life of
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Introducing Peanuts and Tree Nuts

Collaborative post with Happy Family Organics

Food allergy affects approximately 2% to 10% of the population. As food allergies become more common in North America, many families worry about when and if they should introduce common food allergens to their baby. The American and Canadian Pediatric Associations recommend that common allergenic foods such as peanuts and tree nuts be introduced as early 4-6 months of age. We introduced peanuts and tree nuts to both of our kids by 5 months of age. For our daughter Madi, we introduced peanuts by mixing peanut butter in water and spoon feeding her – it was a messy and sticky process! Fortunately, Happy Baby Organics has recently created a convenient way to introduce peanuts and tree nuts into your child’s diet with the new Happy Baby Organics Nutty Blends. These pouches were developed with pediatric allergists and made with familiar fruits. Madi and George like the four flavours available, Banana and Peanut Butter, Apples and Walnut Butter, Banana and Almond Butter and Pears and Cashew Butter. George’s favourite is Bananas and Peanuts! Head over to the link in my bio to learn more about Happy Baby Nutty Blends.

A question that I am frequently asked is in what situations you should see an allergist, a doctor specializing in allergies?

Infants and children should see an allergist in the following scenarios:

  • History of immediate IgE mediated symptoms (rash, swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, low blood pressure) after food ingestion. 
  • History of gastrointestinal symptoms (projectile vomiting, severe diarrhea, with or without paleness, lethargy)
  • Infants with chronic diarrhea, failure to thrive, or weight loss should be referred to an allergist in addition to gastroenterology and general pediatrics. These patients may have a non-IgE mediated food allergy such as food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) or allergic protocolitis. 

Who is at high risk for peanut allergies?

Infants with a personal history of egg allergy, moderate-severe atopic dermatitis or both should be introduced to allergenic foods at 6 months, but not before 4 months. American guidelines recommend that these infants should undergo skin prick or specific IgE testing for peanut allergy prior to introduction of peanuts. In Canada, this is assessed on an individual basis depending on the patient’s atopic comorbidities and parental anxiety.

Thank you Happy Family Organics for having me talk about food allergies. Make sure to discuss with your child’s doctor before introducing allergens!

This post was authored by Stephanie Liu, MD, MSc, CCFP, BHSc.

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