Feeding babies peanut-based food could prevent lifelong allergies, says study

It might sound silly but here it is - to prevent our baby developing peanut allergies, feed them peanuts.

This is according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) who have released this information in a clinical report, which shows that early exposure to common allergens can prevent the development of allergies during childhood.

Dr. Scott Sicherer, an allergist at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and co-author of the report said, ''There is no reason to delay giving your baby foods that are thought of as allergens like peanut products, eggs, or fish.''

He continued, ''These foods can be added to the diet early, just like foods that are not common allergens, like rice, fruits, or vegetables.”

There is the issue of infants being unable to communicate with their parents as well as doctors for years advising  parents against any early exposure to potential allergens.

Chris Schulter Bizarro is a Colorado parent of a daughter with a peanut allergy, who said her paediatrician, “advised waiting until she could talk to have her try them, so she could say something if she experienced a problem.”

She added, ''My sister-in-law was watching her and didn’t know she’d never had peanut butter. One bite and she spit it out, broke out in hives, and started crying. She was 18 months old. I’m not sure that earlier exposure would have made a difference.”

It certainly isn't risk-free - as Dr. David Stukus, an associate professor of pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio agrees with. 

He did say though that 98 percent of people never develop peanut allergies, and the risk of early exposure pales in comparison to that of developing a lifelong allergy to peanuts.

He said, ''Parents come to me because they fed their kid something and they developed a rash, not because they’re dying. So there’s time to figure this out.''

A babies immune system is still developing antibodies that could protect them from an allergic reaction later on.

Infants are recommended by experts to be given ground peanuts or special formulas including peanuts, not whole nuts, as they can be a choking hazard.

The AAP said that foods like that can be introduced around six months of age, once other solid foods are tolerated. 

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