When Is It Safe for Babies to Eat Eggs?

Mother helping children with breakfast

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Eggs are a great source of protein, plus they're easy for babies to chew and for parents to prepare. But they are also one of the top food allergens among children. According to the current feeding guidelines, there is no reason to avoid eggs once your baby is ready to begin solid food, typically between 4 months and 6 months of age.

In fact, some evidence suggests delaying the introduction of potentially allergenic foods—eggs, milk, peanut butter, tree nuts, or fish—beyond 6 months of age may actually increase the potential of developing an allergy later in childhood.

Changing Recommendations

Historically, experts advised parents to wait until their child turned 2 years old to introduce eggs. Newer studies have found no medical evidence for this recommendation. Introducing a variety of foods once your baby is ready for solids is now believed to help prevent food allergies.

Another outdated recommendation was to introduce just egg yolks as they don't have the allergens that are present in egg whites. This is no longer thought to be necessary.

Timing to Start Eggs

If your baby is ready to start solid foods, your baby is ready for eggs. Signs that your baby is ready for solids include being able to sit in a high chair and hold his head up. He may open his mouth when he sees food coming and is able to move food from the spoon into his throat and swallow it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving your baby one new food at a time and waiting two to three days before introducing another one.

In between, watch for allergic reactions to the newly introduced food. Many parents start with cereals, then puréed fruits and vegetables, before moving on to proteins.

Eggs can be a healthy addition to your baby's diet. They contain high-quality protein, iron, and choline. Be sure that you cook eggs well in order to prevent Salmonella and other food-borne illnesses. Some suggest hard-boiling an egg and mashing it, adding a little breast milk or infant formula.

Signs of an Egg Allergy

The first time you introduce eggs, be sure to watch for the following signs of an allergic reaction, which will occur within a short period of time after eating (or even touching) eggs:

  • Skin reactions, such as swelling, a rash, hives, or eczema
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Runny nose and sneezing
  • Red or watery eyes
  • Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Anaphylaxis (less common)

Vaccinations and Eggs

Some vaccines contain egg and can cause an allergic reaction, such as the flu shot. Be sure to talk to your pediatrician if you have a family history of allergies and, if your child gets egg-containing vaccines, watch for a reaction after they are administered.

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Article Sources
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  2. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, Preventing Allergies: What You Should Know About Your Baby's Nutrition.

  3. Papanikolaou Y, Fulgoni VL. Egg Consumption in Infants is Associated with Longer Recumbent Length and Greater Intake of Several Nutrients Essential in Growth and Development. Nutrients. 2018;10(6) doi:10.3390/nu10060719

  4. Egg Allergy and Vaccines. Food Allergy Research & Education.

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