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When can I feed my baby eggs?

It is surprising to see the amount of controversy that exists around feeding eggs to young children. In the olden days eggs were considered completely safe foods for babies starting off on solids, then up till the last decade, Pediatricians recommended that mothers wait for at least a year to introduce eggs to their babies’ diets because of allergy concerns. However, current research has shown that there is no reason to wait so long and you may give your baby eggs once they start solids, as long as you are careful about using fresh eggs, know
how to tell if an egg is bad, and keep an eye out for allergic reactions and other sensitivities.

Benefits of eggs

Eggs are rich foods that have an abundance of proteins and healthy nutrients. They are available widely and easily at most grocery stores and markets. They are simple to prepare, are inexpensive and versatile and can be prepared in a variety of ways to suit your child’s tastes.

One large egg contains roughly 80  calories and about 7 grams of protein. The nutritional value of an egg, specially the yolk, is impressive. Eggs are rich in riboflavin, B12, phosphorus, selenium and folate. They also contain choline, which helps in promoting normal cell activity, liver function, and transporting nutrients to other areas of the body. It may even help in increasing your baby’s memory.

Possible risks of eggs for babies

About 2 percent of children may be allergic to eggs. That is why Paediatricians used to advise not feeding babies eggs until after their first birthday. While the yolk of an egg is not associated with allergic reactions, the whites contain proteins that have the potential to cause allergic reactions.

Signs of an allergic reaction or sensitivity

Babies whose immune systems have not developed fully may not be able to handle certain proteins in the egg white. As a result, they may experience allergic reaction symptoms if they consume eggs. Allergic reactions most commonly affect the skin, but may also impact the respiratory, digestive, or cardiovascular systems. Symptoms may include 

  • swelling, hives, eczema, or flushing

  • nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or pain

  • itching around the mouth

  • trouble breathing or wheezing, runny nose, 

  • Increased heartbeat, low blood pressure, anaphylaxis (rare)

The tendency to be allergic to something is often hereditary. If anyone in your family is allergic to eggs, it would be advisable to be cautious while introducing eggs to your baby’s diet. 

If your baby suffers from eczema, it would also be wise to be careful before introducing eggs as babies with eczema have a tendency to have food allergies. However most children outgrow egg allergies by time they are 5 years old. Your paediatrician is your best resource for what will work with your individual child.

If you have an inkling that your baby may be at risk of having a food allergy from eggs, you should also be aware of the fact that eggs are a hidden ingredient in almost all baked goods, and may be found in other foods as well. It is advisable that you read ingredient labels carefully before you introduce any new foods to your little one.

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