35 answers

At What Age Do You Let Children Eat Peanut Butter?

I have heard mixed reviews on this issue so I decided to ask everyone here because I have always received such good advice. At what age do you introduce peanut butter? I was told not until 4-5 because of the allergy factor. Someone said after 1 years it is ok. I am very confused and I am concerned about the allergy issue as I have a food allergy and have friends with the peanut allergy; so I know how difficult/dangerous it is to have a food allergy.
Thanks in advance for all your advise.

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Thank you to everyone!!! There was a lot of great advise given. I was in the middle of switching pediatricians when I posted my question. We will see the new pediatrician Wednesday; so I will ask for her opinion then. I have decided to wait as long as possible; however, that said my son some how "stole" a cracker with peanut butter on it from another child at daycare last week and there was no reaction (thank god!).

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They sell many substitutes to peanut butter such as soy nut butter & sunflower seed butter. I think they taste quite similar and you won't have the anxiety of giving him peanut butter. You can wait the 4-5 years that was suggested.
I've bought mine at Waldbaums or whole foods.
My younger son is allergic to peanuts and my older son is not. We've removed all the nuts from the house. My older son doesn't care that we changed the product although we do call it "soy nut butter and jelly sandwich" so that he knows he is not getting peanut butter.
Good luck.

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Hi J.,

I am reading the advice you are receiving with equal interest because I'm confused as well about it (my 17 month old has already had peanut butter though).

I did want to add in response to the recent post about sugary peanut butter that there are plenty of "natural" peanut butters with nothing in them but peanuts! Not even salt...and that is what I use.

So there are options for you.

Regards,
K. C

If your LO has had foods with peanuts in them before (think of any snacks or cereals you have offered) with no incident and your family doesn't have a history of peanut/legume allergies, I would consider introducing them with caution. Watch carefully for any hives or other reactions (suddenly poor sleeping, trouble breathing, changes in eliminations, rashes, etc)

IF however there is a history of allergies (anaphylactic in particular) in your family to molds or legumes, I would delay introduction until you feel safe testing it. Also, when you decide to introduce peanuts consult your allergist as to the best way to introduce and what signs to watch out for.

We were told by our pediatrician that they were advising parents 18 months or 2 years old. Now they are saying 3 years old.

J.

J. - there are no allergies in my family, so we waited until my daughter was 1 to give her peanut butter. If you DO have allergies in your family, it's best to talk to a pediatrician.

You have been given some good advice but I want to add to what other posters have said. If you or your DH have ANY allergies, your child has a higher chance of developing a food allergy. Like you, I have food allergies. I was told to wait until my son was 3 to try peanuts and tree nuts.

My youngest has many food allegeries, but not peanuts. But being in the food allergy environment, I believe if noone in your (or your husband's) family has the peanut allergy, then 2 yrs old is good. If someone in the family tree has the peanut allergy, then DO NOT have peanuts while you are pregnant and the child should not have peanuts until at least 5 years old.

hi J., i am allergic to tree nuts, so is my mom, but neither of us are allergic to peanuts (thank goodness!!!!) i was told no peanuts while pregnant, while nursing, or until the kids are at least 3. one doc also told me no berries until at least 3. so, when my oldest was 3, i gave him berries and it was fine. he still hasnt had nuts or peanuts, he is 5 now. i had asked the doc at 3, one told me to try, another one told me to hold off as long as i can, that the later you introduce it the less chance they have of developing the allergy, which is what i have read. so he still hasnt had it, neither has my daughter who will be 3 next month. i think i will have to introduce it to my son over the summer since he will be starting kindergarten in sept and i should know. also, i have just recently read a new study that now says that none of this is true, that it makes no difference! so, who knows, it just depends who you ask, but i know how it is to have allergies, its scary, so i am sticking with the plan for my 2 younger kids too. i have a friend whos son is extremely allergic to everything, and he is actually considering homeschooling because of it! so, ill do what i can. i have been pregnant or nursing for 6 years, i miss peanut butter SO BAD!

Hi. From the mouth of my pediatrician...old guard docs say 1 year is okay. HOWEVER, new guard doctors & medial journals report it is best to wait until 4-5 then introduce in minor amounts for reaction/response.

Also the advice of Benadyrl on hand is great, but for a rapid allergy Benadryl is not going to work. Get an EpiPen(script) on hand to assist for severe reactions when time is of the essence.

**EpiPen is a prescription med - parents/patients should ask their physician about the circumstances under which this life-saving medication should be used.

Doctors are an excellent resource and by asking them questions you can learn more. For a free information kit: www.epipen.com/freekit_main.aspx

I recently found this and sent it to a friend, hope it helps:

ALLERGIC PEANUT REACTIONS OCCURRING AT AN EARLIER AGE

Despite AAP recommendations that very young children avoid peanut exposure during the first three years of life, the age that children are first exposed to peanuts and subsequently have an allergic reaction has fallen over the past decade. In the study, "Clinical Characteristics of Peanut-Allergic Children: Recent Changes," researchers compared the medical data of peanut-allergic patients at a Duke University clinic between July 2000 and April 2006 with those of a similar population between 1995 and 1997. The median age of first peanut exposure and reaction were 14 and 18 months, respectively, between 2000 and 2006. Between 1995 and 1997, the first exposure and reaction were 22 and 24 months. Most of the children in both patient groups had other food allergies, including eggs, cow's milk, nuts, fish, soy, wheat and sesame seeds. The study authors recommend more research on the cause of early allergic reactions to peanuts, as well as successful prevention efforts.

© COPYRIGHT AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The pediatric allergist we saw said if there were no food allergy history in the family then it was okay to trial at three. However if you have food allergies, consult your pediatrician they may send you to an allergist to test for certain allergies with out what they call "food challenge" where your child actually eats it.

Because of my husband's food allergy my daughter had skin testing first before having peanutbutter. She was okay with peanuts and not tree nuts. Good thing we went this route though as she also inherited my shellfish allergy. Her brother accidentally touched her shirt where she had spilled peanutbutter and he broke out in hives so we knew early on with him no peanuts.

They sell many substitutes to peanut butter such as soy nut butter & sunflower seed butter. I think they taste quite similar and you won't have the anxiety of giving him peanut butter. You can wait the 4-5 years that was suggested.
I've bought mine at Waldbaums or whole foods.
My younger son is allergic to peanuts and my older son is not. We've removed all the nuts from the house. My older son doesn't care that we changed the product although we do call it "soy nut butter and jelly sandwich" so that he knows he is not getting peanut butter.
Good luck.

they keep changing it. at first it was 1 year and now they are saying 3 years. i had started my first son at 1 year and then they changed it to 3. it was too late, i already did it. i have no family history of peanut allergy, so i took the chance and none of my 3 children have had any issues. if you do have a family history, you might want to wait. they say the longer you wait, the less chances.

My 15 month old just ate peanut butter. He is now on his way to hospital. He could not get it down and now can barely breath. I told my wife two years, and my father-in-law said three but she said it would be fine. :(

My children are all grown now. My oldest is almost 40 years old. Back in the days when she was little things were so different. Now days every kid I know is suffering from some allergy or disorder! Back then we were told that when the child was old enough and had enough teeth to eat a particular food to give it to them. Very few ever developed allergies to anything. Now days every time a kid has a rash, or sneezes or a mysterious bump on their skin someone starts to panic and calls it an allergy! As an example, my son in law never told me he had an allergy to walnuts. For years now I have been making banana bread with crushed walnuts in it. I never told him it had walnuts in it because I didn't know there might be a problem. One day he was here when I made it and saw that I put walnuts in it. He couldn't believe it! He has been eating it for 5 years and has never had a reaction. Turns out he is NOT allergic to walnuts after all. His mother and doctor just assumed he was because he got a rash when he was little after eating something with walnuts. It also turns out he is not allergic to cats or dogs. We have a cat and dog and it doesn't bother him even though his mother was told that because he sneezed when a cat and dog were in the room that he was allergic. In fact he is not allergic to anything. He felt that all them years of getting allergy shots and going with out a pet or so many foods were a waste!

