Parenting is confusing: News on peanut allergies

Peanut butter is a semi-solid and so can hold ...

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I swear that I have never been as confused as I have been since I became a parent. There is so much advice out there, and a lot of it directly contradicts each other. Now I know why you’re told over and over to trust your instincts — it’s the only thing you can trust!

Today there is news regarding the dreaded peanut allergies that have been on the rise and can pose a deadly danger for children. Just at my last doctor’s visit, I was told to wait until my son was 3 or even 5 years old before introducing peanuts. (My doctor also said that if she could give each patient a teaspoon of water from the Ganges, that would probably prevent a lot of allergies; apparently, babies in developing world settings have much fewer allergies than babies in more sanitized Western homes.)

Now it seems that the American Academy of Pediatricians is recommending introducing peanuts now at 4-6 months old! Since peanuts themselves pose a choking hazard, I guess they mean in peanut butter or incorporated into other foods.

Of course, I will still follow my doctor’s advice, but I ate a lot of peanuts and peanut butter while pregnant and nursing. Maybe that will give him some protection.

It seems that introducing peanuts earlier actually reduces the risk of allergy. This actually makes sense to me. After all, my baby is less likely to be allergic to dogs because he is crawling through a scrum of dog hair. Why wouldn’t it work the same way with food allergies?

Which just begs the question, what other allergenic foods might be okay earlier? What about egg whites? Wheat? Milk? Maybe obsessing over every little thing baby eats has been making these problems worse, not better.

What do you think?

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3 thoughts on “Parenting is confusing: News on peanut allergies

  1. Is baby food a rip-off? « Simply Cooking 21 November 2008 at 9:59 am

    […] food for him. But then I started reading up on it, and I got confused. Take peanuts, for instance: Are you supposed to wait until he’s 5 years old to introduce them in order to prevent allergie…? Would I be able to make food myself that wouldn’t be a choking hazard? What about this […]

  2. Whitney 28 December 2012 at 10:29 am

    I’m assuming since this was written in 2008 that you’ve since figured out if you have to deal with peanut allergies! For what it’s worth, I have 3 kids, and only 1 with the peanut allergy. He also has a lot of other environmental allergies inherited from my paternal side of the family & myself. Our allergist said the degree of reaction has to do with every person’s immune system, and how it reacts to the allergen. So, in theory, I could be allergic to peanuts too, but my immune system doesn’t react the same way his does, make sense? There may be some credence to the whole “our society is overly clean” theory, but I think it also has to do with “our society is more AWARE”. Allergies in general are a tricky thing, and I do hope you don’t have to cook around any in your future! 🙂

  3. Shannon 28 December 2012 at 10:32 am

    It seems like we have gotten lucky on the allergy front, but there has been emerging evidence that our very clean society may have contributed to an increase in allergies as well as auto-immune diseases. There are some fascinating studies going on, but the evidence is still emerging.

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