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Feeding peanuts to your child early can reduce risk of allergy: expert

The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) are saying feeding peanut-based foods to your child at an early can reduce the chances of developing a peanut allergy.

The new guidelines, originating in the United States, suggest new parents should start feeding the product between four and six months of age.

Dr. Edmond Chan is the Director of the Allergy Clinic at the BC Children’s Hospital and an Associate Professor in the UBC Department of Pediatrics; he was also the only Canadian representative on an international panel of experts in charge of this study.

“The first time they try the peanut-containing food can be done at home; these guidelines have been endorsed by our Canadian Society of Allergy.”

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Dr. Chan also says this shouldn’t be a big concern for parents who may think otherwise.

“If you hesitate until 12 months of age, it’s generally considered to be too late. If you don’t hesitate and you try it around six months of age, the vast majority of infants will not have already developed peanut allergy and will be fine the first time they eat it.”

He adds there would be no need to see a family physician for a well-body test so long as this guideline is followed regularly.

“If the food isn’t given often enough, then it isn’t giving the opportunity for the immune system to be educated in that fashion, and you may as well not do it because it’s not going to be helpful.”

He recommends mixing peanuts into your infant’s puréed food or dissolve them in water so he or she can get used to the taste.

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