When Can Babies Have Eggs?

When and How to Introduce Eggs and How to Spot an Allergy

Mother helping children with breakfast
Stephen Simpson/Photodisc/Getty Images

You may wonder when you can begin to give your baby eggs. The current guidelines say there is no reason to avoid eggs at the time your baby is ready for beginning to food other than breastmilk or formula, between 4 months and 6 months of age. There's even some research indicating that delaying the introduction of potentially allergenic foods (eggs, milk, peanut butter, tree nuts, or fish) beyond 6 months of age may actually increase the potential of developing an allergy later in childhood.

Eggs are Okay - Changing Recommendations on Eggs

Historically, experts advised parents to wait until their child turned 2 years old to introduce eggs. Newer studies, however, have found that there is no medical evidence for delaying the introduction of eggs. You may encounter a reaction from your friends and relatives if they have not kept up with the current recommendations. You can reassure them that you are following the updated guidelines. Check with your pediatrician for support, if necessary.

Remember, introducing a variety of foods once your baby is ready for solid foods is now thought to help prevent developing food allergies. Another old recommendation was to introduce just egg yolks as they don't have the allergens that are present in egg whites. This is no longer thought to be necessary.

When Your Baby is Ready for Eggs

Signs that your baby is ready for solid food include being able to sit in a high chair and hold his head up.

He may open his mouth when he sees food coming and is able to move food from the spoon into his throat and swallow it. The AAP recommends giving your baby one food at a time and waiting two to three days before introducing another one. In between, you can watch for allergic reactions to the newly introduced food.

Eggs can be a healthy addition to your baby's diet. Be sure that you cook eggs well in order to prevent Salmonella and other food-borne illnesses. They have high-quality protein, iron, and choline. Some suggested tips are to hard-cook an egg and mash it, adding a little breast milk or infant formula. Don't add salt, butter, or any other ingredients as you want your baby to enjoy the natural flavor.

Signs of an Egg Allergy

The first time you introduce eggs, be sure to watch for the following signs of an allergic reaction, which will occur within a short period of time after eating (or even touching) eggs:

  • Skin reactions, such as swelling, a rash, hives or eczema
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Runny nose and sneezing
  • Red or watery eyes
  • Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Anaphylaxis (less common)

Vaccinations and Eggs

Some shots contain egg and can cause an allergic reaction. For example, the MMR vaccine contains egg and is given around 12 to 15 months. Another shot that contains egg is the flu shot.

So, again, be sure and watch for a reaction and talk to your doctor if you have a family history of allergies and are concerned about these shots.

Sources:

American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, Preventing Allergies: What You Should Know About your Baby's Nutrition, 2015.

American Academy of Pediatrics, Starting Solid Foods, 2012.

Greer, Frank MD. Effects of Early Nutritional Interventions on the Development of Atopic Disease in Infants and Children: The Role of Maternal Dietary Restriction, Breastfeeding, Timing of Introduction of Complementary Foods, and Hydrolyzed Formulas. Pediatrics 2008;121;183.

Continue Reading