Since 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended early introduction of peanuts to reduce risk of developing peanut allergies.  The latest guidelines by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reflects this recommendation.  The new guidelines, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (2017.doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2016.10.010), are due to findings from the Learning  Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) study.

The landmark LEAP study found introduction of peanut products to high risk infants resulted in an 80% lower risk of developing a peanut allergy when compared to babies who were not fed peanut products.  The new guidelines suggest introduction of developmentally appropriate peanut products to children at 4-6 months of age. Introduction of the peanut containing products can generally be done at home, unless child is high risk, but consult with your doctor first.  Further, the new guidelines recommend that high risk infants, or infants with severe eczema, egg allergies, or strong family history, should have either peanut IgE or skin testing prior to introduction of peanuts.

If allergic to peanuts, the mainstay is still complete avoidance.  If not allergic to peanuts, the infant should consume 6-7 grams of peanut protein a week in at least 3 feedings (This is the equivalent to3 tsp of peanut butter per week).  Early and regular introduction of peanut products for several years appears to reduce overall peanut allergy.  Lake Country Pediatrics, S.C. offers in-house skin testing on peanuts or IgE testing (as well as other nuts). We can assist in counseling you on your child’s risk for peanut allergy.