Dr. Andrew Bird Answers Questions on Ways to Acquaint Your Child With Peanuts at a Young Age

January 12, 2017

New guidelines from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases define the risk of infants developing peanut allergy and how to proceed with introducing peanuts early in infancy.

Dr. Andrew Bird, director of the Food Allergy Center, answers questions on ways to acquaint your child with peanuts at a young age and important information on specifics of the new guidelines.

You can learn more in this article featured on

Q: If a child doesn't have an allergy to peanuts as a baby can he or she develop them later?

A: A peanut allergy can develop at any time but typically in the first year of life.

Q: What are early warning signs of a risk of peanut allergy?

A: Two warning signs are egg allergies or severe eczema. Talk to your doctor about getting your child allergy-tested early.

Q: How should you introduce peanuts to an infant for the first time?

A: Mix 2 teaspoons of smooth peanut butter with an equal amount of hot water and give after cooled.

Q: What measures can one take to lessen the chance of developing food allergy aside from earlier first exposure to peanuts?

A: Some studies have suggested that application of thick emollient daily shortly after birth delays development of eczema. Preventing eczema could potentially lessen the likelihood of developing food allergies.

Q: What is the earliest age to introduce peanuts?

A: Give complementary foods at 4 to 6 months. Start with cereal, veggies and include peanut if other foods are tolerated. Make sure the cereal, veggies and peanut products are appropriate consistency for age.

Q: How much should you give at first? Do you build up over time?

A: I recommend you give 2 grams of peanut protein = 2 teaspoons of smooth peanut butter mixed with 2 teaspoons of hot water. Another option is 2 teaspoons of peanut butter with 2 tablespoons of fruit puree. Additionally, 2 teaspoons of peanut flour mixed with yogurt will also work.

Q: Are peanut allergies genetic?

A: There is a genetic predisposition to peanut allergies.

Q: Should I introduce peanuts to my child under supervision of my child's pediatrician?

A: Children with severe eczema or egg allergy should be evaluated by their doctor before introducing peanuts. If your child doesn't have those risk factors, you can introduce peanuts at home.

View Food Allergy Facts Sheet


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