by Dr. Isabel Lau FAAP, MD

Food allergies develop when a person consumes or comes in contact with an allergen, and the immune system makes an antibody call immunoglobulin E, or IgE.

This antibody circulates through the blood and attaches to certain cells known as mast cells and basophiles.

Allergic reactions can take many forms, including:

  • hives
  • lip and eye swelling
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • cough difficulty breathing
  • increase heart rate
  • loss of consciousness

The initial exposure to the certain foods does not cause allergic reactions. Some people may have few IgE against a certain food without developing allergies and others may develop minimal symptoms.

In the last year, research studies have demonstrated that exposure of peanuts to infants without known of risk for food allergy can result in the prevention of peanut allergy.

Infants with severe Eczema, Asthma or strong family history of peanut allergy should have skin testing before being introduced to foods containing peanuts.

Make sure you that your child's pediatrician is aware of your infant risk factors.

Introducing your child to foods containing peanuts

Once you decide to introduce peanut containing food to your infant is important to:

  • Feed your infant when he or she is healthy. Do not give them the food containing peanuts on the same day they receive immunizations or if they have a cold, diarrhea or vomiting, or other illness.
  • Give the first feeding of peanut at home or at the parking lot of the ER like some of my patient families have done, not at daycare or restaurant.
  • Make sure that you will be able to spend at least 2 hours with your infant, since allergic reactions can occur in minutes to couple hours.
  • Prepare the full portion of peanut-containing food from the suggested recipes (below). Then:
    1. Offer your infant a small part of peanut serving on the tip of a spoon
    2. Wait 10 minutes.
    3. If no allergic reaction, you can continue feeding the remainder of the peanut-containing food at the infant’s usual eating speed.

Allergy symptoms

Mild allergic symptoms can include a new rash or a few hives around the child's mouth.

More severe symptoms can include one or more of the following:

  • lip swelling
  • vomiting
  • spread hives over the body
  • face or tongue swelling
  • difficulty breathing
  • wheeze
  • repetitive cough
  • changes of skin color or sudden lethargy.

If you have questions about food allergies, schedule an appointment today at MountainStarPediatrics.com or by calling (801) 479-0174.

If you have concern about infant’s response to peanut seek immediate medical attention or call 911.

Recipies to introduce your child to peanuts

Note: These recipes should be used only for children with a low risk of peanut allergies.

Option 1: Bamba (Osem Israel)

21 pieces (approx. 2g of peanut protein)

  • For infants less than 7 months of age, soften the Bamba with 4 to 6 tsp. of water.
  • For older infants who can manage dissolvable textures, unmodified Bamba can be fed. If dissolvable textures are not yet part of the infant's diet, softened Bamba should be provided.

Option 2: Thinned Smooth Peanut Butter

2 tsp. (9-10g of peanut butter; approximately 2g of peanut protein)

  • Measure 2 tsp. of peanut butter and slowly add 2 to 3 tsp. of hot water.
  • Stir until peanut butter is dissolved, thinned, and well blended.
  • Let cool.
  • Increase water amount if necessary (or add previously
  • tolerated infant cereal) to achieve consistency comfortable for the infant

Option 3: Smooth Peanut Butter Puree

2 tsp. (9-10g of peanut butter; approximately 2g of peanut protein)

  • Measure 2 tsp. of peanut butter.
  • Add 2 to 3 tbsp of pureed tolerated fruit or vegetables to peanut butter. You can increase or reduce volume of puree to achieve desired consistency.

Option 4: Peanut Flour and Peanut Butter Powder

2 tsp. (4g of peanut flour or 4g of peanut butter powder; approx. 2g of peanut protein)

Note: Peanut flour and peanut butter powder are 2 distinct products that can be interchanged because they have a very similar peanut protein content.

  • Measure 2 tsp. of peanut flour or peanut butter powder.
  • Add approximately 2 tbsp (6-7 tsp) of pureed tolerated fruit or vegetables to flour or powder.

You can increase or reduce volume of puree to achieve desired consistency.