Peanut butter is a versatile food that’s both tasty and healthy. You can enjoy it as a snack or meal. Scoop a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter on a celery stick, or make a peanut butter, jelly, and banana sandwich for lunch.
No matter how you spread it, peanut butter is delightful, and it can be a staple of any healthy diet.
The problem is, it also can’t be. That’s because about 3 million people in the United States are allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. In fact, a peanut allergy is the most common allergy among food allergic children.
But recent research found that early exposure to peanuts could significantly decrease the chances of your baby developing a nut allergy.
If you want to introduce your baby to peanut butter, but you’re nervous about allergies, read on for tips, tricks, and a few recipe ideas.
When to Introduce Peanut Butter
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology recommends introducing peanut butter to your baby only after other solid foods have been fed to them safely, without any symptoms of allergies. This can happen between 6 and 8 months of age.
Avoid giving whole peanuts or peanut pieces to any child under 4 years old. Peanuts can be a choking hazard.
Allergy Risk Factors
Peanuts are among the eight foods that account for 90 percent of all food allergy reactions. Peanut allergies, which usually develop in childhood, can be lifelong. If you do outgrow a peanut allergy, there’s still a chance it may return.
Children with other food allergies are at an increased risk of having a peanut allergy. The same goes for children in families where food allergies are common. Children who have tested positive for a peanut allergy should never be given peanuts.
You should also proceed with caution when introducing peanut butter to your baby if you think they are at risk for the allergy. First, speak with your doctor and ask about an allergy test. If you’re certain you want to introduce peanuts, it may be a wise idea to give your baby peanut butter while at the doctor’s office.
There are several ways to spot a food allergy. You child might experience:
- hives (red spots that mimic mosquito bites)
- sneezing and/or wheezing
- breathing problems
- itchy rashes
- throat tightness
- pale skin
- circulation symptoms
- loss of consciousness
Food allergy reactions can range from mild to severe. They can also happen shortly after the food is consumed. Normally, your child will experience an allergic reaction in one location of their body. But if your child suffers from anaphylaxis, a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction caused by foods like peanuts, they will experience multiple symptoms at once. Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical attention in the nearest emergency room.
If your child suffers a severe allergic reaction, they will need to see their pediatrician (and likely an allergist) to help determine the cause and treatment of their allergy.
Peanut Butter for Baby
You should serve babies peanut butter that’s smooth and thin. Thick peanut butter can be hard for a baby to eat. If it’s too thick to swallow, it can be a choking hazard.
Avoid buying chunky peanut butter and serving actual peanuts. Both of these can cause your little one to choke. To thin the texture of your peanut butter, mix in a little water so it’s more like a watered down paste.
Peanut Butter Teething Biscuits
This peanut butter teething biscuit recipe is a tasty and organic way to help your baby use their new chompers. The biscuits call for only eight ingredients, and it takes just 10 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook.
The recipe yields 20 to 24 treats. You can serve them at room temperature or put them briefly in the freezer to help soothe your baby’s gums. Make sure they are not too hard and crumbly so pieces do not break off and cause a choking risk.
Peanut Butter and Butternut Squash
Add pizazz to the rotation of solid foods you feed your little one with peanut butter and butternut squash. This two-ingredient recipe calls for some peanut butter and frozen butternut squash puree, thawed and heated in the microwave.
It’s a quick and easy recipe that’ll take just 10 minutes to prepare.
PB&J Oatmeal Thumbprint Cookies
Weelicious has a healthy twist on a childhood favorite: PB&J oatmeal thumbprint cookies. This delightful recipe only takes 15 minutes to make. They take just five minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to bake. You’ll need nine ingredients all together.
When it comes time to shape the cookies, have your toddler help. Let them use their thumb to press down on the cookies, then fill the indent with your favorite jam or jelly.
The recipe makes 60 cookies.