Peanuts, eggs may benefit baby

By Laura Mize • Published: June 22nd, 2016
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

For years, peanuts have been taboo for infants.

Pediatricians recommended withholding them because they are considered highly allergenic. The fear was that infants’ developing digestive systems may adapt poorly, triggering food allergies.

But several recently published studies don’t support that idea. In fact, they indicate a potential benefit to feeding peanut protein to infants early in their first year. One study, published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that breast-fed babies who got small weekly doses of peanut protein and another highly allergenic food — eggs — between 3 and 6 months of age were less likely to be allergic to those foods than babies introduced to them later.

Testing of 1-year-old and 3-year-old children showed rather convincing results. Among 310 babies who consumed peanuts between the ages of 3 months and 6 months, none tested positive for a peanut allergy. Thirteen of the 525 children in the other group did.

When it came to eggs, the allergy rate among the babies that began eating peanuts later in life was nearly four times higher than it was for babies who ate small amounts starting at 3 months.

Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups are starting to embrace the early introduction of some previously taboo foods. But because allergies still occur and can be extremely dangerous, caution is key.

A blog post from the academy suggests discussing the topic with a pediatrician, possibly testing for allergies and perhaps introducing risky foods at the doctor’s office.

With a little extra care and attention, your baby may be less likely to develop these allergies later in life.