Bamba for Baby!
Parents have faced conflicting advice over the years when it comes to introducing potentially allergenic foods to their baby. The good news is that newer research supports offering common allergens during the first year of life, which include dairy, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish (Sesame will be added to the list as of 2023). While it is possible to have an allergic reaction to a wide variety of foods, the list above accounts for around 90% of food allergies in the U.S.
Babies who are exposed to common allergens in the first year may actually have a reduced incidence of developing a food allergy. For instance, in a large study where peanuts were offered early in life (4 to 11 months of age) the chance of developing a peanut allergy was reduced by as much as 86%! In cultures where peanut products are a common weaning food, the incidence of peanut allergy is vastly reduced compared to countries where peanut protein is avoided in infancy.
Advice for parents:
- Early introduction is considered safe and effective for most babies but discuss with your pediatrician if you have a strong family history of peanut allergy or your infant has moderate to severe eczema.
- Carefully offer allergenic foods between the ages of 6 months to one year. Be sure to avoid foods with a risk of choking, including nuts, peanuts or any food that is small and hard. Peanut and nut butters can be thinned with applesauce or another fruit. Peanut bamba is a good option because it easily dissolves in baby’s mouth.
- Offer one new food at a time. A general guideline is to wait 2 days between the introduction of new foods in order to rule out an allergic reaction.
- After each new food, watch for reactions such as rashes, hives, diarrhea or vomiting. If any of these occur, stop using the new food and consult with your child’s pediatrician. For more severe reactions, such as difficulty breathing or lethargy, immediately call 911.
- Once a food has been well tolerated, continue to offer on a regular basis during the first year (and beyond).
A great resource for parents is Baby’s First: Reduce the Risk from the Food Allergy Network.
My 8 month-old grandson Calvin was recently introduced to peanut bamba with no adverse reaction and from the look on his face, I think they are a win!