Eggs for Babies: When can babies eat eggs?
There’s a lot of confusion out there when it comes to feeding eggs to babies, but you’re about to learn how to introduce this easy-to-prepare, nutritious food.
We’ll discuss the important nutrients your baby will receive when adding eggs to their diet, fun ways to serve eggs (both for baby-led weaning and a more traditional feeding approach), and how to minimize the risk of allergy.
IN THIS ARTICLE
Can babies have eggs?
Yes, absolutely! Eggs are a great choice for your baby’s first foods, as soon as they are ready to start solids around 6 months. Accessible, affordable, easy to prepare, and packed with nutrients, eggs tick all the first food boxes.
Now, you might be thinking, but what about allergies?! Despite being a common food allergen (we’ll also discuss the details below), eggs are still an excellent choice to add to your baby’s diet.
Is it healthy for babies?
Eggs are full of high-quality protein and key vitamins and minerals that are important for your baby’s growth and development. They are nutrient-dense, which is a great quality to have in their first food. Your baby won’t eat much when they first start to eat, so offering nutrient-rich food like egg ensures they get the most nutrition out of every little bite.
Egg nutrients for babies
The white and the yolk of the egg each contain unique nutrients: the white provides the protein portion, and the yolk provides the fat portion. Offer your baby both the white and the yolk to give them all the nutrition that eggs have to offer.
In the egg white, your baby will get high-quality protein with all of the essential amino acids. Your baby needs these amino acids as building blocks to grow and develop.
In the egg yolk, your baby will get an excellent fat source, giving them energy for growth and essential fatty acids for development. Plus, the egg yolk is one of the best food sources of choline, an often-forgotten nutrient that is needed for your baby’s brain development and memory function. Your baby will also get some vitamin D through eating egg yolk, which is needed to build healthy bones and a strong immune system.
On top of all of this, your baby will also get a source of B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin E, selenium, and iron. We said eggs were nutrient-dense, and we meant it.
When can babies eat eggs?
Eggs can be introduced as the first food for your baby from approximately 6 months when they are ready to start solids. Eggs, along with other iron-rich foods like meat, tofu, legumes, and iron-fortified cereals, are a great first food option. With so many versatile preparation options, you can keep offering eggs regularly as your baby grows and develops.
Can babies between 6 to 9 months old eat eggs?
Yes! Eggs are a safe and nutritious first food option for your baby when they are getting started with eating solids. Being nutrient-dense is one of the best qualities of eggs during this timeframe.
Can babies between 9 to 12 months old eat eggs?
You bet. As your baby develops their feeding skills and starts to eat more food, eggs will be giving them an important source of protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals.
Can babies over 12 months old eat eggs?
The best thing about eggs is the benefits never fade! Keep eggs on rotation in your household menus as your baby grows up into a toddler and throughout childhood.
How to introduce eggs for your baby?
Just like there are many ways for you to enjoy eggs, there are many ways for your baby to enjoy eggs as well! Omelets and scrambled eggs are easy, go-to favorites for babies, but you can also experiment with boiled, poached, baked, and fried eggs. Eggs are quick and easy to prepare, making them a great option for busy families.
Both the egg white and yolk should be fully cooked when you offer your baby eggs. Raw eggs and runny egg yolks have a risk of foodborne illness, and so should be avoided until age 5. And, just like with all first foods, it’s best to keep added salt to a minimum (but don’t be afraid to get creative with some finely chopped herbs or mild spices!).
Because eggs are a common food allergen, start with a very small amount of well-cooked egg and watch your baby closely for any signs of allergy. Wait 2 to 3 days after introducing eggs for the first time before offering any other new foods. Once you know your baby tolerates eggs well, they can also be incorporated into other dishes that you make for your baby.
Serving eggs for Baby Led Weaning
If you are using a baby-led weaning approach to feeding, you’ve got lots of delicious and fun recipe options for eggs. When your baby first starts solids, around 6 months, foods can be served in rectangular strips that are easy to pick up (think the size of an adult pinky). For eggs, a great way to do this is a well-cooked omelet, cut up into strips.
As your baby’s feeding skills improve and their pincer grasp develops, typically around 9 months, you can progress to smaller, diced pieces. This could look like scrambled eggs, or bite-sized pieces of omelet, hard-boiled eggs, egg muffins, or banana-egg pancakes. Play around with serving eggs in a variety of different ways!
