27 answers

When Can a Child Start Eating Peanut Butter?

I have a 14 month old daughter and I know that you aren't supposed to give babies peanut butter because of the possibility of allergies, but I have been reading about diet and nutrition recently to try to figure out how to get my little one to eat something besides hot dogs and chicken nuggets and a book I was reading suggested peanut butter. Is it okay to give a 14 month old peanut butter or should I wait until she is 2? Any advice would be great. Also, any thoughts on how to expand my daughters' menu would be greatly appreciated. She has just started really fighting me in the last week or so, so I could use some advice. She just recently started eating meat voluntarily, but by meat I mean chicken nuggets, bologna or hot dogs. She is beginning a vegetable strike. She eats tons of fruit and loves yogurt, so I guess it isn't all bad, but I feel like I'm in a rut with her menu....please help!

Thanks!

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Thank you all for your advice. I was really just looking for something new to try to feed her that she might like, but I've decided to hold off on the peanut butter for now. My hubby just got a new job and our insurance doesn't kick in until April 1st, so we're on COBRA. We just moved and I don't have a new pedi yet for my little one, so I don't think it's a good idea to introduce anything that might cause such a severe reaction right now until I know we have a trusted Doctor and a hospital nearby in case anything were to happen. I will at least wait until her 15 month appointment in April and ask our new doctor at that point. Maybe they can just go ahead and test her so that I will know for sure before I give it to her. Thanks again!

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I absolutely would not give peanut butter until age 2 and even wait until later if their are allergy issues. My son's allergist recommended age 4 for him because he had slight allergy issues. Dealing with a peanut allergy is so scary and difficult because it is in so many foods and is so life-threatening. So even though tons of moms may tell you that their one-year olds did fine with it, early introduction of this particular food COULD cause a life-long allergy. One, it is simply NOT woth that. And two, there are so many other foods with protein (beans) and substitutes to peanut butter(soy nut butter, tahini). Also, besides hot dogs being a choking hazard, numerous medical studies have linked frequent consumption of hot dogs in children to leukemia due to the amount of nitrites, which are present in bologna as well.

I started giving my daughter peanut butter at age 1 (spread very thinly on bread or crackers). She loved it and no reactions. She is 19 months old now. She is a picky eater also and what she likes today she may not like tomorrow so I know how you feel. The only veggies she will eat are peas and corn. I'm going to take some of the suggestions from these posts and start putting veggies in foods she will eat like mac and cheese.

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My daughter is 18 months old and I give her peanut butter, she loves it. It's honey you want to stay away from until they are 2 because of all the allergens.

-Char

This has always been a great help for me when trying to figure out what was right for each stage of my childs develpment http://www.babycenter.com/refcap/baby/babyfeeding/1400680...
It says that @ 12-18 months it is ok to introduce PB... but everyone is different. If there are no known allergies in the family then you should be ok to try it. Mine was right @ 1yr when I gave it to her (in very small amounts at 1st).

www.babycenter.com has lots of helpful info & I refer to it often. Mine is only 13 months now & I kinda feel in a rut too. She loves her veggies, but she gets lots of viena sausages & sandwich meats. It's so easy & convienent, but she seems to be getting tired of it.

You could try making her sandwiches with tahini instead of peanut butter. Tahini is like peanut butter, but it is made from sesame seeds instead of peanuts. You can find it at Whole Foods (or probably any health food store) by the peanut butter. You might even find it in some of the larger grocery stores in the ethnic food section.

Hi! I started to give my child peanut butter early on and I do believe that she was eating it as early as 14 months. The only advice that I can give you is not only to watch for the allergies but also only give it to her sparingly. My pediatrician back home had advised me that their systems at that young can't digest and process the food just the same as ours and the combination of peanut butter and bread starts to form a clog in their little bellies and intestines and can become life threatening. The scary part of it all was shortly after hearing this a lady that worked closely with my sister had a two year old at the time that was being fed peanut butter sandwiches on a regular basis at daycare and ended up passing away because it had formed a large clog in her intestines that no one knew about. So for me the answer is yes give her some peanut butter but regulate how often she's getting it.

Actually, it's only necessary to refrain from giving honey until 12 months. And honey isn't an issue of allergens - it's an issue of botulism. Honey can contain botulism spores, and the immature digestive system of an infant under 12 months can't handle these spores, but more mature digestive systems can. Honey is actually good for allergies, particularly local honey, because it contains local pollens. It's often recommended that people with seasonal allergies eat honey manufactured by local bees.

