Babies as young as 4 months should eat peanut-containing foods to combat allergy, new guidelines say

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WASHINGTON — New guidelines say most babies should start eating peanut-containing foods well before their first birthday, to lower their chances of developing the dangerous food allergy.

Thursday's guidelines from a National Institutes of Health panel mark a shift in dietary advice. They spell out exactly how to introduce infants to peanut-based foods and when — for some, as early as 4 to 6 months of age — depending on whether they're at high, moderate or low risk of becoming allergic to peanuts.

Babies are at highest risk if they have a severe form of the skin rash eczema or egg allergies, and need a doctor's check before introduction of peanut-based foods. Most other tots can start eating age-appropriate options at home.

The guidelines are being published in pediatric and allergy journals.