how was I to know that this orange juice advice was dumb and would and DID phase out. Yes it is more acidic and can cause upset but not enough to freak out about.

Anyway...I would wait until a year on peanuts and honey like has been said. Check your family history. I say that if food allergies are common in your family in general that you should wait or at least put a lot of prayer and consideration in it before proceeding. My friend waits until 3 for peanut butter because there are sensitivities that run in her family.

Good luck.

Kym, Shaun and Riley said...

I introduced peanut butter and dairy as soon as my son turned 1 year old. He didn't have any trouble with peanut butter, but had some digestive issues switching over to milk. I had just switched him to milk, cold turkey. So I think that had something to do with it. Some babies are fine with that, but my son wasn't. So I had to go back to formula and gradually wean him from that to milk. But he was never introduced to honey or peanuts before 1 year.

Tressa said...

Thank you very much, ladies! It is so crazy how things switch back and forth so much. With this being my first, it's sometimes been hard to know which are the hard fast rules (like the honey) and which are just nice suggestions (like the citrus). It seems like I've heard that some allergies can come and go (maybe that's not really an allergy, but an intolerance?) --like I just wanted to avoid setting the stage for nut and chocolate allergies later because that would limit a lot of really great desserts! :)

Anyway, I really appreciate the boost of confidence I can gain from the experience of other great moms! Hearing you say the same things I've been thinking helps me trust myself more! :) Thanks again for your comments.