Guide to Nut Allergies and Nut Free Weaning
5 min read
When starting the weaning journey, you’ll need to slowly introduce allergens into your baby’s diet. One allergen that parents often have concerns about is peanuts and other tree nuts.
With advice from our nutritionist, Catherine Lippe, we have put together a guide to introducing nuts during the weaning process and ways to proceed with nut free weaning if your little one does develop a nut allergy.
Should You Introduce Nuts to Baby's Diet?
Allergen foods should not be introduced to your baby before 6 months. After 6 months, when your little one has been introduced to solid foods, you can slowly introduce foods that can trigger allergic reactions, such as peanuts. These should be introduced one at a time and in very small amounts so that you can tell if a reaction occurs and pinpoint it to that ingredient.
The NHS recommends introducing allergens like peanuts between 6-12 months of age, as evidence has shown that delaying the introduction of peanuts may actually increase the risk of developing an allergy.
Once nuts have been introduced to your baby’s diet, providing they do not cause an allergic reaction, you should keep offering these foods to your little one within their usual diet to minimise the risk of developing an allergy.
Nut Allergies in Babies
Allergies to nuts tend to be long-term allergies, and unlike an allergy to milk or egg, your little one may not grow out of it. It is important to speak to your GP if you suspect your little one might be allergic to any food. They will be able to arrange for specific allergy testing and advice from an allergy specialist.
Nut allergies include both peanut and tree nut allergies. If your little one is allergic to peanuts, they may be more at risk of an allergy to tree nuts as well. This is because the proteins are similar, and the body may react in the same way to both peanuts and tree nuts.
Having an allergy to one tree nut does not necessarily mean your little one will be allergic to all tree nuts; however, it is common to be allergic to more than one tree nut.
Types of Tree Nut
- Brazil nuts
Foods to Avoid For Nut Free Weaning
If your little one has a diagnosed nut allergy, it is important to avoid all foods containing that nut. Nuts are often used in a variety of different foods such as:
- Nut butter, such as peanut, cashew or almond butter.
- Nut milk, such as almond or hazelnut milk.
- Nut oils, such as peanut oil, walnut oil, and groundnut oil.
- Breakfast cereals, such as muesli and granola.
- Biscuits, pastries, cakes, brownies, flapjacks, cereal bars. These should be avoided for all babies under 12 months due to sugar content, but children with nut allergies should avoid these items due to the possibility of nut-based ingredients.
- Thai, Asian, Chinese, Indian and Vietnamese cooking.
It is important to check the ingredient lists of all foods and avoid anything that contains the nut your little one is allergic to.
Some products include a precautionary ‘may contain’ label. These ‘may contain’ warnings are used when nuts are not included in the product itself, but there could be a risk of cross-contamination in the factory where the food is made.
For nut allergies, it is safest to avoid products with a ‘may contain’ label; however, your health care professional will be able to give you expert, bespoke support in managing the allergy.
Asides from checking food labels and avoiding the nuts your little one is allergic to, there is no need to do anything differently when weaning. Your little one can enjoy a balanced and varied weaning diet with progressing variety and textures just as any other baby can.
Here at Babease, we offer a wide range of nut-free baby food pouches and finger foods to support your weaning journey.