Lucy is 6 months old now and was recently introduced to peanut butter. I won’t lie, as someone with life-threatening peanut and tree nut allergies, I was a ball of anxiety when we first did this. Thankfully, everything has gone well thus far, so I wanted to share our experience with this, especially if you, too, have nut allergies, are a parent, and are introducing baby to peanut butter.
Many of you have followed along in my journey of living with food allergies. If you’re new, the short of it is that I was diagnosed with serious food allergies in adulthood. I was hospitalized many times due to allergic reactions, including an overnight stay in the ICU. Since then, I have re-taught myself how to cook using nut-free ingredients.
As a new mom, well, I don’t know what I’m doing. With anything. So, you can imagine how lost I was when it came to feeding my daughter food after 6 months of exclusively breastfeeding. But, it was time to start solid foods and I wanted a well-constructed plan of how this process was going to go. (I also wrote a separate post about how we introduced solid foods to Lucy.)
Before I begin, the disclaimer. I am not, in any way, a medical professional and this is not medical advice. At all. Allergies are SERIOUS and you need to talk to your allergist, your doctor, your child’s doctor, etc. about introducing allergenic foods like peanut butter. I am simply just someone trying to navigate parenthood and sharing what that looks like for our family.
Discussing a plan with doctors
Around the time that Lucy was 4 months old, I spoke with her pediatrician and explained my allergies to her. I then asked what the best course of action would be to introduce peanut butter safely. Her ped reached out to my allergist and they worked together to come up with a plan, which essentially amounted to this:
Introduce peanut butter early on when introducing puréed solid foods. Add a small amount every couple of days to her puréed food.
Her ped also provided me with 2 links (linked below) to learn more about starting solids. Both articles include information about introducing allergenic foods. I would highly suggest reading those.
I also found this article on my own and it was really helpful:
Again, this is what Lucy’s ped and my allergist recommended. Your baby, however, may not be advised to introduce peanut butter at this age. For example, if your baby has exhibited symptoms or has been diagnosed with an egg allergy, they may have a higher likelihood of having a peanut allergy. Additionally, if your baby has has eczema, they may also be more likely to have a peanut allergy. Read more about the group your child may fall into from the AAP. Be sure to talk to your child’s doctor if you have ANY concern about introducing them to peanut butter.
Incorporating peanut butter into baby food
It was important to me to find a brand of peanut butter that did not contain added sugar. If you’ve never looked before, most brands have 2+ ingredients in their peanut butter (typically ingredients like peanuts, some sort of oil, and sugar). Since we are not introducing Lucy to added sugar yet, I definitely didn’t want to use peanut butter that had any in it.
Before I was allergic to peanut butter, we always used to buy Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter, so that’s what we stuck with here. The only ingredient is peanuts.
Since peanut butter is thicker, especially when chilled in the refrigerator, we mixed it into her puréed food, which we purchase from My Serenity Kids.
Our personal plan of introducing baby to peanut butter
Once we felt confident that we knew exactly what we our plan was, this is what we did:
- A little more than 2 hours before her bedtime, I breastfed Lucy. I purposely breastfed her before she ate the peanut butter because I didn’t want to risk her having any extra peanut butter in her mouth and then getting it on me if she breastfed after eating.
- After she was done breastfeeding, while I stayed in a different room, Ryan mixed together ~1 tsp Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter with some My Serenity Kids puréed food and then he spoon fed her this mixture. She LOVED it.
- After she finished eating, Ryan wiped down her face and hands really well to ensure she didn’t have any residual peanut butter on her skin that could transfer to me.
- We kept a close eye on her for the next 2 hours to ensure she wasn’t having a reaction at all.
Allergic reactions we were told to look for after introducing peanut butter
The reactions we were told to look for included, but were not limited to, runny nose, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, hives, rash, and/or face swelling.
She didn’t experience any issues at all! I cannot even describe my relief about that.
Plan going forward
Going forward, she will be fed about 1 tsp of peanut butter every couple of days. I will be chatting with her pediatrician in the near future to determine exactly how long we need to do this.
If you or someone in your family has a serious food allergy (or any allergy, for that matter), you likely understand why this has been stressful. Living with a food allergy has been really scary for me. I have been hospitalized many times because of allergic reactions and I just really, really, really don’t want Lucy to have to live with allergies like this too.
I hope this information on our experience with introducing baby to peanut butter was helpful! Thanks for following along with our family. And, if you want to read more about my experience as a mom, be sure to take a look at all of my maternity content.