+

I was super nervous the first time I fed each of my kids peanuts, terrified that they might have a life-threatening allergic reaction.

Kids can be allergic to any food, of course, but peanut allergies are particularly scary. While relatively rare, anaphylaxis isn't something you want to mess around with.

When my kids were babies, the prevailing advice was to delay introducing peanuts into a child’s diet in case they were allergic. So when I heard that actor/director/all-around-awesome-human Justin Baldoni and his wife were feeding peanuts to their 6-month-old son — as his first solid food, no less — I was intrigued.


Justin Baldoni and his wife, Emily, have a 2-year-old daughter and a 6-month-old son.

It never would have crossed my mind to give my kids peanuts as infants, and certainly not as a first food. But my kids are older, and research is ever-evolving.

Baldoni told me that he and his wife Emily decided on early introduction of peanuts after reviewing the research and consulting with their child's doctor about new data on how to prevent peanut allergies.

"Once we talked to our pediatrician and we found that it was safe and could greatly improve his chances of not developing a peanut allergy, we thought as parents we should give it a go," he says.

According to the latest research, "early and often" exposure to peanuts may prevent peanut allergies from developing later on.  

A landmark study released in 2015 found that early consumption of peanuts significantly reduced a child’s chance of developing a peanut allergy. The striking results of that study prompted new recommendations from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Instead of delaying or avoiding peanuts, the new recommendation is to start exposure to peanut proteins early — between 4 and 6 months — and continue to feed peanuts to children a few times a week to prevent allergies from developing.

Doting daddy that he is, Baldoni naturally wants to do what's best for his kids.

Dada? Probably not intentionally but I’ll take it! #dearmaxwell #6months

A post shared by Justin Baldoni (@justinbaldoni) on

Baldoni explained how he and Emily have gone about exposing their son Maxwell to peanut protein.

"Maxwell is primarily breastfed, so the first thing we actually introduced into his diet was peanuts," he said. "We took a little bit of ground peanut powder, and we mixed it in with his mama’s fresh breastmilk. And we just kind of spoon-fed it to him three times a week."

"As they say, early and often is what helps prevent it."

The guidelines are so new that many parents may not be aware of them — or they might be afraid to follow them.

Baldoni said they didn’t have this research when his daughter, Maiya, was a baby. She’s now almost 3. With new research being done all the time, recommendations are constantly changing, so it can be hard for parents to keep up.

Justin Baldoni with his daughter, Maiya. Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images.

It can also be nerve-wracking to follow new advice that flies in the face of old recommendations. Having experienced this myself as a parent, I asked Baldoni if he and Emily were nervous to give Maxwell peanuts.

"Totally nervous," he replied.

"Emily and I are just very aware. Her sister has a pretty severe nut allergy, and I have friends with peanut allergies, and I have family members with food allergies."

"I think as parents, anytime you’re going to introduce something into your child’s diet that helps to prevent a further allergy, it’s a scary thing. But once we talked to our doctor, we were much less nervous because Maxwell was also low-risk. So we just introduced it at home, and we watched him. He loved it, and he was fine, and so we just kept going."

The website preventpeanutallergies.org has information about what makes a child low-risk or high-risk for peanut allergy, in addition to other common questions about the research and recommendations.

Baldoni has partnered with organizations invested in preventing peanut allergies to help raise awareness about the new guidelines.

He's known for using his social media platform for good, and he and Emily decided that preventing peanut allergies in kids is a cause worth promoting. He's partnered with the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI); the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT); and the National Peanut Board to spread the word.

Baldoni said he believes that if even one life is saved, it's worth it.

"I know and I’ve seen first-hand what a peanut allergy can do to somebody’s life and how it can affect them, and the fear that people experience when they have a peanut allergy, whether it’s on planes … eating at restaurants … always having to make sure, and double check, and triple check, and take an EpiPen with them ..."

"If there is a way to prevent this, if there was a way to make a child’s life that much easier, then absolutely I want to use my platform to help with that."

"We’ll never know, but if one parent does this and their child doesn’t develop an allergy and otherwise they would have, then I think this is really good and important work, and that’s something that I’m really passionate about — making sure that we’re always using our blessings and our gifts to pay it forward and help others."



While the Baldonis chose peanuts as a first food in consultation with their doctor, the ACAAI recommends that peanuts be introduced after other solid foods. Parents should consult with their doctors about any concerns they have about food allergies. For more information about peanut allergies and prevention, visit preventpeanutallergies.org.

via FIRST

FIRST students learn real-world career skills through robotics competitions.

True

In today’s rapidly changing world, most parents are concerned about what the future looks like for their children. Whether concerning technology, culture, or values, young people today are expected to navigate—and attempt to thrive in—a society that’s far more complicated than that of their parents. It’s one of the reasons why parents are keen to involve their kids in activities that will help them become more resilient, well-rounded and better prepared for life when they enter adulthood.

One such activity is FIRST®, a volunteer-based global robotics community that helps young people discover a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through exciting, multifaceted challenges. FIRST helps kids ages 4 to 18 to build confidence, resilience, cooperation and empathy as they compete and collaborate with one another.

You may have seen the transformative power of FIRST programs featured in the new 2022 Disney+ documentary “More Than Robots.”

Keep ReadingShow less
via Pexels

Three people engaged in conversation at a party.

There are some people who live under the illusion that everything they say is deeply interesting and have no problem wasting your time by rambling on and on without a sign of stopping. They’re the relative, neighbor or co-worker who can’t take a hint that the conversation is over.

Of all these people, the co-worker who can’t stop talking may be the most challenging because you see them every day in a professional setting that requires politeness.

There are many reasons that some people talk excessively. Therapist F. Diane Barth writes in Psychology Today that some people talk excessively because they don’t have the ability to process complex auditory signals, so they ramble on without recognizing the subtle cues others are sending.

It may also be a case of someone who thinks they’re the most interesting person in the conversation.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Save dogs & farm animals all before your morning cup of coffee

A quality coffee roaster that makes a difference

Tackling anything before you finish your first cup of joe seems like a tall order, but with Hugo Coffee Roasters you can turn your morning ritual into an act of kindness. This female-founded, fair trade organic coffee roaster partners with different organizations to help save the lives of rescue dogs and farm animals. Here's how they do it:

Keep ReadingShow less

A leaping border collie.

Pet hotels have come a long way from the gloomy dog kennels that were once the norm. But apparently there's still no substitute for the comfort of home. In a delightful and downright impressive story from Inside Edition, Jeremy and Sarah Henson had their five-day Las Vegas vacation disrupted last February when they got an alert that their Ring doorbell had been pressed. Who was at their door? It was none other than their dog Dexter who they had recently boarded at a local pet hotel.

The Lenexa, Kansas couple must have been completely shocked that the dog escaped the pet hotel, made his way home and knew how to ring the doorbell. “We were both like, ‘Oh my God, that’s Dexter!’” Jeremy told Inside Edition. “Obviously, he didn’t understand the fact that we were gone, he just thought that we were home. And he takes his job protecting us very seriously."

Keep ReadingShow less