Science Says Feeding Babies Peanut Products Could Reduce Allergies


I hope that my mother never, ever reads this because I can already hear her ‘tone’ when she calls me to say she did, “I told you that years ago, I don’t know why we need scientists to tell us things we already knew. Your generation just likes to make things so much more complicated than they have to be, you know.” I love my mother, but I can hear her already. I remember the first time she tried to give our oldest daughter (who turns 7 shortly) some “table” food before she was a year old and we lost our minds. “NO! You can’t! She could develop allergies! STOP!” (In our defense, we calmed down about 200% with baby number two and then even more with the twins). Now researchers and scientists say that giving babies younger than one things like peanut butter could actually reduce their risk of allergies by helping them to develop an immunity to whatever is in the stuff that causes allergic reactions.

My mother, the educator, she said it was the truth. Moms everywhere, and grandparents everywhere, are not impressed by this news. Young parents, however, are a bit skeptical. The pediatrician said no peanut butter before 1, so we never did it. Now they’re saying it’s cool. And our older generations are shaking their heads and discussing (again) that when they were raising us we had our first PB&J at 2 months old when we were walking ourselves to daycare up hill in the snow – both ways, of course.

While our parents might exaggerate a bit (just a little), this new British study proves that children who consume approximately 4 teaspoons of peanut better a week between the ages of 4 and 11 months are 80 percent – EIGHTY PERCENT – less likely to develop allergies to peanuts. I don’t love math, but even I recognize the significance of 80 percent.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


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