When to introduce and simple ways to do it

Introducing a baby to new foods is fun – in theory. But when the time comes to of course do it, it can also be scary – especially if you’re into a potential allergen, such as nuts and peanuts.

We get it. And there’s no sugar coating: You’re going to be anxious the first time. (And maybe the second, third and fourth times as well.)

But here’s some good news: Early introduction of allergenic foods (like nuts) can definitely help protection your little one from allergies. So it is best to introduce them shortly after you start feeding your baby solid food, around 4 to 6 months.

Parents in the United States and other Western countries used to wait to import nuts and walnuts, such as cashews, almonds, and walnuts.

Then a 2016 study found that in Israel, a country where nuts were fed very early, peanut allergies were very rare: The frequency was just 0.17 percent compared to 1.4 percent in the United States and 1.7 per cent in the United Kingdom.

These findings have been confirmed by several advanced clinical trials, most notably the LEAP trial. He found that the intake of a nut – containing diet for babies between the ages of 4 and 11 months reduced the chances of developing an allergy by more than 80 percent – that’s great!

This is because your baby’s immune system develops during this time.

“As the immune system develops, we want to include foods that are highly allergenic and continue to suppress the immune system. [them] so that the immune system is trained to recognize [them] as ‘friendly’ and not threatening, ”explained Dr Yan Yan, a board-certified pediatrician and allergist with Columbia Allergy.

If this does not happen, your child ‘s immune system may perceive nuts as dangerous and proactive, leading to an allergic reaction.

That is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) are all geared for changing parents.

The short answer: If your child has no history of eczema or food allergies, they can try nuts shortly after starting solids – as early as 4 to 6 months.

Just make sure when you start (and they won’t respond), you keep it up.

“Studies suggest that sustained publication is just as important as early introduction,” says Dr. Jessica Hochman, FAAP, board-certified pediatrician and member of the scientific advisory board for Ready, Set, Food. “Parents need to keep taking allergens several times a week for several months. ”

There are lots of options. You can try giving your baby peanut puffs (eg, “Bamba” puffins) that look like peanut cheetos and melt easily when your baby sucks on them. They can also be spread in other baby foods, including breast milk.

You can use nut powder and spray them into your baby’s food, or you can bake with nut flour.

Bottles of nut (such as coconut butter or almond butter) are also good, but it is important to bring them in safely. Because nut butters can be very thick and sticky, large damselflies can pose choking hazards.

“Thinly spread them on a soft crack or banana strip, add them in oatmeal, add them to yoghurt, or thin them out with a little water and give them small amounts at a time on a spoon,” said Megan McNamee, registered parent of a dietitian nutritionist and co-owner of Feeding Littles.

But if you take them in, just make sure you start with a small amount (about 1/4 tsp or less) so you know how your baby will react.

Always buy flat nut butters without lumps of nuts. And look for butters and products with as few ingredients as possible.

“Fewer ingredients can make it easier to determine how a child is affected by an allergic reaction after eating peanut butter,” says Yan.

Reduced ingredients also means you can avoid added sugar, which is generally recommended to avoid for the first 2 years of your child’s life.

You may also want to look for butters with a lower sodium content as your baby should not be getting more than 0.4 grams of sodium per day before they are 12 months old.

“Nuts and nuts are a choking hazard for children under the age of 4 because if they are not chewed properly and absorbed into the lungs, they can block their airways,” explained Dr. Florencia Segura, FAAP, board-certified pediatrician with Einstein Pediatrics.

Children have died choking on whole nuts, she said, as the pieces blocked the entire airway.

In fact, that’s why new guidelines from many major allergy groups recommend not giving children whole nuts before their fifth birthday.

In general, “Nuts are a good source of fat, which is important for growth and development,” McNamee says. “They are delicious foods that help us to be content when we eat them. ”

That’s partly because they are also good sources of protein and fiber.

“Walnuts in particular contain more omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain and eye development,” McNamee adds.

Cashews are also a good source of omega fat, as well as copper (which is essential for iron intake), magnesium, and amino acids that power cell growth.

At the same time, almonds are a good source of fiber, plant-based proteins, and monounsaturated fats (the same kind of heart-healthy fats found in other superfoods, such as avocado and olive oil). They are also high in other vitamins and minerals, including:

  • calcium
  • iron
  • folate (good for metabolism)
  • vitamin E.
  • zinc (powerful antioxidant)

And as for peanuts?

“Peanuts are technically like legume, but nutritionally they are seen as a nut,” says McNamee.

That’s because they’re an amazing source of fat, iron, protein, and micronutrients like copper, zinc, and vitamins E and B. These nutritional benefits may protect your baby’s heart, support their metabolism, and help with brain development.

Nuts are very easy to mix in your baby’s diet. Here are some easy ideas and recipes:

  • Steamed apples and walnuts, then peel them together in a food processor with a dash of cinnamon.
  • Mix chestnut butter into baby oatmeal.
  • Pulverize almonds in a food processor and then ground banana in almonds.
  • Squash butternut cooked Puree or mash, then add a little coconut butter.
  • Make a smoothie with a little fruit (eg, bananas), breast or formula milk, and a little coconut butter.
  • Use nut flour to cook baby-friendly bands, such as almond flour cookies.

Your baby will usually develop an allergic reaction within minutes to hours of eating nuts.

Signs to watch include:

  • skin redness or itchy rashes
  • hives (red spots resembling mosquito bites)
  • vomiting
  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of the lips and tongue
  • striped or stuffy nose
  • shortness of breath
  • cough or wheeze
  • diarrhea
  • pale skin
  • loss of consciousness
  • anaphylaxis (requiring immediate medical treatment as it can be life threatening)

If you see a mild reaction, contact your pediatrician. If your child develops a bad reaction, call 911 or your local emergency services.

To be extra safe, Yan says he tells parents that children have a nonsedating antihistamine, like Children ‘s Zyrtec, on hand.

Furthermore, it states, “Once you are planning to introduce a high allergenic diet to your baby for the first time, we recommend that you choose once and for a day to allows you to closely monitor your child for up to 6 hours for signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction. ”

Ingesting nuts to a child – or any allergen that may be present – is intimidating. It is normal to feel anxious about it.

But remember: An early and regular introduction will help protect your baby from severe allergies. And fewer allergies means less weight later on.