How and When to Feed a Baby Eggs

Mother helping children with breakfast

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Eggs are a great first food for babies. They are a great source of protein, easy for babies to chew, and simple for parents to prepare. Plus, while eggs are one of the top food allergens among children, it is not recommended to avoid eggs once your baby is ready to begin solid food, typically between 4 months and 6 months of age.

In fact, research shows that delaying the introduction of potentially allergenic foods, such as 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. For this reason, experts believe introducing eggs before age one may offer allergy protection.

Changing Recommendations

Historically, some 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. Plus, research shows that 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Another outdated recommendation was to introduce just egg yolks as they don't have the allergens that are present in egg whites.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 up their head up 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.

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.

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. However, you can introduce these types of safe foods in any order you choose.

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, if desired.

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

Vaccinations and Eggs

It's important to be aware that 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. If your child gets egg-containing vaccines, watch for a reaction after they are administered.

A Word From Verywell

Eggs can be introduced to you baby whenever they begin eating solid foods. While some people may worry about allergies when considering feeding their baby eggs, know that doing so before age one may actually offer some protection against developing this food allergy. Plus, eggs are a nutritious, easy to prepare, soft food to feed your baby.

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7 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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