In 2017, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) started recommending early introduction of peanut for babies starting at 4-6 months of age, especially those with eczema. These new recommendations come as a result of recent landmark clinical trials, particularly the LEAP trial.
Medical societies around the world are now issuing new recommendations for infants with eczema. Just recently, the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology issued a recommendation that babies with eczema be introduced to allergenic foods such as egg and peanut as early as 4 months of age.
While research shows that babies with eczema are at highest risk of developing food allergies, fortunately, early and sustained exposure to allergenic foods has been shown to significantly decrease this risk. In fact, new guidelines from the NIH on baby food allergy prevention are specifically focused on infants with eczema as this risk group needs food allergy prevention, and in turn, early allergen introduction the most. Depending on the severity of your child’s eczema, parents should follow one of the following guidelines:
- Babies with mild to moderate eczema: Should be introduced to allergenic foods within their first year of life.
- Babies with severe eczema: Should be introduced to allergenic foods starting between 4 and 6 months of age. Parents of babies with severe eczema should consult their pediatrician before introducing peanuts or other allergens, to determine if allergy testing is required. Your pediatrician may recommend allergy testing prior to introducing any allergens.