Peanut Butter for Babies – When and How to Introduce?

Peanut butter in a jar

Peanut Butter is packed with essential nutrients that can boost immunity, decrease the risk of a heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health problems. However, there is a catch. It is only good for people who do not have food allergies, particularly peanut allergy. Therefore, caution should be taken while introducing peanut butter to infants. It is advisable to consult a doctor and take the peanut allergy test before doing so.

When to Introduce Peanut Butter to Babies?

When can babies have peanut butter is a common question that most parents ask. As peanuts are highly allergenic in nature, parents are hesitant about giving it to their babies. However, of late, experts have stressed on the need to introduce peanuts to babies as early as at 6 months. Children having a family history of allergies, like egg allergy or eczema are at a high risk of food allergies. Introducing peanut products like peanut butter around 4 months of age can decrease the risk of peanut allergy; however, give it with due advice from your doctor. Research has shown that introduction of peanuts early in life will help in preventing peanut allergy in the future.

How to Introduce Peanut Butter to Infants?

It is important to consult a doctor before introducing peanut butter to your little one. Here are some points that you should take into consideration before introducing peanut butter to infants.

  • Peanut butter should be diluted with a little hot water and made into a puree like consistency. Then give a little with a spoon and monitor your baby for 10-15 minutes. If your baby is non-allergic, she will not have any reactions like hives, rashes, or respiratory problems. In that case, you can continue giving her peanut butter.
  • You can test by putting a little in the middle of her bottom lip. If she is allergic, there will be a reaction immediately.
  • Start by giving a very small amount of peanut butter to your little one even if she has had no allergic reaction the first time.
    A baby's face full of peanut butter

Precautions Before Giving Peanut Butter to Your Young Child

Peanut butter is highly allergenic in nature. Certain precautions should be taken while or before giving peanut butter to the babies for the first time.

  • Introducing your baby to semi-solids or solid foods like rice, fruits, and vegetables which have a low allergy risk is important before giving high allergenic foods like peanut and eggs. Remember to wait for 3-4 days or even for a week before introducing a new food. This will give enough time to watch out for any signs of allergy. If in case, you see any signs of allergic reaction, stop giving that food immediately.
  • It is important to introduce peanut butter or anything made of peanut at home rather than at a restaurant or a day-care centre. However, there are some mothers who do so at the doctor’s chamber.
  • You should be cautious while giving peanut butter because the texture being thick, a baby could choke it.
  • Peanut butter should be given gradually to a baby, introduce it in very small quantities.
  • Check with an allergist before introducing peanut butter to your baby.

Peanut Butter Allergy

Peanut butter allergy is a severe allergic reaction. It is caused when the antibodies which help in fighting unfamiliar proteins in the peanut prompts histamine release.

The reaction causes certain symptoms like rash, itchy skin, or hives. The skin becomes red and bumpy at times mostly in the face and around the mouth and at times at other places in the body. The reaction can be caused either by consuming peanut butter or simply by coming in contact with peanut butter.

In severe cases of peanut butter allergy, babies may experience a life-threatening respiratory problem called Anaphylaxis. In a condition like this, the allergic reaction causes the throat to swell up constricting the breathing passage meanwhile making it difficult to breathe. It could even trigger low blood pressure, fast pulse rate and as a result, the baby may go into a shock.

Symptoms of Peanut Allergy in Babies

Allergy symptoms vary from mild to severe. In case you suspect your little one with peanut allergy, consult an allergist right away. Listed below are the symptoms:

  • The skin may appear to be itchy with small spots or large welts.
  • The area around the mouth or the throat may be itchy or have a tingling sensation.
  • In some cases, the baby may experience itching anywhere in the body where the peanut has come in contact with the skin.
  • Sneezing and wheezing may occur when the dust from peanuts or the shells are inhaled.
  • A baby may experience nausea, loose motion, stomach cramps, and even lightheadedness.
  • The nose may be blocked or become very runny as a result of which the baby may experience breathlessness.
  • A rare condition called anaphylaxis may trigger respiratory problems and the body may go into a shock.

Peanut Butter Recipes for Infants

Peanut butter recipes are loaded with nutrients, dietary fibre, proteins, and vitamins. These foods containing peanut butter enhance the development of bones and also cure constipation in kids. Listed below are two such peanut butter recipes.

1. Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

It is a creamy and delicious milkshake which is prepared with bananas, peanut butter, and milk. It is very easy to make and quite filling.

Peanut butter banana smoothie

Ingredients

  • Bananas (medium) – 2
  • Milk – 2 cups
  • Peanut Butter – 2 tbsp

How to Prepare

  • Peel the bananas and slice them into pieces.
  • Put the pieces in the blender along with the milk and peanut butter.
  • Blend everything together.
  • Pour it out into glasses and serve.

2. Peanut Butter Kulfi

It is a delicious mix of the traditional Indian Kulfi with peanut butter.

Ingredients

  • Milk – 1 litre
  • Sugar – 2 tbsp
  • Peanut butter – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – pinch

How to Prepare

  • Take a pan and boil the milk.
  • Add sugar and let it boil till the milk is reduced to half in quantity.
  • Once the milk reduces to half, add peanut butter and salt.
  • Whisk it well.
  • Pour the mixture into Kulfi moulds.
  • Deep freeze for 5-6 hours.

Peanut butter is a favourite among many, chiefly for its taste and rich, creamy texture. However, peanut being a common allergen, it would be best not to give it your little one in case she is allergic to peanuts. After all, nothing should be more important other than your little one’s well-being.

Also Read: How to Recognize and Treat Egg Allergy in Baby