It never fails to amaze me how many excellent ideas — and/or products — have come from moms in Philly solving problems or trying to make life a little easier. (Like this, for one, or this, or this!) The latest brilliant offering from an enterprising Philly mom is Lil Mixins peanut powder, a safe, easy, tidy way to introduce babies to peanuts.
Of course, peanuts are a common allergenic, and these days, most pediatricians recommend exposing little ones to allergens as early as 4 to 6 months.* This was not necessarily the case when South Kensington mama Meenal Lele had her first son in 2014; she followed the pediatrician’s instructions at that point, avoiding all allergenic foods for those first several months. (This wasn’t uncommon advice at that point.) When, at 6 months, the baby began developing rashes in his elbows, neck and backs of knees, she says, “the doctor thought it might be a food allergy, and an allergist told us to start introducing allergens.” They began with an egg, and the egg led to hives, which led to a trip to the ER, which led to tests showing he was allergic to eggs and to all nuts.
Not long after the first ER visit (“it wouldn’t be our last,” Meenal says), a now-well-known LEAP study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine showing that in babies with eczema and/or sensitivity to eggs, a reduction in the likelihood of nut allergies was possible by giving infants nuts, consistently, starting at four months.** And so when Meenal had baby number two, early exposure to nuts was super important to her … only she realized how hard it was to prepare nuts to that they mix into baby food, particularly given her fears of exposing the baby’s big brother, or contaminating the blender.
So Meenal, who is currently the head of clinical affairs at a medical device company, took her background in chemical engineering and worked with a food scientist to develop Lil Mixin’s peanut powder, which is designed to blend easily into milk or pureed foods. Literally, just scoop and mix. It’s 100-percent pure organic peanut in powder form, and it’s made in a professional-grade facility and shipped from Philly. “I’m hoping that this simplicity allows parents to make allergen exposure a no-brainer,” Meenal says, “so that there are far fewer babies who ever see the inside of the emergency room.”
Smart, no? You can buy Lil Mixins on the product website (where you can also read more about it) — and soon, you’ll be able to find it on Amazon, Meenal says. (Hopefully not long after that, you’ll see it in the baby food aisles of grocery stores.) Her overall goal is to make consistent allergen exposure easier on multiple levels — and to that end, she’s working on tree nut, egg and sesame powders to put out, as well. Stay tuned!
* this is not medical advice from Wee.
** again, not medical advice from Wee. Talk to your pediatrician if you have questions!
Photo credit: Andrew Nicholas