Saturday, February 21, 2009

Alisha would like these notes to be attributed to her blog, instead of seeming random.

For years the Powers That Be have been telling me that I can't feed my child nuts. They swore that allowing my son pb and j would be dangerous, even potentially fatal. I never understood why peanuts were suddenly so scary (weren't we raised on Nutter Butters?) but I figured it had something to do with fishy farming practices and let it go. I know several kids who are severely allergic and am well-versed on keeping our kid away from cross contaminants. Combine that with the latest salmonella b.s. and I was content to remain pb free.

But now they're telling me they're wrong.

According to the latest research, exposing children to nuts early (even before age 1) may actually reduce their risk for allergies. It's the same theory behind letting your kids play in the dirt and touch dogs: building their immune system is vital. This makes total sense. Total sense!

In other words, WTF?

So parents, what do you think: give 'em early or hold off until pre-school? Do you limit all nuts or just peanuts? (I assume we're all steering clear of the latter these days.) And can I give my boy almond or sesame seed butter yet? What about lotions with almond oil? Will the madness ever end?


Tor said...

If there are no known allergies in your family, then I don't think you have to steer clear of anything.
If there is something to be maybe sus about then exercise caution when introducing (ie don't give too much and don't give anything else new that day, and maybe make sure you are not 3hrs from a hospital or something).
If there is good reason to suspect a big (life threatening) allergy then don't give it without medical supervision for the first couple of times.
But if everything is expected to be fine then he can try anything. Peanut butter is ok then too - just not whole peanuts while they are a choking hazard.
And if you are putting it on their skin you may as well put it in their mouth, so use the same level of caution (whichever level is appropriate for your situation) for both. They do react slightly differently, but with kids this age anything on their skin ends up on their mouths somehow anyway.

We gave peanut butter before 1yr cos if he would eat it it could help him put on weight (he's pretty skinny). He didn't like the taste LOL. I didn't think to try other nut butters (hating peanut butter myself, I didn't even know there was others), I will look for that next shopping. We exercised mild caution for shellfish, with family history there, so waited til 1yr for that, but he was fine, and loves prawns so eats them whenever we do now.

Don't make yourself nuts over it. Experts never agree anyway, just do a bit of research to see what is most relevant to you.

Fraulicious said...

This is a tough one for me. My husband's side of the family has most common food allergies covered. So I stopped eating nuts of any kind (except some that barely cause allergies, pine nuts and coconuts) during pregnancy and nursing. It was HARD! My favorite flavored coffee is hazelnut ... Anyway, needless to say that we have been keeping our little one away from nuts. Even though the "expose them early" theory makes much more sense to me. She did get into some trail mix that had nuts in it over the holidays. No reaction. I guess that's good. I'm at the point that I just need to get my courage together and give her some nuts to get it over and done with. Sigh. Sometimes I do wish I lived in the dark ages and we didn't have all this conflicting information. But then again, the average life expectancy hovered around 30 then. Yikes. No answers, just sympathy about the decisions to be made here.

Ali said...

I hear you both. Hubby's side has hardcore nut allergies so he's tense about introducing anything. I'm a little more "let's just get it over with". Waiting until age 3 - standard practice in the states - seems excessive and counterintuitive but then again, it's scary to risk it.


Bern said...

I waited til three for pb & j, just because my husband eats them every day, and I didn't want to risk and allergy like that in the house. I didn't worry about the other nuts. The other issue with pb is the stick-in-the mouth issue, which I thought could be a choking hazard until babies were older. I think its one of those "do what works for you" situations. Bummer nothing is more cut and dry.

Colleen said...

Whoops, I didn't know we were supposed to wait until age 3! I let my kids have nuts after they turned 1. (I did have a major hissy-fit when I left my two-month-old with someone for an hour and came home to find her sucking on a pacifier covered with PEANUT BUTTER--"because she didn't like it just plain, so I put some peanut butter on it". So we inadvertently introduced it way early with our oldest.

We are still eating PB, mainly b/c I have a PB & J at least three times a week, and we're still alive!

That said, I have a daughter with lactose intolerance, and if I could have prevented that by not drinking milk while pregnant/nursing, I sure wish I would have, b/c it makes life hard for her. A nut allergy would be 100X worse than that. So I would probably hold off a while longer just to be on the safe side, especially with your hubby's allergies.

Tor said...

OK i think the whole "wait til 3" in the US is a little over the top. Here it was 1 year and I think has now been abolished altogether. But then again I think PB&J sounds vile. I do however give my son Vegemite virtually every day, which you probably think is equally disgusting LOL.
If there is a big family history then can't you discuss it with your pediatrician and ask if the first couple of times should be in their office just in case? I have heard of other Americans doing this.

Dan G said...

Why don't you have the boy eat a peanut right outside the ER?

Missy said...

Dan your comment made me laugh so hard I am CRYING.

I can't weigh in with my opinion after that comment.