Introducing solids to your baby can feel scary, especially when it comes to potential allergens! But worry no more, because I will break down the science when it comes to introducing peanut butter to your baby.
Is introducing peanut butter as early as six months okay? Yes! In a joint statement by the Canadian Pediatric Society and the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (and endorsed by Dietitians of Canada), doctors agree that there are no benefits to delaying the introduction of high allergen foods such as peanuts, eggs, and fish, even in high risk infants (those who have parents or siblings with food allergies).
Based on the current evidence, there is no reason to delay the introduction of these foods as it does not raise the risk of a child developing a food allergy.
Doctors do advise though, to continue feeding your baby the potentially allergenic food after the first exposure to maintain their tolerance. In other words, don’t give your baby peanut butter toast just once- continue to offer it somewhat regularly after the first taste. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of introducing peanut butter at 6 months, don’t worry- you should only introduce potentially allergenic foods when you are comfortable with it and not before. After all, we still do not know if early introduction (4-6 months) of possible food allergens protects against developing an allergy, so there’s not a huge rush. But knowing that there is no risk in introducing these foods as early as 6 months is comforting for many parents and it gives us a few more options for high iron foods in those first few months (nut butters, fish, eggs).
The other good news ( in my opinion) is that pregnant and breastfeeding Moms need not avoid potential allergens such as milk, peanuts, eggs or fish, as there is no evidence that it will prevent their children from developing an allergy. This is good news and will hopefully dispel the belief that expectant or nursing Moms need to avoid certain foods for the sake of preventing allergies.