Is It Safe for Babies to Eat Eggs?

Is It Safe for Babies to Eat Eggs?
By Ashley Marcin. Medically reviewed by Karen Gill, M.D.

When can babies eat eggs?
Protein-rich eggs are both inexpensive and versatile. You can fry, boil, scramble, and poach eggs to satisfy your baby’s tastes.

In the past, pediatricians recommended waiting to introduce eggs to a baby’s diet due to allergy concerns. Current recommendations say there is no reason to wait in many circumstances.

You may begin giving your baby eggs as one of their first foods, provided you watch carefully for allergic reactions or other sensitivities. Read on to learn more about the benefits and risks of introducing eggs to your baby, and suggestions for how to prepare eggs for your young child.

Benefits of eggs
Eggs are widely available at most grocery stores and farmers markets. They’re inexpensive and simple to prepare. Plus, they can be incorporated in a variety of dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Best yet, each whole egg contains around 70 calories and 6 grams of protein.

The yolk, in particular, boasts some impressive nutritional value. It contains 250 milligrams of choline, which helps to promote normal cell activity.

Choline also helps with liver function and transporting nutrients to other areas throughout the body. It may even help with your baby’s memory. The whole egg is rich in riboflavin, B12, and folate. It also boasts healthy amounts of phosphorus and selenium.

What are the risks of eggs for babies?
Some foods are known to be among the more common causes of allergic reactions in babies and children. These include:
• eggs
• dairy
• peanuts
• fish
• soy

Pediatricians used to recommend waiting to give your baby the whole egg, meaning the yolk and white, until after their first birthday. That’s because up to two percent of children are allergic to eggs.

The yolk of the egg does not hold proteins associated with allergic reaction. The whites, on the other hand, hold proteins that have the potential to produce a mild to severe allergic reaction.

If your baby is allergic to these proteins, they may experience a range of symptoms. Researchers used to believe that introducing eggs too early might cause allergy. A 2010 study of nearly 2,600 infants uncovered, however, that the opposite may be true.

Babies exposed to eggs after their first birthdays were actually more likely to develop egg allergy than those babies introduced to the food between 4 to 6 months old.

Signs of an allergic reaction or sensitivity
When a person has a food allergy, their body responds to the food as if it’s dangerous to the body.

Some children’s immune systems are not fully developed and may not be able to handle certain proteins in the egg white. As a result, if they are exposed to eggs, they may feel sick, get a rash, or experience other allergic reaction symptoms.

Allergic reactions can affect the skin, or the digestive, respiratory, or cardiovascular systems. Symptoms may include:
• hives, swelling, eczema, or flushing
• diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or pain
• itching around the mouth
• wheezing, runny nose, or trouble breathing
• rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, and heart issues

If your baby has severe eczema, you may also exercise caution introducing eggs, as there is a link between this skin condition and food allergies. If your baby is allergic to eggs, it’s possible they may outgrow the allergy later in life. Many children outgrow egg allergies by age 5.

How to introduce eggs
From 7 months old forward, your baby should be eating between one and two tablespoons of protein twice a day.

Although current guidelines don’t include waiting to introduce eggs to your baby, you may still want to ask your pediatrician their recommended timeline.

When introducing new foods to your baby, it’s always a good idea to add them slowly and one at a time. That way you can watch for potential reactions and have a good idea about which food caused the reaction.

One way to introduce foods is the four-day wait. To do this, introduce your child to eggs on day one. Then wait four days before adding anything new to their diet. If you notice any allergic reaction or other sensitivity, contact your child’s pediatrician.

A good first place to start with introducing eggs is with the yolks only. Here are some ideas for how to add egg yolk to your child’s diet:
• Hard boil an egg, peel off the shell, and take the yolk out. Mash it together with breast milk, formula, (or whole milk if your baby is over 1 year old). As your baby begins eating more foods, you may also mash the yolk with avocado, banana, sweet potato, and other pureed fruits and vegetables.
• Separate the yolk from a raw egg. Heat up a fry pan with some oil or butter. Scramble the yolk with breast milk or whole milk. You can also add a tablespoon of pureed vegetables already included in your child’s diet.
• Separate the yolk from a raw egg. Combine it with a half-cup of cooked oatmeal and fruits or veggies. Scramble until cooked. Then cut or tear into grabbable pieces.
• Once your child is a year old or your pediatrician green-lights the whole egg, you may try scrambling the whole egg with either breast milk or whole milk. You may also add whole eggs to pancakes, waffles, and other baked goods. Simple omelets with soft vegetables and cheeses are another great way to add whole eggs to your child’s day.


Download the full issue of the September-October 2023 Healthy Options News Digest here.

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