How to Introduce Eggs to Your Baby

Baby eating eggs

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Eggs are a great first food for babies. They are an excellent source of protein, easy for babies to chew, and simple for parents to prepare. Many parents worry about introducing eggs to their infants as eggs are one of the top food allergens among children. However, your baby can start eating eggs once they are ready to begin solid food, which is typically between 4 months and 6 months of age.

"It is generally recommended that babies can start solids at around 6 months of age and eggs could be introduced at that time," says Amy Reed, MS, RD, CSP, LD, a pediatric dietician and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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Changing Recommendations

Historically, many experts advised parents to wait until their child turned 2 years old to introduce eggs to reduce the risk of developing an egg allergy. However, newer studies have found no medical evidence for this recommendation. In fact, introducing a variety of foods once your baby is ready for solids is now believed to help prevent food allergies.

Research shows that delaying the introduction of potentially allergenic foods, such as eggs, milk, peanut butter, tree nuts, or fish, much beyond 6 months of age may actually increase the potential of developing an allergy to those foods later in childhood. For this reason, experts believe introducing eggs before age 1 may offer allergy protection.

Another outdated recommendation was to introduce just egg yolks as they don't have the allergens that are present in egg whites.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

Benefits of Feeding Eggs to Your Baby

In addition to preventing egg allergy, there are an impressive number of other health benefits associated with including eggs in your infant's diet. Eggs are an extremely nutrient-dense food. In fact, they contain a wide range of nutrients that support your baby's growth and development,

Macronutrients

Eggs are a great source of healthy fat and high-quality protein. These macronutrients are key for growing bodies. Protein is an essential macronutrient that supports muscle growth, tissue repair, and optimal balance of body fluids. Fat is important for growth as well as brain and nervous system development.

Vitamin and Minerals

Eggs also are chock full of key vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, D, E, and B12, choline, and essential fatty acids. These essential nutrients support a baby's healthy growth, strong bones and teeth, robust immune system, and optimal cell and organ function. Choline is key for proper brain development and may impact memory. Fatty acids are important for growth, brain and eye health, and cognitive performance.

When to Introduce 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 up their head independently. They also may open their mouth when they see food coming and may watch others as they eat. Another sign that a baby is ready for solid food is that they are able to move food from the spoon into their throat and swallow it.

"There was recently a study released from the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology that found that the earlier eggs were introduced to infants, followed by consistent offering of eggs, led to less egg allergy in children at 1 and 6 years of age," explains Reed.

How to Feed Your Baby Eggs

"Babies could be given eggs that are fully cooked or eggs that are mixed in with other cooked foods," explains Reed. Raw or runny eggs pose the risk of Salmonella and other food-borne illnesses and should be avoided.

Eggs can be prepared in a variety of ways, such as scrambled or poached. One possibility is hard-boiling an egg and then mashing it. You can add a little breast milk or infant formula if desired. The key is to make sure the egg is in a puree or in small, soft pieces. Large pieces can be a choking hazard for infants.

There is no formal recommendation of how much egg can be introduced to a baby at first, says Reed. "But since their tummies are small and they are learning, I would recommend offering a small amount, which could range from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon."

When introducing solid foods, 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 to watch for allergic reactions, though some pediatric health experts are moving away from this advice in the interest of exposing children to a number of different foods with a variety of nutritional benefits.

Many parents start with cereals, then puréed fruits and vegetables, before moving on to proteins. However, you can introduce these types of safe foods in any order you choose, and there are benefits associated with introducing a variety of nutritious foods from the start.

Signs of an Egg Allergy

The first time you introduce eggs, be sure to watch for the signs of an allergic reaction. However, note that while eggs are one of the more common food allergies in children, the vast majority of babies will do just fine when fed eggs. In fact, it's estimated that just 1.3% of children under 5 years old are allergic to eggs.

If your baby does have an allergy, these signs and symptoms will occur within a short period of time after eating (or even touching) eggs:

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

"As with any food, parents should monitor for any reaction their baby may have. If they notice a reaction like a rash, hives, difficulty breathing, or GI symptoms, they should call their healthcare provider," explains Reed.

Vaccinations and Egg Allergy

It's important to be aware that some vaccines, such as the flu shot, contain eggs and can cause an allergic reaction in children with an egg allergy. Be sure to talk to your pediatrician if you have a family history of allergies. If your child gets egg-containing vaccines, watch for a reaction after they are administered.

A Word From Verywell

Eggs can be introduced to your baby whenever they are ready to begin eating solid foods and is a nutritious addition to a baby's first foods. In fact, feeding your baby eggs before age 1 is specifically recommended because doing so may provide some protection against developing a food allergy to eggs. Plus, eggs are a nutritious, easy to prepare, soft food to feed your baby.

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9 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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