Parents to newborn babies have a lot to keep track of.
After all, keeping a tiny person happy and healthy is a big task, especially when that person can’t talk yet!
What’s more, doctor recommendations are always changing — this piece of common-sense advice to hang on to baby teeth only became widespread fairly recently.
There are a million guidelines to follow when it comes to raising a kid, and this is particularly true where food is concerned: soft foods at four months, solids at eight months, and cow’s milk at one year.
That’s why some parents might be stunned to learn that doctors are now recommending peanuts — a highly allergenic food — at just four months.
For years, parents have held off on introducing peanuts and other foods that commonly provoke allergies, in an attempt to keep kids with possible problems safer.
However, new research has led pediatricians to believe that avoiding peanuts may have the opposite effect.
Scroll through below to learn more.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Most parents who raised their children 10 or more years ago probably remember one key piece of advice: no peanuts until your child turns 3 years old.
This was a common piece of wisdom touted by most pediatricians, and it seemed reasonable enough.
After all, since peanuts are one of the most common food allergens, wouldn’t it be better to wait until the kiddo is older and bigger to find out if they have the allergy?
As it turns out, this is not the case.
It’s not hard to understand the logic here.
Peanut allergies are not only fairly common (about 1 to 2 percent of the U.S. population has them), they can also provoke scary physical reactions.
Peanuts are known for causing extreme anaphylactic shock in some people, which can force the eyes and throat to swell shut, and can even lead to death.
Even more jarring, statistics show that rates of peanut allergies have been climbing quickly in recent years, alongside sensitivities to other highly allergenic foods such as tree nuts and fish.
Some analysts believe that rates of childhood food allergies have risen almost 50 percent between 1997 and 2005, which is a shocking leap.
As it turns out, there may be a link between the uptick in peanut allergies and the rule forbidding peanuts until age 3.
Allergies work a little bit like vaccinations against disease.
We give babies a tiny bit of rubella, mumps, or measles at an early age to help their immune system learn to fight them.
Giving kids small portions of peanuts at an early age has a similar effect, as it teaches the body how to process the food without having an allergic reaction.
After all, an allergy is really just a huge immune-system overreaction.
There’s nothing inherently dangerous about peanuts or shellfish to a child with an allergy; the danger comes from the body mistaking the chemicals in the food for a poison or a disease.
According to the experts at the National Institutes of Health, if you teach the body as early as possible (around 4 months old) how to process peanuts in small doses, it should dramatically lower the overall incidence of peanut allergies.
In other words, if you happen to walk in on your tot joyfully slathering himself in giant quantities of Skippy, don’t panic!
If you’re surprised by the turnaround on giving peanuts to kiddos, you can learn more at the American Academy of Pediatrics.
If it’s something you’d like to try in your own family, please be sure to check in with your pediatrician first to assess the risk for your own kids, since everyone’s body is different!
And don’t forget to SHARE this new information with every parent and grandparent you know!