My point is. Try the peanut butter and watch your child. If he starts to get any kind of reaction do what you have to do to take care of him. But don't jump to conclusions and sometime later try it again to see if he gets the same reaction to it. If he does, get him tested. If not, give him the peanut butter and forget about the first reaction. Maybe it was just one of them mysterious rashes that kids get sometimes and no one knows why!

put some on celery with raisins

I think...
If there is a history of peanut allergy, then you need to be more cautious.

If not, then it is more of an issue of pb being a choking hazard, because it's so gooey and can get stuck in your child's throat.

With my first baby I had no idea, so around 18 months I started giving him pb on crackers and he loved it. When I told my pediatrician he said it wasn't a big deal, but not to glob on the pb especially in sandwiches b/c of the choking thing.

If there is no allergies I say it's okay. Start with a small amount to make sure there are no reactions. If all is good, make sure to spread it thinly or incorporate it in milkshakes.

I started my DD on peanut butter at 11 months cuz the doc said we didn't have allergies to worry about. Look at your family history and your kids allergy history then decide what works.

Hi J.,

I believe the age that the AAP recommends is 3 years. When my 13 year old was born, their recommended guideline was 1 year. There is a lot of mixed information and people think that "they" say a certain age, but the parents are not even sure who "they" are. Sometimes individual doctors give out some sort of advice that is not in line with the AAP so when you ask your doctor for advice and he or she gives a recommendation, I'd suggest being sure to ask where that recommendation comes from.

We gave it to our son soon after he turned 1. HOWEVER, we do not have a history of food allergies in our family. I will probably do the same with my daughter once she turns 1 next month. I am a PB&J-aholic myself so if my kids couldn't eat it I don't know what I'd do. But it's your call. My son lives on PB, it's one of his major sources of protein as he doesn't eat any other meat besides chicken nuggets.

I always thought it was a year. And at 13 months I introduced a small amount of peanut butter on toast to my son.

It didnt fare so well, and after blood tests and skin tests, we have determined he is allergic to peanuts.

I wish I would have waited until he was older.

We have ZERO food allergies in both of our families, so I would have never thought my kids would have food allergies.

I'm there are plenty of kids that have peanut butter at a year, and are perfectly fine with it.
Good Luck in whatever you decide to do.

Hi J. ,

I started giving my daughter peanut butter after she turned one. Thank god she doesint have alleries to it. I think its ok to have him try it, once they hit one, you can have them try a variety of foods and thats when you will discover what allergies they will have.

I think anywhere from 18 months-2yrs is fine. I would keep some benadryl on hand just in case.

I have a 2 1/2 year old with a milk and peanut allergy. I have a 5 year old and a 12 month old with no food allergies. At my 12month olds dr appt. the ped. said to hold off on giving anything with peanuts in it to my 12month old for another year or so to be on the safe side. I see your boy is 21 months old according to your profile, they normally see the dr at their 2 year old time for a check up?..i would ask then. If you feel the need to give him some kind of "peanut butter" there are allergy free type. That way you know he is safe and can still enjoy the things that kids enjoy with "peanut butter" Thats what I do.

Please - keep yourself and your children away from peanut butter. Most of the population doesn't realize the dangers of peanuts........ a few articles to read:

http://www.deanesmay.com/archives/007598.html

http://www.deliciousorganics.com/Controversies/peanuts.htm

If you google cancerous peanuts, you'll find much more info.

I found out about this cancer-causing agent in peanuts from my naturopath. One of the first things she said to me 'stay away from peanuts/peanut butter'.....

Since then, I eat Almond butter. My 4 year old son has never had any kind of nut butter and when I'm ready, I will only give him almond or cashew butter.

I truly think you should wait until your child is older (4-5)to introduce to a nut butter -- for allergy and for choking hazard reasons.

Please pass this information on to other people you know. Peanuts are NOT worth eating........Why are so many people are allergic to peanuts? Could be the mold aflatoxin their bodies are rejecting!

~J.

Hi J.. I just took my daughter for her 2 year check up and was givin the OK for peanut butter smooth not crunchy. Have you asked your ped? Are you or anyone in your family allergic to Peanuts?
I think its Ok for peanut butter. Just give a little bit to start with to make sure there is no reaction.

