Pediatricians used to advise leaving eggs out of your baby’s diet for the first year of life. It was thought that introducing them later would reduce the likelihood of an egg allergy.

Turns out, that advice isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There is no evidence that early exposure to eggs will affect your baby’s odds of developing an egg allergy, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. In fact, eggs may be recommended as an early food, after your baby has tried a few others.

Here is a breakdown of everything you need to know about adding eggs to your baby’s diet.

Why Eggs

A nutrient-dense food, eggs are packed with protein and rich in vitamins A, B, D, E, and K. They contain essential minerals like iron, folate, and choline. And they’re an excellent source of the dietary carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are thought to decrease the risk of diseases like heart disease and certain cancers.

Eggs enhanced with omega-3 provide the fatty acids essential for brain growth and development. According to the Center for Genetics Nutrition and Health, omega-3s may also help prevent and treat:

  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • inflammation
  • mental health disorders
  • diabetes
  • digestive disorders
  • autoimmune diseases

How to Prepare Them

Once your baby is able to steadily hold their head upright, sit unsupported, and begins to show an interest in what you’re eating, they’re probably ready to start on solid foods.

Baby cereals and purees are popular starters, and adding eggs to either one is simple. You can also just hard-boil an egg, mash up the yolk, and add breast milk, formula, or water to thin it out. Here are a few recipes to get you started.

Around 8 to 10 months, you can start offering finger foods. Scrambled or chopped hard-boiled eggs are as easy to make as they are for tiny hands to grab. And that’s just the beginning. Here are some recipe ideas.

What You Need to Know

It’s perfectly safe for your baby to consume eggs on a daily basis, according to the Cleveland Clinic. If you have any questions or concerns about eggs and your baby’s diet, talk to your pediatrician.

Only buy eggs stored in a refrigerator or refrigerated case and be sure to peek inside the carton to check that the eggs are clean and intact. Look for USDA Grade AA or A eggs and always check the expiration date before purchasing. Transfer eggs to the coldest section of your home refrigerator as soon as possible.

Wash your hands, cutting boards, food prep areas, and cooking implements with warm, soapy water before and after handling eggs.

When cooking, especially for your baby, make sure both the yolk and whites are firm before serving. Quiches, frittatas, casseroles, and any other dish containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees. Serve cooked egg immediately and never let it sit out for more than two hours.

You can also refrigerate eggs and egg-containing dishes for later use, but don’t keep them any longer than three or four days (hard-boiled eggs can last up to one week). Reheat warm egg dishes to 165 degrees before serving.

Taking cooked eggs to go? Store them in an insulated container with some ice or a few frozen packs to keep them cool until they can be reheated.

If your baby has or develops an egg allergy, talk to your doctor about adding baked egg to your baby’s meal plan. In a 2012 study of 79 children with known egg allergies, 89 percent were able to tolerate baked egg and 53 percent were able to tolerate regular eggs after roughly 38 months of incorporating baked egg into their diets.

Takeaway

Eggs are an almost perfect food. They contain high amounts of quality protein and almost all of the essential vitamins and minerals necessary in the human diet.

Contrary to what was once believed, consuming eggs before 12 months is not a determining factor in allergy development. In fact, it may even prevent and possibly reverse egg allergies.

Extremely versatile and easy to prepare, eggs are perfect for every stage and occasion. Just be sure to select, handle, and store with care to prevent foodborne illnesses.

When it comes to a healthy and balanced diet for your baby, eggs are a positively egg-cellent choice.