As for peanut butter, the recommendation is age 2. However, if there is a known history of allergies in a family - either food OR environmental (such as hay fever) - it's really best to wait until 3. We've got both types of allergies in my family, so we don't give my daughter tree nuts or peanuts until she is 3.

Peanuts in particular, if given too soon, can actually trigger allergies - both food and environmental. I've known several people who ate a lot of peanuts during pregnancy and/or while nursing, and whose children developed food allergies even when there was no family history of any sort of allergy.

Peanuts are a good source of protein, but so is cheese, yogurt and beans. Have you tried giving your daughter kidney beans? Mine used to love them straight out of the can (well, with a good rinsing first, of course!), and it was a very simple and inexpensive protein. And, if your child still drinks milk, she's still getting all the protein she needs from her 2 cups of milk a day.

I'd advise you not to rush into peanuts. You're bound to hear stories of people who gave it to their 1 year-old without issue, but there are also stories of people who smoked and drank during their pregnancy and their babies turned out fine. Just because something doesn't harm one infant, doesn't mean it won't harm another. (And of course, smoking and drinking aren't similar to giving peanuts, but the point is, you can't assume that something that has no affect on one baby will have no affect on EVERY baby.)

one of my boys wouldn't eat meat as a toddler and we gave him bean burritos. he still loves em.

my daughter eats pb, she accidently got it enough times that we knew there was no allergy. she loves it.

My doctor told me 1 yr old. Have you tried rice? My son loves rice and butter with a dot of sugar. Have you tried just vegetable soup? My son would NOT eat a vegetable at all, but I was eating vegetable soup one day for lunch and he ate 1/2 of it with me. Also, try feeding her when you eat. He will eat anything off of my plate. He also loves the steamed green beans that are long that he can eat like a carrot!

Hi there! The American Academy of Pediatrics actually now recommends 3 years old for peanut/nut introduction. I have two children with food allergies...both require Epi Pens. If you can...I would hold off on the PB as long as you can. There are other great foods....try apple butter!! Sold at whole foods....no added sugar...tastes very, very yummy with jelly on a sandwich!

R.

My Mom actually fed my daughter peanut butter for the first time when she was 1. We just give her a slice of toast and put a thin layer of peanut butter on it. She LOVES it! Fortunately, she's been tested for food allergies and it only came back that she has a slight milk allergy, but the peanut butter toast is a HUGE hit with our 1 year old. You can also just try toast with butter. There are some snack bars out there that are good as well. Earth Grains, strawberry or apple. They can just be so moody at this age when it comes to food, it's hard to tell. I know that my daughters favorite meal is breakfast so I try to "load" her up then because the rest of the day can be give or take to whether or not she'll eat much!

It should be fine to give her PB now. My daughter has been eating PB since she was 1 maybe a month before that even. My daughter has gone in phases like that too - she finds something she likes and just wants to stick with that until she gets sick of it. One way I got my DD to start eating more vegies is she loved things like mac and cheese and almost anything with noodles, so I would mix tuna and peas in with her mac and cheese and peas in with stroganoff, and well cooked carrots and or zuchinni in with spaghetti. She also wanted to eat what mommy was eating so I cut up tomoatos and cucumbers and put a little ranch on it and let her feed it to herself. It was a little messy but she thought she was such a big girl. She now loves veggies and even asks for broccoli for dinner some nights. Good luck! :)

I absolutely would not give peanut butter until age 2 and even wait until later if their are allergy issues. My son's allergist recommended age 4 for him because he had slight allergy issues. Dealing with a peanut allergy is so scary and difficult because it is in so many foods and is so life-threatening. So even though tons of moms may tell you that their one-year olds did fine with it, early introduction of this particular food COULD cause a life-long allergy. One, it is simply NOT woth that. And two, there are so many other foods with protein (beans) and substitutes to peanut butter(soy nut butter, tahini). Also, besides hot dogs being a choking hazard, numerous medical studies have linked frequent consumption of hot dogs in children to leukemia due to the amount of nitrites, which are present in bologna as well.

I am sorry I do not know about the peanut butter. As for other food suggestions, you might try kidney beans, my 12 month old LOVES them!! I take them out of the can and rinse them so they are not so messy but she gobbles them up! Isabelle loves ham (liked the cubed ham) and she loves sausage. My little one is very small for her age so we are trying to fatten her up (by recommendation of her doctor). You may also try Pediasure, my pediatrician said that most kids don't like it but Isabelle seems to love it. If you are trying to get more calories in her, you may try that not to mention they are very nutritional. Hope this helps!!