Don’t forget that eggs can be easily combined with other ingredients to expose your baby to a variety of foods, textures, and flavours. Try an omelette made with spinach and cheese, or offer toast strips with mashed avocado and scrambled egg… get creative and have fun!
Egg puree for babies
If you are following a more traditional approach to feeding, you can serve a pureed or mashed hard-boiled or scrambled egg, prepared with some breast milk or formula. In a traditional approach, foods are typically referred to as stages 1, 2, and 3 foods.
At 6 months, aim for a drippy, smooth puree. Stage 1 foods are typically made with only one ingredient. Around 7 months, start to offer a thicker puree or well-mashed consistency (stage 2) and make things more interesting by combining foods together, such as egg with avocado.
From 8 to 9 months on, focus on offering consistency with more lumps and chunks (stage 3), such as scrambled eggs or a lightly mashed hard-boiled egg. It’s important to give your baby early exposure to different textures so that they don’t find it difficult to adjust to new textures later on. At this time, your baby can also enjoy finger foods and soft table foods (such as the options recommended in the previous section, like strips or bite-sized pieces of omelet).
Is it a common allergen?
Yes, eggs are a common allergen and are considered one of the top 8 food allergens for babies and children. But, the good news is that the earlier eggs are introduced, the less likely your baby is to develop an allergy. Yup, you heard that right -- early introduction of allergens helps to prevent your baby from developing allergies.
The first time you offer eggs, it’s best to introduce them on their own, so that you are able to keep an eye on your baby for any signs of an allergic reaction. Keep in mind that sometimes it can take multiple exposures to a food before your baby develops a reaction, so it’s important to always keep an eye on your baby for symptoms.
Symptoms of a food allergy range from mild to life-threatening and may include vomiting, diarrhea, hives, swelling, eczema, difficulty breathing, wheezing and itching or swelling of the mouth, lips, or tongue. If you think your baby is having an allergic reaction to a food, call your pediatrician’s office right away.
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to introducing food allergens is that once you’ve introduced them, you need to continue to offer them. Your baby needs regular exposure to allergens in order to see the benefits of reducing their later risk.
If you have a family history of food allergies, or your baby has severe eczema, or another existing food allergy, speak to your pediatrician before introducing eggs or egg-containing products.
Is it a choking hazard?
No, eggs are generally not considered a high risk choking food. However, it’s still important to prepare them safely, in a way that is soft and easy to chew.
Hard-boiled eggs, for example, may be more of a choking hazard because the egg white and yolk are separated. At first, your baby might find it harder to manage two different textures at once. Offering your baby omelettes, scrambled eggs, or egg muffins can be good early options, as the white and the yolk have been mixed together into one, uniform texture. Remember that baby gagging (when you might hear sputtering, coughing, or retching noises) is a normal part of how your baby learns to eat solids, and will reduce over time.
As always, it’s important to create a safe eating environment for your baby to help reduce the risk of choking on any type of food. Some important tips for making your baby’s mealtimes as safe as possible include:
Use an upright, supportive highchair, and offer foods only when seated
Offer foods that are easily mashed between your fingers
Never leave your baby alone during mealtimes
Offer small amounts of food at a time
Limit distractions at mealtimes
Eggs for babies FAQ
Q: When can babies eat eggs according to the American Academy of Pediatrics?
Eggs can be introduced as soon as your baby starts solids, usually around 6 months, and not before 4 months.
Q: Can I give eggs as a first food?
Yes! Eggs are a great, nutrient-dense and versatile option to offer as a first food.
Q: Can babies eat eggs every day?
Yes, babies could eat eggs every day, but it’s important to remember that variety is a big goal of introducing solids. Serving the same food each day could prevent your baby from being exposed to a wide variety of other flavours and textures. We suggest offering eggs around 3 times per week, and switching up the ways that you prepare them.
Q: Which part of an egg should be given to the baby?
The whole thing! The egg white is packed full of protein, and egg yolk has fat and other important nutrients. Just remember that both the white and the yolk should be fully cooked.
Q: Can toddlers eat raw egg?
No, raw eggs and runny yolks should be avoided until age 5 because they carry a risk of foodborne illness.