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Important changes with the introduction of peanuts to babies

Update as of January 27, 2017:

New survey: Tell us what you think about the new guidelines on the introduction of peanuts to babies

early-introAs you know, new guidelines for the introduction of peanut to babies were released at the beginning of January by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). These guidelines are a positive step forward in preventing the development of peanut allergy. See below for our original post and details about the guidelines.

We want to thank everyone for their comments and for sharing their experiences about this topic. We really appreciate the feedback.

Since then, we’ve had a chance to speak with several allergists on the new guidelines, and we will be working with them to develop answers to the most common questions. To help us compile the list of questions, we want your feedback through a short survey. Based on these common questions/concerns, we’ll be developing a question/answer sheet and a webinar, which will be hosted by a Canadian allergist.

Please take a few minutes to complete this short survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NewGuidelines

The survey closes on February 21, 2017.  Your responses will be anonymous and only aggregate information will be shared with the allergists.


Original post:

The food allergy community received some excellent news with the release of guidelines for the introduction of peanut to babies. The Addendum Guidelines for the Prevention of Peanut Allergy in the U.S. (a report from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)) is a very positive step forward in preventing the development of peanut allergy.

The guidelines represent a dramatic shift from previous advice to parents and caregivers regarding the introduction of peanut in a child’s diet. It is critical that health providers including allergists, pediatricians, and general practitioners share consistent information, based on the recommendations, so that parents can make an informed decision.

Here are some highlights:

  • The recommendations are based on the groundbreaking LEAP study which found that early introduction of peanuts to babies (4-11 months) identified as high risk for peanut allergy (based on an existing egg allergy and/or severe eczema), helped to prevent the development of peanut allergy.
  • The guidelines provide specific advice for when to introduce peanut-containing foods to babies and how. They also include advice about introducing solids first, avoiding foods that can be choking hazards (e.g. whole peanuts), and specific instructions for babies considered to be “high risk”. There are three guidelines for when to introduce peanut-containing food –
    • Guideline 1: As early as 4-6 months for those at high risk (severe eczema and/or egg allergy). Evaluation with testing is strongly recommended to determine if peanut should be introduced and the preferred method. Parents are advised to consult with their physician.
    • Guideline 2: Around 6 months for those with mild to moderate eczema.
    • Guideline 3: When age-appropriate, introduce freely in diet with other solid foods in accordance with family preferences and cultural practices.
  • You can download the guidelines and summaries for parents/caregivers and clinicians on the NIAID website.

We discussed these points in media interviews on January 5th/6th, as did Canadian allergist Dr. Edmond Chan, a member of the NIAID expert panel. Click here for more on the Global TV national news story. You can also read the Allergic Living article which provides a great overview of the guidelines.

As always, we advise parents to speak with their physician if they have any concerns.

We will be hosting a webinar on this topic soon. In the interim, please let us know what you think about these new guidelines – write to us at info@foodallergycanada.ca with your feedback!