My son's pedi advised waiting until he was 3 to give him peanut butter, even though there is no history of allergies in my family. I hit the same problem you're talking about and gave it a shot at about the same age. He doesn't really love it, so it isn't much of an issue, but he never had any kind of reaction to it.

I say give it a shot, if she loves it and doesnt' have a reaction, then I don't think you have anything to worry about!

My daughter had peanut butter at a Halloween party. She was 15 months old. No reaction. Then a month later, we gave her another PB&J sandwich and she had a terrible reaction - wheezing, hives, etc. She barely touched the stuff because she didn't like it (good thing!) but she still had the reaction. I read somewhere that the first time your child probably won't have a reaction, but the second time, the body will consider the item to be an allergen and will cause a reaction.

We have no food allergies in our family (that I know about), but we do have hay fever and other environmental allergies. I wish we had waited on peanut butter because now we struggle daily with making sure she isn't exposed. I am worried each time I drop her at Mother's Day Out, even though they have a no peanut policy in her room. For Valentine's Day, the kids exchanged cards and some of the cards had candy on them, including Reese's peanut butter cups!! Unless you have a child who has had a reaction, you probably won't give it a second thought. Like another mom or two have already said -- it's not worth rushing into.

You mentioned hot dogs. My pediatrician advised strongly against hot dogs until after 2 because he had a patient who choked on a hot dog and the airway obstruction caused damage to the child's brain. He was permanently disabled (mentally retarded) as a result. He said children under two don't chew food so unless the food is really small, a child could choke. With hot dogs, the skin makes it hard to mash, so the child will likely swallow it. I don't know if this is common practice by other pediatricians (advising against hot dogs) but I thought I'd pass it along. It was a horrible story and I would hate for another family to go through that with their child.

S.

It's not so much of an allergy risk as a choking hazzard. If you do give her peanut butter, just be sure it's in TINY bites off a spoon and not with bread or a cracker as that can make it even harder to swallow.

If allergies (at all) run in your fam., put peanutbutter off as long as possible, age 2-3 is recomended.
As far as worring about protein/nutrition, my daugther's pediatrician told me not to worry too much about my child (15 mos.) getting enough calories or protein in her diet as long as she is getting enough whole milk/yogurt/cheese a day (approx. 24 oz. of milk at age 1 yr is plenty). This provides enough protein and calories for the day. Everything else she consumes is just bonus to make her diet later in life more well-rounded (well rounded at a young age leads to well-rounded at a later age)! He said just try to keep the "bonus" part of her diet as well-rounded as possible. And if she doesn't like something one time, try it again several weeks later, possibly prepared a different way or adding it into things she likes. The key is letting them try new foods several times and prepared different ways. She sould be getting enough protein from milk, so don't worry about her not eating much meat (Americans eat too much meat any ways), but try to push the veggies and fruit, esp. the fresh type, and the healthy starches (grains, etc). Try to stay away from processed meats (ie nuggets, hot dogs, vienna sausages, etc -they add a lot of salt and preserves), but don't worry if that is most of what meat she will eat. Just don't give her too much of it! Really push the veggies and fruits and she will get over her veggie strike! The dr. says they will not starve themselves-they will eat what is offered, even if they don't like it, if they are really hungry!!!!

Hope this helps!

have you tried letting her dip her veggies in ketchup? My son will eat just about anything dipped in a little bit of ketchup... And I mean anything. last night, it was broccoli dipped in ketchup.

I started giving my daughter peanut butter at age 1 (spread very thinly on bread or crackers). She loved it and no reactions. She is 19 months old now. She is a picky eater also and what she likes today she may not like tomorrow so I know how you feel. The only veggies she will eat are peas and corn. I'm going to take some of the suggestions from these posts and start putting veggies in foods she will eat like mac and cheese.

I noticed that another mom suggested pediasure but when I was having similar problems with my son at that age I looked on the package of Onvaltin and found that it actually has more nutrients and vitamins then pediasure does. So as far as nutrition wise I would try that. As far as food be persistant keep offering her different foods and she will eventually start eatting what you give her.

Please tread very cautiously with peanut butter and any nuts. The allergy reactions from nuts are not just the slight rash, etc from other types of foods. The reactions are potentially life threatening. They also continue to get worse and occur faster with each repeated exposure.

