When to introduce eggs to baby

Have you started your baby on solids, but a little unsure and understandably anxious about how and when to introduce the foods that commonly cause allergic reactions? Based on current evidence, a delay in introducing eggs has been shown to increase the chance of a food allergy.

Eggs are very beneficial for babies. They contain high quality proteins, fat, and other nutrients such as iron, zinc, copper, selenium, calcium, fatty acids, vitamins D, B12, E, choline, and folate.

When to introduce eggs

According to ASIC (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy), all babies should be given common allergy-causing foods by 12 months of age, including egg. This includes babies who have severe eczema, another food allergy, or a family member with food allergy, even though they have a higher chance of developing a food allergy.

It is recommended that you offer your baby eggs regularly (twice a week) starting between 6 (not before 4 months) and 12 months of age. Always speak to your doctor or maternal and child health nurse before introducing solids.

How to introduce eggs

Introduce well cooked egg in small amounts to start with. It’s a great idea to do this at lunchtime rather than the evening, so that you can watch for any reactions. Here are some serving suggestions:

  • Mix hard boiled egg into your baby’s vegetable puree
  • Mash a small amount of yolk and mix with breastmilk or formula
  • Mash boiled egg with avocado
  • Mix it into breakfast porridge

Start with ¼ teaspoon of egg at first. Rub a small amount of the food inside your baby’s lip to start with (rubbing it on their skin doesn’t help to identify possible allergies). If there’s no allergic reaction after a few minutes (more on that below), you can then offer small amounts of the food. Gradually increase the amount of egg to half a teaspoon at the next meal if there are no reactions.

Here are some more serving suggestions as your baby grows and enjoys finger foods:

If your baby has an allergic reaction

An allergic reaction usually happens within minutes, while other reactions to foods may be delayed. Information about the signs and symptoms to look for is here.

Stop feeding your baby and seek medical advice if the following occurs:

  • Swelling of the lips, eyes, and face
  • Hives or welts
  • Vomiting
  • Your baby becomes very unsettled soon after a new food

Call an ambulance immediately if there are signs of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis):

  • Difficulty or noisy breathing
  • Tongue swelling
  • Your baby becomes pale and floppy

*Note: Minor redness around the mouth is most often due to skin irritation, and not usually an allergic reaction.

 If your baby has other food allergies

If your baby is allergic to other foods, be sure to discuss it with your doctor or dietitian before introducing eggs.

If other family members are allergic to eggs

It’s still important to introduce eggs to your baby even if someone else in the family is allergic. To keep the other family member/s safe, you could feed your baby only in their highchair, wash yours and your baby’s hands and face after eating, and thoroughly wash all used utensils in warm soapy water.

If your baby has a medically confirmed egg allergy

Egg allergy is a common food allergy, and eggs can be found in a wide range of foods. Here ASIC has provided a dietary guide to help you read and understand food labels to be able to choose appropriate foods, and be aware that egg is often used as a binding agent or thickener in many prepared foods.

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