Dear J.,

I don't have as much background on allergies as a lot of the people who have posted here, but I wanted to mention one additional thing about peanut butter: the stuff is loaded with high-fructose corn syrup. I know we think of it as lunch food, not desert food, but it's so high in sugar (sucrose), it's really sugar butter with a little peanut thrown in for flavor.

And when kids have a whole lot of sugar really young, it effectively redirects their taste buds -- they start perceiving healthier sugars, like fresh fruit, as sour and develop lifelong cravings for super-sugary foods.

I'm not a purist about these things -- sugar has passed my own son's lips plenty of times -- but I am a little confused about the notion of deliberately introducing peanut butter. There are so many ways to get kids nut protein with fewer allergy risks and a lot less sugar. Why not wait?

My personal plan on peanut butter is to wait until there's a social need for it -- say, if all the cool kids in the first grade lunchroom are having PB&J sandwiches. There's really not a nutrition reason to start it sooner.

Hope that's helpful and not too lecture-y,

Mira

P.S. I also recall reading somewhere (forget where, sorry) that today's commercial peanut butter is much more processed than it used to be, and that this processing process (or whatever) makes the potential toxins much more concentrated -- hence the rise in allergies. If you're committed to introducing PB, you might start by looking in a health food store.

I felt the same about all the conflicting info. I think we introduced peanut butter to my son when he was about 2. His grandmother gave it to him without my knowing. Even now he only gets PB when he is outside our home, like at grandmas or if we go out to lunch). To get around the peanut butter issue I give him sunbutter. Its 'peanut butter' made from sunflower seeds instead of peanuts. It definately has more vitamins/minerals then PB and doesn't have the allergy concerns. The taste isn't too far from PB either if you are used to the all natural brands. I but it at Acme.

Hey J.,
I gave my daughter peanut butter at about 1 1/2 years old...and today she is 2 and one of her favorite things is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich....I personally wanted to know earlier on if she had an allergy so I could prepare for her future with daycare and stuff...LOL I would try a little bit and see what happens..at least then you can set your mind at ease!!
Meg :)

I waited until my girls were 1 when I gave peanut butter, strawberries, eggs, high allergie foods. My husband has no allergies and I only to shell fish and I developed that later in life. depending on what your family history is can help. If you have or blood relatives have allergies to peanut butter or whatever then be really careful and wait longer. I have several medicines I am allergic to and they run in the family so I have still not given them to my girls (7yo and 23months) A.

Both of our boys had it after they turned 1 and thankfully we never had any problems.I lived on PB and honey sandwiches(all organic) while pregnant and when nursing, and our kids do not go a day without one:)

I believe the current recommendation is not until age 3 if there are allergies in the family.

Of course you should double-check with your pediatrician.

T.

I had always heard to introduce peanut butter between 2 and 3 years of age (after we had tried it with our oldest) My oldest son started on PB earlier...right around 14 or so months of age and he was fine. With my youngest though, we've already discovered he is allergic to strawberries so we won't be introducing PB until he's much older. We're not taking any chances.
I would check with your pediatrician and see what they recommend. That should help put your mind at ease. Good luck!

My daughter (nineteen months) is very allergic to peanuts. We found out from a test, she has never had any nut products. A peanut allergy is more likely to cause a severe reaction upon first exposure than other allergens. If you or your husband have any allergies it increases your child's chances of food allergies. No one in my family has a peanut allergy! I would wait a long time. It isn't worth it.

Does anyone in your family have a nut allergy? If not it is safe to start peanut butter, smooth and spread very thin. We started our son on it with the recommendation of our Ped. at just over a year.

If there are no allergies history in your family, or your husband's, it's OK to give peanut butter between 1 and 2. But you say that you have an allergy, so I would wait until 4 or 5. In the meantime you can try soybean butter.
Almond butter is also very hypoallergenic.
Odds are that your son is not allergic to peanut butter, but PB allergy is very dangerous and scary, so I think it's better to play it safe.
Good luck!

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