Introducing solids to your baby is an exciting time. It is so fun to watch their facial reactions and to see them discover foods they enjoy. Before this age, you should provide your baby breast milk alone.
When you are making breakfast, you probably are wondering when kids can eat eggs. Scrambled eggs, hard boiled eggs, sunny side up eggs – they are all delicious. Typically, parents introduce solid foods around six months old. This age is best; your baby’s stomach is ready to process foods with fewer problems.
Signs that Your Child is Developmentally Ready for Solids
Before you offer any food, you have to make sure your baby is ready for solids. There are some classic signs that your child is nearing the time that you should encourage food.
- Your baby sits up well without any support.
- His tongue thrust reflex is gone, so he doesn’t push solids out of his mouth with his tongue.
- He tries to chew when food enters his mouth.
- Baby is starting to develop the pincer grasp, allowing him to pick up food or objects.
- He wants to participate in mealtime. You may notice he tries to grab at your food, and he may open his mouth in anticipation of a bite.
- A sudden increased demand to breastfeed, not because of teething pain or illness, is a common sign that your child is ready for solids.
- Baby has doubled his birth weight and weighs at least 13 pounds.
When is the Best Age to Introduce Eggs?
At one time, parents were encouraged to wait to give their child eggs. They are among the most common food allergies in children along with milk, wheat, soy, peanut, tree nut, fish, and shellfish. Some people have a fatal food allergy to egg. All of these reasons are why people, for years, waited to introduce eggs.
However, recommendations have since changed. After six months old, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Asthma, Allergies and Immunology encourage parents to introduce all types of foods, including potential allergens. There is no evidence that waiting to introduce these foods will decrease the likelihood of an allergic reaction.
In fact, experts believe that waiting to introduce these foods INCREASE the risk of an allergy developing. In 2010, doctors in Australia performed an extensive study. They discovered that children who were given eggs after 12 months of age were five times more likely to develop an allergy to it, in comparison to those who were given eggs between four and six months old.
However, if the child’s parents or siblings are allergic to egg, your pediatrician may advise you to wait to introduce. Allergies do run in the family, so waiting then could be the appropriate choice.
Should Parents Serve Egg Yolk and Not Egg Whites?
For years, parents avoided the entire egg for their babies. However, some evidence shows that egg whites are the actual allergen, not the egg yolk.
An egg allergy reacts similarly to a milk allergy. Your body responds to the egg protein. However, the yolk of an egg doesn’t contain those proteins that cause an allergy. The egg whites contain four proteins known to cause allergies, from mild to high allergenic risks. It is rare for anyone to be allergic to the egg yolk, but most people eat the entire egg.
The four proteins in egg whites that are known allergens are:
- Ovalbumin – this is the major allergen, and it makes up half of the egg whites.
There are some proteins in egg yolks, but they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
- Apovitellenins I
- Apovitellenins VI
Some pediatricians stick to the previous belief that egg yolks can be introduced at eight months, but parents need to wait for 12 months before adding egg whites.
What is an Egg Allergy?
If you have any allergies, you may understand the process your body undergoes. When you consume an egg, and you are allergic to it, your body believes that the egg protein is a harmful, foreign invader. In reaction to this invasion, your body releases antibodies called immunoglobulin. In turn, your body releases chemicals called histamines. This release causes your body to create the typical symptoms of an allergy, such as a runny nose, skin rash, and itchy eyes. However, the worse reaction is anaphylaxis.
Usual Symptoms of an Egg Allergy
Once your child has consumed eggs, either whole or egg yolk, it is important for you to watch for any reactions. You should try only to introduce one new food every four days. If you notice any reaction in those four days, you can be sure it is from the eggs rather than the raspberries they had with lunch or the chicken with dinner.
- A runny nose or nasal congestion
- Asthma-like symptoms
- I. symptoms like a stomach ache or gas
- Nausea and stomach cramps
- Oral allergy reactions, typically around the mouth, lips and throat
- Watery or itchy eyes
If you notice any signs of anaphylaxis such as – constriction of airways, abdominal cramps, rapid pulse or shock with a severe drop in blood pressure – call 911 immediately.
When you begin the process of introducing foods, it is a great idea to keep a food dairy. List all of the foods your child eats each day and what time. If there is a reaction, you can pinpoint the culprit.
The Benefits of Feeding Your Child Eggs
You may be apprehensive to introduce eggs to your baby, but eggs are the first food in many cultures. There are millions of people who don’t depend on store shelves to provide the best first food for their baby.
Eggs are nutritious and full of vitamins. They are ideal for babies. Plus, eggs taste delicious. There are quite a few reasons why you may want to offer eggs to your child.
