The Peanut Puzzle

Could the conventional wisdom on children and allergies be wrong?

  1. Jill Mindlin prides herself on being a good parent. An attorney who lives on the North Shore of Long Island, she read books about how to raise healthy and happy children and dutifully followed their advice. She bought the car seat with the highest safety rating and covered her son and daughter with sunblock whenever they went outside. With her pediatrician’s approval, she breast-fed her children until they were at least a year old and gave them “no formula whatsoever” and no milk products or peanuts. As the American Academyof Pediatrics recommended in 2000, she introduced solid foods slowly and in small amounts.

    In 2002, when her daughter Maya Konoff, was nine months old, Mindlin took Maya for a checkup, and she got several immunizations. After they came home, Mindlin gave her a little yogurt. Soon, Mindlin told me, "Maya blew up like a tomato, bright red, swelling from head to toe.” She called the ofiice, assuming that her daughter was reacting to the immunizations. The pediatricia...

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