When Can Babies Have Eggs? (And Why They Should)

Eggs are recommended as one of the best first foods for baby, even though they are one of the most common food allergies in kids. So what’s the deal? Should you avoid this allergen or offer it to your baby? And if you do offer eggs, when can babies have eggs?

In this post, we’ll break it all down, including:

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When can babies have eggs?

When can babies have scrambled eggs? (Yes, there’s a difference!)

Why it’s so important to give babies eggs

Plus, how to introduce eggs to babies

When Can Babies Have Eggs?

Food before one is just for fun.

That phrase may be a cliché, but it’s a cliché for a good reason. Breastmilk (or formula) provides all of the nutrition that your baby needs before they turn one. That being said, your baby will still need to learn to eat at some point, so it’s important that you introduce food safely and at the right time.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization both recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. (source)

After six months, you can start to introduce solids, including eggs. Check out this post on the best first foods for baby for more information about introducing solids.

When Can Babies Have Scrambled Eggs?

Babies can have scrambled eggs after they have started to eat solids, around six months. So how is this question any different than the first one: When can babies have eggs?

Many mamas offer the egg yolk first for two reasons:

Egg yolks are loaded with nutrients, which makes them a powerhouse of vitamins for little tummies.
And it’s possible to be allergic to just the whites. Out of the 1-2 percent of children with egg allergies, most are allergic to a protein in the egg whites only. (source)

Why Is It Important to Give Baby Eggs?

If you have any doubts about when can babies have eggs, consider these two very important benefits of early introduction:

For nutritional needs
To prevent later allergies to eggs

Nutritional needs

Eggs, especially the yolks, serve up some very important nutrients to a growing baby. Egg yolks are loaded with choline—a compound that promotes healthy brain and liver function. Choline also promotes healthy DNA synthesis. (source) Egg yolks also provide other necessary vitamins and minerals including vitamin E, calcium, and selenium.

Preventing allergies

As noted above, eggs can cause allergic reasons in 1-2 percent of kids—in fact, eggs are one of the most common food allergies. But before you swear off all eggs, research shows early introduction of eggs is important for helping reduce allergies in kids. Specifically, researchers in the PETIT study found that introducing eggs early (around six months of age) can reduce allergies in at-risk (i.e. babies with eczema or a family history of food allergies) babies by 79 percent!

“Evidence is accumulating that early consumption is more beneficial than is delayed introduction as a strategy for primary prevention of food allergy.” — Dr. Osamu Natsume

How to Introduce Eggs

Now that you know when can babies have eggs and why they’re so important to have early, there’s one question left to answer: how should you introduce eggs to a baby?

You can make this a smooth introduction by following these tips:

Introduce eggs early, around six months or when your baby shows signs of readiness
Introduce only one new food at a time and wait 3-5 days before introducing a new food (this allows you to pinpoint which food causes a reaction, should a reaction develop)
Continue to offer that food to your baby. According to the results of the PETIT study, sustained exposure is just as important as early exposure when it comes to preventing allergies. (source)

Consider using a program

In many of these landmark studies, eggs are introduced to young babies (even as young as four months old), so you might be wondering how a baby that young eats an egg? The short answer: They don’t. There are programs like Ready, Set, Food! that are designed to help parents (easily and safely) introduce the three most common allergens (eggs, cow’s milk, and peanuts) to babies even before they are ready to eat solids. You simply add specialized, pre-measured packets of powder to baby’s bottle (breast milk or formula) to safely and gently expose your baby to these allergens. Baby can continue on these programs for six months (or more), until they are ready to regularly eat solid food.

How to serve eggs to babies once they’re eating solids

Ready to offer your little one this delicious, brain-healthy food? Try these quick recipes:

Hard-boil an egg, then remove the white and mash the yolk with breastmilk until you reach the right consistency for your baby.
Mash hard-boiled egg yolks with other foods like avocados or peaches.
Pan fry a yolk in a little bit of ghee or grass-fed butter.
Scramble a yolk with butter and breastmilk.
For older babies: Dip a slice of sprouted grain bread into a scrambled egg yolk, then pan-fry in ghee for a healthy version of French toast.

How to choose the best egg

There are dozens of egg choices: Pastured, free-range, cage-free, brown eggs, white eggs, eggs in a carton, eggs fortified with omega 3 fatty acids—what are you supposed to use?!

If you have access to farm fresh eggs, this will provide you with the freshest eggs possible.
If you don’t have access to a farm (sad to say that we all can’t!), buy the highest quality eggs you can afford. Ideally, choose a pastured egg that’s certified organic or cage-free organic. (Note that “pastured” is not the same as “pasteurized”; pastured means the birds had access to a pasture with dirt and bugs.) (source)

Tip: The better the egg, the smoother and harder the shell.

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The post When Can Babies Have Eggs? (And Why They Should) appeared first on Mama Natural.

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