My sone first had a slight rash on his face with a small bit of peanut butter at 1 1/2 years. Then he had some peanuts at school, no reaction. Then he eats baklava (peanuts, cashews, etc...). 30 minutes after he eats it (and loves it) he starts throwing up. We thought it was some virus. Then within another 30-45 minutes, he starts whelping up, red and it is spreading up his body. We rush to Cooks Urgent Care where we are taken back before we finish filling out paperwork. He is given one medicine that doesn't work and is ultimately given epinephrine. (Worked beautifully.) We now carry Epi Pens and benedryl everywhere. He was tested with the clood test for allergies and tested allergic to peanuts, cashews, pistachios and sesame seeds.

The second allergic reaction was at a birthday party. The famly knew he was allergic to peanuts, but the birthday cake had chocolate eggs on it. They were filled with peanut butter. He bit into one and immediatley spit it out. Over the next hour, he devloped a rash around his neck. We gave him benedryl and headed to the emergency room.

Sorry to be so long winded, but these are very serious allergies. My second son it 2 and we have not given him any nuts or peanut butter yet. Peanut and nut allergies are not necessarily hereditary (no one on either side of the family has ever been allergic). The doctors highly recommend waiting until 3 or 4 for nuts and peanut butter.

To this day our family still doesn't believe that these allergies probably won't go away...(Over 60% do not) They also do not understand that they get worse with each exposure. We all ate peanut butter when we were small and so on...

I am rambling...so pls just be very cautious! There are lots of ways to get protein.

D.

In regards to the peanut butter, I have read that if you don't have a history of food allergens in your family then waiting until 1 year of age is sufficient.

As for as the veggie strike: My daughter is 15mo and is somewhat self-feeding now (ok, so I help a lot and while she negotiates some food into her mouth, lots of it end up on the tray, the chair, her hair...). She started becoming opinionated about her food choies about a month or so ago, too.

When she started refusing this or that, I would just say, "Ok, you don't have to eat that." And set it on her try next to her other foods and then say, "Maybe Mommy can have just one piece then." Then I would pick up one of the [fill in the blank: carrots, peas, green beans, etc] and pop it in my mouth. She found this very amusing at first and would want me to eat another. Later, during the meal, she would pick one up and eat it, then pick one up and offer it to me.

Now, she doesn't really have a reaction to my eating it, but in a bit she does start eating some of them (and occassionally stills offers them to me... I usually take her up on it because it makes her happy and I think it encourages her to eat more). I think it works because she can put it in her mouth herself. She is becoming very independent. "If it's Mommy's idea - not so good... but if baby does it, it's great!"

That's my only suggestion... and it doesn't always work, but maybe coupled with some other ideas will her back on a "veggie path."

Good luck!

If you are worried about allergies, ask your pediatrician to do a blood allergy test. Takes about 1 week to get back and it does test for PB allergies. Good luck!

M. F

My daughter who is just turning 2 and my son is 3 1/2
and they won't eat peanut butter on bread but Ritz has
little snack crackers with cheese and another with peanut butter. They think its a treat, and its great finger food.
I tried the peanut butter and jelly and my daughter ended up with the jelly all in her hair. You can get them in a box, or at Albertson's usually there have some on the cracker snacl aisle and also upfront on top of the candy. They had them on sale for 1.00 and has a lid great for on the go.

I gave my son pb at about 13-14 months. I figured if he was allergic, he was allergic. I mixed it with apple juice at first so he couldn't choke. He LOVES it now! He's 19 months old!

Actually, my pediatrician said I could give PB to my daughter at age one. She is now 14 months also. I spread it thinly on bread, but she wouldn't have it! She didn't like the stickiness, I think. But still, I think it is okay to try with your little girl. If you have a family history of allergies, maybe you have more to be concerned about, but according to my doctor, all was okay at 12 months.

When my kiddos were little, I thought the recommendation was to wait til 18 mo., but looks like that's changed.

For vegetables...have you tried cubed sweet potato? My kids both LOVED that as finger food, and it's got all kinds of great nutrients in it. Just keep introducing food to her; she may reject it a few times, but eventually she just might surprise you....

You are suppose to wait till they reach their first birthday to introduce foods that have a higher percentage of causing allergic reactions. If your child has a family history or past experiences with food allergies, that makes her more susceptible to food allergies, therefore, you should wait till she is 3 - 5 years of age to introduce those.

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