When Can Babies Eat Eggs?
Starting baby on solid foods is an exciting, yet nerve-wracking milestone. Guidelines on food allergies are always evolving, so it’s natural to feel nervous about introducing foods like eggs—a top allergen—to baby. So when can babies have eggs? Here’s everything you need to know about when and how to introduce eggs to baby, signs of egg allergy in baby and more.
You can introduce baby to eggs from the time they start solids, which is usually around 6 months, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Although the AAP previously recommended avoiding eggs until 2 years of age, it reversed its guidelines in 2008 after research found that introducing allergens earlier in life could actually help prevent allergies. “If baby has a family history of food allergies, it’s recommended that you introduce eggs one at a time, starting with a very small amount,” advises Daniel Ganjian, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA.
When it comes to introducing eggs to baby, Ganjian says slow and steady wins the race. You can start by giving baby strips of scrambled egg or puree cooked eggs. “If baby doesn’t have any reaction, you can gradually increase the amount,” he says. He also recommends waiting three days before introducing another new food—this way, you can watch for any adverse reaction related to eggs.
Eggs are packed with nutrition. “They’re a wonderful source of protein, which are the building blocks of life,” says Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietician and founder of Middleberg Nutrition. “They’re also a fabulous source of healthy fats. Most impressively, they’re one of the best sources of choline, which is essential for brain development.” And that’s not all: Eggs are also good sources of vitamins B6, B12, A, D, E, K, folate and niacin, she adds.
When preparing eggs for baby, your approach will likely vary depending on baby’s age, how they handle different textures and shapes and whether you’re doing baby-led weaning or sticking to purees for their first foods.
Middleberg—who’s the author of The Big Book of Organic Baby Food and The Big Book of Organic Toddler Food—says you can follow these general guidelines for serving eggs to baby:
- 6 months and up: For beginner eaters, you can mash hard-boiled eggs with avocado, breast milk or formula. (You can also puree cooked eggs.) Additionally, you can make a plain omelet for baby and cut it into long strips (about the size of two fingers), so baby can practice holding and eating the strips on their own. Middleberg also suggests making egg-banana “pancakes” by smashing a banana with two eggs and cooking it like you would pancakes.
- 9 months and up: As a 9-month-old baby’s pincer grasp develops, you can gradually start offering them smaller, bite-sized pieces of dishes like scrambled eggs, so they can practice picking up their food.
- One year and up: Any and all of the above! Middleberg suggests getting creative by adding cheese or veggies to omelets.
Middleberg says to avoid runny or undercooked eggs for babies, as it can increase the risk of salmonella. Says Ganjian: “Eggs should be cooked until the yolk and white are firm.”
About 8 percent of children in the US have food allergies, and egg allergy affects about 1.3 percent of children under 5, notes the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. This makes it the second most common allergy in young children after cow’s milk.
But that’s not a reason to delay the introduction of potential allergens: Again, studies show that early exposure to allergens can help prevent allergies. “Research is really strong in showing that early and consistent (i.e. multiple times a week), is key for healthier outcomes when it comes to allergies,” says Middleberg.
If you’re concerned about an egg allergy in baby, Middleberg recommends working with a pediatric allergist, who can help introduce egg to baby for their first time in their office. “The good news is that the majority of babies with an egg allergy outgrow it,” she says.
Baby Egg Allergy Signs and Symptoms
Signs of egg allergy in baby can include:
While severe reactions such as anaphylaxis are uncommon, Middleberg says to call 911 if you observe any of the following:
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat
- Trouble breathing
- Pale or bluish skin
- Sudden fatigue or going limp
- Non-stop vomiting
Eggs are an excellent first food for baby—they’re versatile, easy-to-eat and nutritionally packed with goodness. And while serving any potential allergen—from eggs to cow’s milk to peanut butter—can make new parents nervous, introducing allergens can be beneficial. Of course, if you have any questions or concerns about introducing eggs to baby, make sure to call your pediatrician.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
Daniel Ganjian, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. He has a special interest in fighting childhood obesity with his pediatric expertise and as a certified personal trainer. He received his medical degree from the University of California, Irvine.
Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD, CDN, is the founder of Middleberg Nutrition, a New York City-based health and wellness practice. She’s also the bestselling author of The Big Book of Organic Baby Food, The Big Book of Organic Toddler Food and the forthcoming The Big Book of Pregnancy Nutrition.
American Academy of Pediatrics, Starting Solid Foods, August 2022
Canadian Medical Association Journal, Food Introduction and Allergy Prevention in Infants, November 2015
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, A Better Understanding of Egg Allergy in US Children, May 2020
Cureus, Food Allergy Prevention: Early Versus Late Introduction of Food Allergens in Children, January 2022
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