image001The question of when can babies eat peanut butter can start serious debates! Some experts feel that young children should never be given peanut butter, while others are sure that they should be introduced to the food at an early age. What is known for certain is that peanuts are a common allergen, and many children do have a peanut allergy. But does this mean that you must wait before you give your baby peanut butter? Here’s more to answer the question: When can babies have peanut butter?

When Can Babies Eat Peanut Butter?

When your baby can have peanut butter depends on a wide variety of factors. What might be good for one child might not be suitable for another. Here are a few things to consider before you reach for the jar:

1. Do You Have Peanut Allergies in the Family?

Do you have a peanut allergy? How about the other parent? What about your other children? If anyone in your family has a peanut allergy, even a very mild one, it might be best to wait before you give peanut butter to your child. A child who comes from a family where there is a peanut allergy will need to have allergy testing done before you offer up a bit of peanut butter for them to eat. This can help you avoid the scary allergic reaction, the trip to the hospital, and other things that could be very frightening for everyone in the household, especially the child!

2. What If There Are No Allergies?

If there are no peanut allergies in the family, it’s probably okay to let your baby have peanut butter when they are old enough. But how old is old enough? Experts point out that peanut butter sticks to your mouth, and that makes it a choking hazard. Some say that one year is late enough, but others prefer that you wait for eighteen months or more before introducing peanut butter into the diet. When you do offer it, make sure that it is spread in a very thin layer on crackers or soft bread so that it is easy to chew and less likely to “stick” in the mouth.

3. Use Your Best Judgment

Still not sure of what to do? Then err on the side of caution and wait until you feel the time is right to try peanut butter. Once a child is over the age of eighteen months, introduce peanut butter when you feel they are old enough to handle the texture and stickiness in their mouth. However, keep in mind that if you have had an allergic reaction or another member of your family has, any bit of peanut butter might cause a serious problem for your child. If this is the case, go for allergy testing before you attempt to give peanut butter or any products containing peanut butter to your child.

How Can You Introduce Peanut Butter to Babies?

When you are sure it’s time to introduce peanut butter to your child, there are a few tips that can make the transition easier for both of you. These tips work for many different foods, not just peanut butter.



Keep a food diary

When you introduce a new food, make notes of how much you gave your child, and how you served it (for instance, was the peanut butter on a cracker?). Write down the date, and then write down anything that you notice afterward, such as a rash, stomach upset, or the like. This will help you figure out which foods your child can tolerate.

Give your babies peanut butter at home

The first time you give your child a new food, make sure it is in the comfort of your own home. Make sure to offer it in the morning so you have the entire day to monitor your baby and make sure there is no adverse reaction. Just to be safe, keep an oral histamine in your home, such as Benadryl, that can be given if your child does show symptoms of an allergy.

Wait for three days

When introducing new foods, keep in mind that you need to be able to know exactly which food causes any problems. That’s why you should wait for three days before introducing any other new food. This gives you plenty of time to gauge your child’s reactions.

Take the food diary to a pediatrician

If you see anything troubling in the food diary, take it to a pediatrician at the next visit. If your baby has anything that looks like an allergy, your doctor will likely want to perform allergy testing, just to make sure that certain foods will be fine for your baby. Remember, it’s always best to catch an allergic reaction before it happens, rather than react to it after the fact!

Precautions to Take When Introducing Peanut Butter to Babies

When you do introduce peanut butter, there are certain things that you might want to keep in mind. These will help ensure that your baby stays healthy and has a great experience with the new food.



Introduce a little at a time

If your child is going to be allergic to peanut butter, it is better to give the smallest amount possible at the start, so you can catch the problem before it becomes a very big issue. Start with only a small amount of peanut butter, perhaps offering it from the tip of your finger. Watch closely for any reactions. Remember that peanut butter is responsible for 90 percent of all food allergies, so taking these precautions is absolutely necessary.

Be observant

Once you know your child can tolerate a little bit, increase the amount at the next feeding. Watch what happens. If there is no issue, you can confidently offer the food more often. However, always be on the lookout, because sometimes a child can develop a food allergy to something they have eaten before with no problems. This just means that you should be aware of what your child is eating at all times, and how they react to it.

Call 911 if necessary

Some allergic reactions are very mild and can be handled with a dose of Benadryl, but some are severe and require immediate help. If your baby is having trouble breathing, starts severe vomiting, has diarrhea or is having swelling of the lips or face, call 911.

This video is a valuable learning tool about the symptoms of peanut allergies: