I would advise my relative, who is terrified that her newborn will develop food allergies. I would provide an introduction of allergenic foods such as peanuts to her baby, starting at 4-6 months as recommended by the AAP (Mark-Cogan 89). I would commend her to start presenting peanuts to her baby in the first years regardless of any food allergy risk the baby may have. I would also advise her that food allergies cannot be prevented by breastfeeding alone, although it can help curb eczema.
Evidence proves that integrating safe forms of peanuts for infants can reduce the chances of peanut allergy. The introduction of peanuts has decreased the potential of peanut allergy risk by 81% in a study of 600 infants with a high likelihood of this allergy (Mark-Cogan 89). Therefore, they are assigned the consumption of peanut protein as early as four months. Breastfeeding is not reliable on the duration and role it plays in delaying the onset of allergies. However, it decreases the chance of the infant getting eczema if the baby is being breastfed in the first three to four months.
Infants with severe eczema are at high risk of developing a peanut allergy reaction, therefore they should have peanuts in their daily diet for prevention purposes. Infants with moderate or mild eczema should be introduced to a peanut diet at around six months (Lindvik et al. 786). Infants with a low risk of developing peanut allergies, like babies with no food allergy or no eczema, can be introduced to a peanut diet depending on their cultural practices or family preference, mainly after six months. It could act as a prophylactic nutritional measure that helps avoid future allergic reactions.
Lindvik, Helene, et al. “Conjunctival Provocation Test in the Diagnosis of Peanut Allergy in Children.” Clinical & Experimental Allergy, vol. 47, no. 6, 2017, pp. 785-794.
Mark-Cogan, Katie. The AAP’s New Guidelines for Childhood Food Allergies: What Families Need to Know. Ready, Set, Food! 2019, Web.