- Eggs yolks are a source of cholesterol. You may want to avoid it as much as possible, but cholesterol is essential for your child’s brain development. In fact, breast milk has healthy levels of cholesterol. At one time, people didn’t think that infants should eat many eggs because of the cholesterol levels. However, infants need more than adults because their organs and brain are still developing. You could give your baby a whole egg every day!
- Eggs yolks have fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E, and K. All of these vitamins are essential for the growth of your baby and their bone structure. Interestingly enough, this combination of vitamins will affect how your baby’s face and teeth develops.
- Egg yolks are easy to digest. It is a soft food to introduce. They can digest easier than man foods.
- Egg yolks are full of other vitamins and minerals. All of these are necessary for the growth and development of your baby. In yolks, there is choline, vitamin B12, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, zinc, and copper.
- Eggs yolks are a great source of natural fats and proteins. Breast milk provides your baby with a balance of proteins, fats, and natural carbohydrates. Egg yolks are perfect for your child’s nutritional requirements.
All of these benefits are amazing. It is no wonder that so many people want to introduce eggs to their babies. All over the world, eggs are considered a primary food source. They are so desired that we see a surge in people raising their flocks of chickens, even those individuals who live in the city!
The benefits of eggs don’t just stop with their yolks. While their yolks are central for nutrition, the entire egg is healthy, and your baby shouldn’t miss the healthy provisions.
- Egg protein gives your baby essential amino acids. These are the building blocks for hormones, skin, tissue and other parts of your body. Typically, your body doesn’t create amino acids; you have to find another source.
- If you purchase the right eggs, you also get a good source of omega-3s. These are helpful for a child’s cognitive development. Experts believe they can help to prevent heart disease. Later, you can introduce fish to your baby for other great sources.
How to Serve Eggs, so Your Baby Eats Them
Just like their older counterparts, babies are known for being finicky. Textures and tastes are still new to them, and they may not like the way you present the egg. Luckily, you can serve egg in a variety of ways. Parents can make a huge serving for the entire family. Eggs aren’t just a breakfast food; you can eat them for lunch or dinner.
- Serve hard-boiled eggs for an easy snack. They pack easily. For older kids, you can serve them with salads. For your baby, they make an easy to chew snack for on the go.
- Every child loves French toast! Crepes are another way to use eggs. Both of these typically have a sweet accompaniment. My kids love crepes with homemade jam.
- Try egg salad! Your child may turn his nose up at first, but it is great on a sandwich or a tortilla.
- Make a frittata for dinner. You can sneak in some veggies like spinach and zucchini as well.
- Instead of the standard scrambled eggs (which are one of my children’s favorite), pour them into muffin tins. You can add diced tomatoes, diced ham, spinach, mushrooms or bits of sausage. Egg muffins are easy for little kids to hold as well.
- Cook sunny side up eggs. For your younger babies, dip toast into the yolk and let them gnaw on the toast. Then, cut up the rest of the yolk and whites.
- Older kids may love an egg sandwich with a slice of ham.
- Make an omelet for breakfast! Add all kinds of goodies, including cheese.
- For lunch, make some fried rice and add scrambled egg to it. Plus, you can include a variety of veggies into the rice.
If My Baby is Allergic to Egg Whites, Can We Vaccinate?
Egg allergies are severe, and this problem causes parents headaches and worries. Many vaccines are suspended in egg white protein as a preservative. Most people who are allergic to egg whites can still safely receive the vaccines. Once you know if your child is allergic to eggs, you can come up with a plan to ensure your child gets all of their necessary vaccines.
What Should I Do if I Suspect an Allergy?
Maybe you served eggs to your baby for four days in a row. Each day, you noticed a small symptoms. His nose might have started to seem congested, and he had a few spots of red across his back. You aren’t sure if the eggs are the issue or not.
The first thing you should do is to stop giving eggs to your baby until you are confident they are not the culprit. Make an appointment with your doctor. Explain all of his symptoms and remember to show her the food dairy with the times of feedings and reaction times marked. Together, you can come up with a diagnosis.
Putting It All Together
There are a lot of information provided here. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the facts. So, let’s put everything we learned together to help you out.
For many years, doctors recommended waiting to introduce eggs until 9 to 12 months. However, information and evidence has now changed the recommendation. You can let your baby eat eggs, the entire egg, from six months old and on. Eggs make a nutritious first food for babies. Once your child can use a pincher grasp, your baby can eat an egg every single day in a variety of ways.
You should give your baby eggs a few times a week. They are full of vitamins that aid the development of his brain and body. Adults may want to limit eggs because of the cholesterol, but infants benefit from the high levels.
So, don’t be afraid to make eggs one of your baby’s first food! Giving your baby eggs around six months will also decrease the risk of developing an allergy later in life!