I was never in a rush to introduce my baby to solid foods. I was able to breastfeed, and I found it much easier, cheaper, and cleaner than getting solid food ready and into a sometimes uncooperative child.
But there came a point at around six months of age when I knew they needed more. Breast milk alone can’t sustain a child forever.
As babies grow, they have additional nutritional needs. One of these essential nutritional needs is protein.
During pregnancy, the baby absorbs iron from the mother and this sustains them for the first six to eight months after they are born.
Breastmilk only has trace amounts of protein in it but it is easily absorbed. Formula has higher amounts of protein but it isn’t as easily absorbed and can be hard on baby’s immature digestive systems.
Eggs are a great source of protein and they are affordable and easy to make.
Before you crack the shell, here are a few things you need to consider before feeding your baby eggs.
Eggs: A Common Allergy
Did you know that eggs are one of the most common food allergens in children? An egg allergy tends to show up at a very young age but children often outgrow this allergy between the ages of five and adolescence.
If your child has an egg allergy, of course you won’t be able to feed them eggs in any form. The hard part comes when you think about all the foods that have eggs as an ingredient.
This includes cookies, cakes, and other baked goods. Meatloaf and hamburgers also contain eggs as does mayonnaise, meringues, ice cream, and some pastas.
Its a challenge to scour every ingredient label before you feed your child but you do get used to it.
There are other ingredients listed on food labels that also include egg. If your child does have an egg allergy, do your research to find a complete list of ingredients that contain egg proteins.
Vaccinations also contain egg proteins so it is important to always remind your doctor of an egg allergy before your child’s regularly scheduled needle.
Symptoms of Egg Allergy
Allergic reactions to eggs or any food they are allergic to can happen immediately after eating or up to a few hours afterwards.
- skin rash;
- nasal congestion, runny nose;
- vomiting and stomach cramps;
- itchy or watery eyes;
- coughing and wheezing.
If your child is struggling to breathe or swallow or loses consciousness, call 911 immediately. These are signs of a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis and this must be treated immediately.
Keep a Food Diary
One of the best ways to monitor your child for potential allergies as you introduce new foods is to keep a detailed food diary. That way, you can eliminate the guesswork when you are wondering what they may be reacting to.
A quick way to keep a food diary is by using a Food Diary App or by snapping a picture of each meal before you feed your baby.
When Can I Introduce My Baby To Eggs?
It was previously recommended that you wait until at least twelve months or age before introducing eggs for the first time. However, over the last few years, these recommendations have been challenged. Unless there is a known history of food or egg allergies in the family, new studies have found that whole eggs can be introduced as early as the age of six months.
A 2010 study done in Australia found that delaying the introduction of eggs until after twelve months increases the likelihood that an egg allergy will occur. The study also suggests that early exposure to eggs is far more protective than avoidance when it comes to egg allergies specifically.
The egg white is the most likely part of the egg to cause an allergic reaction. Even though they have lower protein than egg yolks gram for gram, the four proteins contained in the whites tend to be more likely to cause issues than the protein in the yolks.
Egg yolks contain more protein that egg whites and yet they are generally better tolerated. In the past, the general recommendation has been that you can introduce egg yolks to your baby as early as nine months.
From my personal experience, I found it easier to scramble a yolk than to hard boil an egg and remove the white. A boiled egg yolk is quite crumbly and the texture is often not appealing to new eaters. However, it can be stirred into and “hidden” in other foods to bump up protein levels.
Talk to your doctor before you feed your baby eggs. He or she will help you make the safest decision for your child.
The final word on eggs.
Feeding your baby eggs is an easy and cheap way to add protein to their diets. Eggs also contain fat which is an important part of your baby’s diet. They also contain trace vitamins and minerals.
Although some baby’s will experience an allergic reaction to eggs, an earlier introduction under your doctor’s supervision may help reduce the likelihood of an egg allergy. Speak with your doctor before feeding your baby eggs for the first time. Even if your child does have an egg allergy, they may outgrow it before they are a teenager.
In the meantime, feed your baby a rainbow of colors of fruits and vegetables and enjoy the adventure of introducing your child to the experience of eating.