In 2017, the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-sponsored expert panel released recommendations about the early introduction of peanut foods as a means to prevent peanut allergy. The new guidelines recommend the early and frequent introduction of peanut protein in infants between 4-6 months of age, depending on risk for allergy development, to prevent peanut allergy.
This is based on research that showed that early introduction (between 4-11 months of age) significantly reduced peanut allergy among children at high risk due to severe eczema or egg allergy. The guidelines provide recommendations for how frequently infants who are at-risk for peanut allergy should be eating peanut foods (at least 3 times per week). If a baby isn’t at risk for peanut allergy, parents can offer peanut foods as often as they would like.
In fact, a dozen health organizations from around the world, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), developed a Consensus Communication on Early Peanut Introduction and the Prevention of Peanut Allergy in High-risk Infants. AAP guidelines also say waiting to introduce “high risk” proteins past 4-6 months does not prevent food allergies for those not at risk.
If you’re a parent, however, you probably have questions about how to properly introduce peanut protein to your infant. To address this, Dr. JJ Levenstein, MD, FAAP, and Sherry Coleman Collins, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist/Consultant, suggest a few ideas incorporated in this infographic above help you get started. It’s important to keep in mind that physicians do not recommend feeding whole peanuts to children under 3-4 years of age because of the potential for choking, and supervision for infants and young children is highly recommended while they eat any food.
Parents should discuss specific dietary needs for their child with a pediatrician.
Watch this video to find out additional ways and recipes to introduce peanut protein to your infant.
For more information and resources on managing peanut allergies, take a look at some of the other pages on peanutallergyfacts.org.
Togias A, Cooper SF, Acebal ML, Assa’ad A, Baker J, Beck, LA, et al. Addendum guidelines for the prevention of peanut allergy in the United States: Report of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-sponsored expert panel. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2017:1-8.
 Toit, G. D., Roberts, G., Sayre, P. H., Bahnson, H. T., Radulovic, S., Santos, A. F., … Lack, G. (2015). Randomized Trial of Peanut Consumption in Infants at Risk for Peanut Allergy. New England Journal of Medicine, 372(9), 803-813.
 Fleischer, David M. et al. (2015). Consensus communication on early peanut introduction and the prevention of peanut allergy in high-risk infants. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 136(2), 258 – 261.
 Thygarajan’, A., & Burks, A. W. (2008). American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations on the Effects of Early Nutritional Interventions on the Development of Atopic Disease. Current Opinion in Pediatrics, 20(6), 698–702.