Thursday, May 28, 2009

More Parenting Advice Needed

As parents we constantly hear information about what foods we should and should not feed our kids.  There are the noes: honey, nuts, eggs, gluten, fish, etc.  And then there are the yesses: pretty much everything not on the no list.  It's a lot of information to ingest.

Now that Rhett is over a year old, I feel that we have much more latitude in his food.  But the nut thing kills me.  I want to feed him banana NUT bread, banana NUT waffles, carrot cake with NUTS on top, peaNUT butter, baked oatmeal with walNUTS, etc.  (Why?  Mostly because I want to share these things with my son and it kills me to make them without the nuts.)  My pediatrician has told me to wait until he's five to give him nuts.  That's right: five.

But the aversion to feeding our kids nuts at a young age, as well as the large number of kids with allergies to nuts has me thinking.  Are we causing this increase in food allergies by withholding the foods from the kids?  If Chuck and I have no family history of food allergies (which is true), would it be safe to give the baby nuts now, because by waiting to expose him, we've made him a sissy to nuts, in a weird way?

Part of me really wants to just do it.  We already know he's not crazy allergic to the point where just being a room with nut products makes him break out in hives.  But part of me has the mommy guilt that I shall not expose my child to things that might hurt him.

So how long did you wait to give your children nuts (or any other taboo item)?  Do you believe that withholding foods can cause the allergies?  (Note: This is definitely an unscientifically-supported hypothesis developed by yours truly.)  Do you take much of the food advice to heart and keep schedules and time lines as given to you by your pediatrician?


  1. I don't want to hear from all of you what an awful mother I am, but I gave all of my kids eggs and peanut butter (creamy) at age 1. My pedatrician told me to wait until one when it was Evan, I was told age 2 with the twins and age 3 with my youngest. I ignored them for the same reason you mentioned. We have no family history of it. I did however watch them very carefully during the week that followed. On the other hand, my kids just don't like nuts in general. The texture I think. Evan (now 8) finally enjoys crunchy peanut butter and almonds. Only problem is, I can't send him with pb&j to school because he would have to sit at a separate table without his friends.

  2. You know, the advice is always changing. When Lawson was a baby, the current advice was just waiting until after they were a year old. Lawson is only 4 1/2 and he's been eating nuts for years. Then it seems like I had heard that you should wait until 2 or 3 for nuts. 5 years old seems insane to me, personally! I honestly can't keep up with all the changing recommendations (which seem to change yearly in the 7+ years that we have been parents!) Lawson also got whole milk a couple months earlier than recommended because he wouldn't take formula or drink water. We were cautious, watched for any signs of allergy, etc. and he was absolutely fine. I feel like we live in a hyper-sensitive world where everyone freaks out about everything and overreacts much of the time. And no it's not a scientific theory, but my personal opinion is that we can and do sometimes make the situation worse by withholding and by trying to remove every single possible ounce of harm from our children's lives. Will I wait until our next child turns 5 to give her nuts? I can absolutely guarantee that I won't. Will I wait until I feel it is safe and try to be cautious? Yes. That being said, I respect every parent's right to choose what works best for them and what they feel comfortable with.

  3. WHAT, WHAT, WHAT? are you serious? 5 years old. totally, absolutely lame. is that really a standard recommendation, or just your pediatrician? i gave my kids everything/anything i wanted after 1 (including my first, Miles) - except choking foods. nuts, by themselves and whole, are a choking hazard - but not really in foods. eggs are a great source of protein and fat - both of which kids need.

    i don't think exposing kids to foods is what is causing allergies. i thought it was recommended to withhold foods in case it caused an allergic reaction - not because it would cause a reaction.

    look at other cultures - most kids are eating very adult food way, way before americans. they don't have the money nor the availability to buy "baby food." they just eat ground-up adult food. perhaps this is one of the many, many reasons americans are so screwed up with our eating habits and thoughts.

    k, enough. but seriously 5 is ridiculous. especially in a family with no serious/severe food allergies.

  4. Go ahead and give him nuts.

  5. I agree with the previous comments. I haven't given David nuts yet because he still has a hard time chewing hard foods. But as far as eggs and fish, after he turned one, he's been eating them and enjoying them very much. The only two kinds of fish he's been eating are tilapia and salmon. Maybe you can ask your mom and Chuck's mom to see how long they waited to give you nuts, eggs, fish, etc.

  6. There was a very interesting article in National Geographic awhile back. I did not personally read it, but my husband did and told me about it. It was all about allergies. Basically the article said that kids who are raised on farms have fewer allergies than those who aren't. Very interesting since those kids are exposed to just about every plant and animal allergine there is. They were saying because of that very fact - exposure - they believes that the kids developed immune responses to it.
    With regards to nuts, I've heard after 1 and after 2. I have tried to keep Jack off nuts, but I know he's been exposed and I have witnessed no reactions. I may push it to two, but I may get tired and give in. This may sound a little "churchy" but you could pray about it. Heavenly Father will know if there will be a problem and I'm sure will let you know. Just because you might wait until he's 5 doesn't mean that he won't have a reaction. Did you ask your Dr. why 5? I say call them back and make them defend - i.e. research - that particular age. It's your right as a parent and their job to provide credible answers.

  7. Bring on the Banana NUT bread -----seriously!!!!! I give my kiddos everything too and so far so good, especially if they don't seem to be oversensitive to anything now and you don't have a family history. EAT UP little Rhett!!!!!

  8. Yeah, I've heard mixed reviews too. It's like the debate between butter and margarine. One year they say one is better for you, then they change and say the other. I say give him the peanut butter!!