There seems to be lot of confusion on this topic. Some vouch for the goodness of protein that eggs provide. Some warn about the highly allergic egg whites. Some ask you to give whole eggs as the first food. Some ask you to avoid egg white till the child is older.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions on eggs.
Definitely. Eggs are the second biggest source of protein, only after mother’s milk. Apart from proteins, eggs contain essential fatty acids, vitamins (B12 and E), and minerals (zinc, iron, calcium, folic acid). And best part? All this is packed in just about 70—75 calories. Foods rich in proteins and iron are essential for baby’s healthy growth and development.
You can introduce eggs when your baby is eight months. Some medical experts say that eggs make a great first food, however, since eggs are one of the top 10 allergens of all time, it is best to wait till the baby is slightly older. Also, eggs can contain salmonella bacteria which can cause food poisoning in the baby, and so it is often advised to introduce eggs to the baby after he has had his measles vaccine. That done, you can safely introduce cooked egg in your baby’s diet
That said, you will hear/read conflicting recommendations on when to start giving egg whites to baby. This is because some experts feel that since egg white contains 4 proteins that are known to be allergic, it is best to wait till the child is one. However, these recommendations are fast-changing and now the most commonly seen recommendation is that whole eggs can be introduced as early as 8 months provided it is fully cooked. It may also be noted that egg yolk is generally non allergenic, while egg whites can be allergenic as they contain 4 proteins.
As mentioned before, as long as you make sure eggs are fully cooked (both white and yolk are hard) you can incorporate them in your baby’s diet anyway you want. Here are some ideas:
Statistics indicate that egg allergy is too rare to worry about. However, if you or your family have a history of egg allergies, then it is best to wait till the baby is older (1+ year) to introduce eggs in his/her diet. Also, generally, yolk does not cause allergies, the culprit, more often than not, is egg white.
Follow all rules for introducing a new food. Introduce it preferably in the morning or early afternoon. Do not introduce any other new food for the first 4 days. Waiting four days after introducing eggs (or any solid food for that matter) helps you see how your baby is reacting to the food. It will, hence, help you identify any food allergens. Again, we will say that egg yolk allergy is very rare and it can be safely introduced to your baby’s diet.
If your baby is allergic to eggs, he/she might develop rashes, swelling and itchiness. This happens when the body perceives the egg proteins as an invader and releases antibodies to react to the same. If this happens, take the baby to a doctor who might refer your child to an allergy specialist.
Eggs are an excellent source of proteins. So if you want to keep your baby a veggie, you can introduce the following items in his diet instead:
If you do find out that your baby is allergenic to eggs, you will have to eliminate foods from your baby’s diet. Infact, you will also need to use egg substitutes for some recipes.