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Lil Tip: Tasting Peanut Butter for the First Time

PB&J, the sandwich that defines childhood, can potentially be harmful if a child is allergic to peanuts. And, because some kids have strong allergic reactions to the nuts — many which involve problems breathing — and chunks of the spread can prove to be a choking hazard, some pediatricians recommend that parents wait until children are 3 or 4-years-old to feed them peanuts and peanut butter.

While this is a great guideline, it doesn't calm a mother's fear of actually watching a child ingest peanut butter when the time comes. If this is your case, you might want to consider giving your child their first taste of peanut butter in your pediatrician's waiting room before an appointment. That way, if your child does have an allergic reaction, medical assistance is already on hand.


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rgrl rgrl 9 years
I started giving my son PB and almond Butter when he turned one. Luckily no problems and he really likes them, so he has it at least once a week if not more.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Peanut allergies can take YEARS to show up. Don't assume that because your child is fine that they always will be. Just like you're unlikely to have a reaction the first time you're stung by a bee. The more often they're given it, the more likely they'll develop an allergy if they're prone to it. The longer you wait to introduce it, the lower the chances that they'll develop that allergy. The allergy itself isn't genetic. If you have any allergies in the family, food or environmental, it's a good idea to put it off until age 3 or later. Peanuts aren't something I personally am willing to take chances with. It's in too many items, on too many menus, and those who do develop allergies have a very hard time. And yes, a peanut allergy in particular can be extremely dangerous.
zebeckras zebeckras 9 years
My 21-month-old daughter is allergic to peanuts (too sad!), which we found out when she was given peanut butter at daycare by some of the other older children a few months ago. What actually happened was that she was given some on a Monday, and had no reaction; since she was fine they gave her some again the next day and THEN she had a reaction. According to her allergist, you often won't have a reaction to something the very first time you experience it since you can't be allergic to something you've never had. Instead, during that first experience sometimes your body's autoimmune system will misinterpret whatever it is as harmful, and come to believe it needs to protect you from it next time. So the second exposure will be the one that brings on the reaction. At least, this is what I was TOLD: it's possible the jury is still out on this, or something. I'm not a doctor so I don't know! I only know that her first bit of peanut butter didn't cause a single problem, it was the second time that gave her a rash and made her eyes puff up. We haven't had a third (so far)!
designnoob designnoob 9 years
I'm allergic to tree nuts (though not peanuts, which are technically legumes, not true nuts) so I'll need to be very careful with my children when I do try to introduce them to both (I have a cousin who is allergic to peanuts). We're planning on doing testing and then a real ingestion test with a pediatric food allergy specialist, but that's really just because of our family history. The scary thing is, they really aren't sure what causes this -- whether it's that children are introduced to the food too early, or they're not introduced to enough foods early enough -- it's all just educated guesses at this point. Regardless, it's best to take care when introducing peanuts or tree nuts, because the allergic reactions can be potentially fatal. Anyone who is allergic should carry an EpiPen on them at all times in case of accidental ingestion. I've been to the ER plenty of times for my own allergy and it is just no fun.
goofynewf goofynewf 9 years
We gave my boys peanut butter just over 1 y.o. My doctor didn't think there would be a problem because we have no food allergies in our families and my boys didn't have problems with other foods.
terryt18 terryt18 9 years
Wow, that is crazy. My youngest niece loves peanut butter; she's 3 and I know she had it when she was very young. It's one of the first things we were given as a child...a wee bit on the end of mama's finger. And just like allyd said, it is hilarious to watch. It's like the consistency stuns the baby at first, then she/he tastes it. The faces are adorable. Soon they'll num-num it up. Unless their throat swells shut.
sweetnshy5282 sweetnshy5282 9 years
Good tip about giving the first taste of peanut near a dr.s office or hospital. My own children (1 and 3) are not allergic. I actually gave them both peanut butter before thier first birthday and they both eat it almost daily now. But my best friend's son is highly allergic to all tree nuts as well as many many other foods. Actuually the only things the he CAN eat are some fruits (oranges, apples, bananas), some veggies (broccolli, greenbeans carrots), chicken, pottaoes, and oatmeal. He, too, has pretty severve excema and they just found out he also has other allergies, such as pet hair and seasonal. (I never knew that there was a connection between excema and allergies.) But my friend just had another baby, so she needs to be really really careful what she feeds her daughter once she starts on solid foods. It's scary when a child could die from something that he eats. And it's scary when they can't eat anything because of food allergies. This poor boy is almost four and he is half the size (height and weight) of my almost 4 yr. old. I really worry he may become malnourished because he can't gain any weight. My 14 month old daughter weighs as much as he does (24 lbs.)
amandachalynn amandachalynn 9 years
Heres the link to the artical.
amandachalynn amandachalynn 9 years
I recently read in Newsweek that part of the reason kids are developing more food allergies lately is because we don't expose them to foods. When I was born, they had my mother start me on rice cereal at 1 month.(I'm 25) Now they say 6 months. My Dr. told me peanuts were okay after age 1, and my son had peanut butter before this(I didn't know, my hubby gave it to him.) He was fine. They newsweek artical said that we may be 'too clean' nowadays, and our immune system doesn't have as much to fight off, so it's going after the small stuff. They've started giving kids with peanut allergies products made with peanut flour, to try and bolster the immune system, and so far it looks promising. It said they hope to have a peanut vaccine in the next 10 years. And peanut butter is only a choking hazard if you give it to them on a spoon, or glob it on a sandwitch. A very thin layer is fine. I hate that the AAP just assumes that we're all idiots.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
