Every parent wants to ensure their child will grow healthily and happily. But parenthood can be overwhelming, with conflicting advice on what is and isn’t good for babies.
There are a lot of myths and misunderstanding about whether babies can eat eggs and at what age parents should start feeding them whole eggs.
Eggs are a great contributor of essential nutrients to a child’s healthy development. Not only are they packed with vitamins and minerals but they also provide a good source of protein, choline, and essential fatty acids. Read on for the most up-to-date guidelines and recommendations.
When to Give Eggs to Your Baby
It is recommended to introduce whole egg into your child’s diet in the first year of their life - around six months of age, but not before four months.
These guidelines are the same for all babies, even those with a high risk of developing food allergies as studies have shown that introducing eggs within the first year helps children to develop a tolerance to eggs.
The Benefits of Eggs in Your Child’s Diet
Packed with nutrients, including 11 different vitamins and minerals, eggs deliver many of your child’s nutritional needs. Combine that with the fact that they’re affordable and easy to prepare and you’ve got the perfect meal option for busy parents.
Eggs contain choline - a nutrient that contributes to healthy brain development, among other things. Studies show that pregnant and breastfeeding women who eat eggs are more likely to meet their need for choline. To find out more about eggs and pregnancy click here.
Eggs are a great source of iron, protein, essential fatty acids, and Vitamins A, D, E, and B12. Eaten as a high-protein breakfast, they can boost a child’s satiety levels and reduce hunger throughout the busy school day (thereby reducing their need to snack on unhealthy, high-sugar, high-fat foods).
Being high in protein, eggs will support a child’s growth and development. Australian dietary guidelines recommend 14g of protein a day for children aged 1-3 years and 20g a day for children 4-8 years. A single egg contains around 6g of protein which provides almost half the recommended daily intake for toddlers and almost a third of the recommended daily intake for older children.
Egg Allergies in Infants and Children
Egg allergies are not uncommon in children, affecting 9% of kids under 4 years old. Many children with egg allergies are allergic to raw egg but can tolerate baked or cooked eggs, and most will outgrow the allergy by the age of four.
To avoid any complications, you can try introducing cooked egg into your child’s diet slowly to monitor for potential reactions. This should be done in consultation with your health care professional.
Egg allergy symptoms may include:
Skin - hives, eczema, swelling, or flushing.
Digestive - nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea.
Respiratory - a running nose, wheezing, or trouble breathing.
Cardiovascular - a rapid heartbeat or low blood pressure.
How to Serve Eggs to Your Child
It is recommended to introduce the whole egg in the first year of your child’s life. You can do this by:
Avoid adding salt or other condiments and keep eggs plain to start with.
For older babies, hard-boiled eggs make great finger food as they are easily cut into bite-sized pieces.
Learn More About the Role of Eggs in Diet
Australian Eggs aims to help people better understand the role that eggs can play in a healthy diet. Find out more about the role of eggs in nutrition today.