lol Pop and allyd! My husband thinks I'm nuts (har har) for not letting my son eat whole nuts of any kind even at age 4 1/2. Peanut butter, though, I let them have at a year, which is what I had read and heard. I was totally unaware of the 3-4 year recommendation. And I totally thought peanut allergies were genetic.
cbgmick cbgmick 9 years
Also, given the prevalence of many tree nut and peanut allergies, many child care centers, preschools, and elementary schools are going "nut free" (not only banning PB&J, but any lunch or snack items like granola bars that have nuts or peanuts). Given this, it just hasn't become a staple food in our house Also, my son has no nut or peanut allergies, but we were told to be careful of this when he was a baby as he has some serious eczema which can tend to be associated w/ tree nut and peanut allergies. My nephew has severe tree nut and peanut allergies and also has severe asthma, which apparently is also commonly linked/ associated.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
Wow, great advice! I never thought about it, but I am definitely going to be in the ER parking lot when I first let me little ones (whenever they come ;)) try PB. On a side note, kids can be allergic to peanuts, but not peanut butter. That is how my nephew is. Has something to do with it being processed.
meumitsuki meumitsuki 9 years
Its interesting to see the variations in DR opinions. My doc said on the 1st birthday my son could have peanut butter. He has had PBJ for lunch every day since (he's 2.5). With hearing all this I might wait longer for my daughter.
allyd allyd 9 years
this is probably completely inappropriate, but when you *do* introduce your kids to PB, make sure you have a video camera handy. watching mine try to work their way through their first bite of the sticky stuff was absolutely hilarious. yeah. and be careful about allergies, too. :D
Moms Moms 9 years
While I read the AAP reference to waiting until the child is 3-years-old multiple times, I just found another list on saying that chunks of peanut butter can pose a choking threat to children under the age of 4. And, I altered the post to clarify this.
silver4 silver4 9 years
As an EMT who has transported people from doctor's offices to the hospital, I'm going to weigh in and say that a better choice would be in front of a pediatric ER. "Regular" Dr.'s offices often don't have the equipment or expertise to deal with a rapidly closing airway.
doccarrie doccarrie 9 years
I am a pediatrician and I do not think that this is actually correct. While peanut allergy is an issue on the rise, I believe that the AAP's actual recommendation is to wait until age 2 to introduce peanuts into a toddlers diet. This is especially true (and parents should take caution) if there is a history of food allergies, seasonal allergies or eczema (a skin condition) in the family.
fsquaash fsquaash 9 years
Let's not forget that while food allergies are serious and scary, most children don't have any that are life threatening. I'm glad the AAP issues guidelines and warnings, but many are not as clear as they seem. My dr. said peanut products after 1 year was fine. I'm concerned about the "culture of worry" that comes with all the knowledge we gain from the media (internet, tv, magazines at the dr's office). All this being said . . . I still worry.
Celebrity Celebrity 9 years
haha. I can't help but laugh when I read this since Brian always makes fun of me since I am terrified of giving Katie peanuts before 3. She even joked on her blog she had to wait until her 20's and Brian always says - "what are you going to do give her a PB&J outside the hospital for the first time?" I like the suggestion of giving it to them before the dr appt.
bellanatella bellanatella 9 years
Good tip, LilSugar. I'm wondering though - how long does it take for the effects to set in? What if you're in and out like so many are nowadays and you realize on the way back?
lemassabielle lemassabielle 9 years
I'm kind of surprised to read this because I was in the hospital yesterday because my lip gloss had almond oil in it. I'm severely allergic to all nuts and found this out when I was in school. I never really had peanut butter until I was in middle school and we had a peanut butter tasting contest (Good idea) and my throat swelled up and I was rushed to the hospital. Yesterday I was basically pumped with steroids and benadryl. You have to be extremely careful if you have a child who is allergic because they put peanut butter in so many things and many places manufacture their food on the same equipment and it could be in any food you eat. It's a really scary thing to have because you just never know. It's also good if you go out to ask if they use peanut butter oil or cook their food near peanut butter. It sounds ridiculous but it could save your child's life. That's all that really matters. I'm only 20 years old and my mom had to rush to the hospital to see me yesterday and I know how much it scares her. Who would think they would put almonds/pecans in lip gloss? So I'm on bed rest for a few days and my throat still hurts. It's a really scary experience. Allergic reactions to peanuts are not genetic. Also, every reaction you get will usually get more severe. I went 6 years without a reaction and this one was a biggie. I think people need to be more aware of this because allergies to peanuts have doubled in the last five years.
lilegwene lilegwene 9 years
JennyJen, my brother is the first in our family with severe peanut allergies. They're not sure what causes it, but it isn't genetic. This is great advice lilsugar!
JennyJen2 JennyJen2 9 years
Never heard that we should wait until 3. We waited until our baby was 1 and then - she got some from a piece of candy that her grandmother was eating - since her grammy didn't know that there was anything to be worried about. When she was giving it to her it was like one of those slow motion scenes where you are like Nnnnnnnoooooo. Luckily there was no reaction, but we don't have any peanut allegies in our family so I was not too worried about this. She now eats it all of time.
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