Oct. 22, 2020

When to introduce eggs to babies

President's Blog
Margaret Hudson
President, Burnbrae Farms
4th Generation Farmer

Eggs contain protein, iron, choline and lutein, which are important nutrients for babies. And omega-3 enriched eggs have the added benefit of DHA, an omega-3 fat that is important for babies’ brain development. So, when can you introduce eggs into your baby’s diet? Which eggs should you choose, and how should the eggs be prepared? Let’s investigate!

When can I introduce eggs to my baby?

Most babies are ready for their first taste of solid food at around 6 months of age. Interestingly, not all experts agree on the exact age to start solids, so it’s common to hear different opinions from a child’s pediatrician or dietitian.

The World Health Organization recommends that infants start receiving complementary foods at 6 months, and Health Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) share this advice – with a small caveat. CPS says that if your baby is at high risk of developing an allergy (if they have eczema, or a parent or sibling has allergies) you can introduce solids once baby is 4 months old , but not sooner. Research shows that introducing allergenic foods – such as eggs, milk, wheat, peanuts and fish – at an early age may help prevent food allergies from developing. Of course, talk to your doctor for their advice.

There are also important signs to look for to see if your baby is ready to start solids. They should be showing interest in the food you are eating, be able to sit up with support, open their mouth when food comes their way, and turn away or provide other cues to show you that they are full. No matter what age you start at, the introduction of solid foods should not be delayed beyond 6 months, and allergenic solids should be given regularly once introduced.

Which type of eggs should I choose?

Any whole eggs are fine for babies. All eggs contain nutrients that are essential for a baby’s normal growth and development, including protein, iron, choline, lutein, plus vitamins A, D and E. Guidelines for feeding babies always recommends iron-rich foods beginning at six months because babies’ iron stores have been depleted by then, so eggs fit the bill as a source of iron.

Some parents opt for omega-3 enriched eggs because of the extra amount of DHA (a type of omega-3 fat). In infants and children, the brain grows at an incredibly fast pace, and rapidly accumulates DHA as part of its structure. In fact, no other fats accumulate in the brain at the same rate as DHA. Studies link sufficient amounts of DHA with improved cognitive function in infants. Babies under 2 years of age require 100 mg/day of DHA. One Burnbrae Farms Naturegg Omega 3 egg has 75 mg DHA.

How should I prepare the eggs?

Baby’s immune systems are continuing to develop at this stage of life, so it’s important to ensure that eggs are fully cooked, and are not raw or runny. The simplest option is hard-boiled eggs mashed with a bit of breast milk or formula. You can also try fully-cooked scrambled eggs, but remember that at 6 months of age, babies don’t need added salt or fat yet – so no butter or salt is needed!

As your baby develops into a toddler, keep eggs on the menu! They are a good source of protein, and are one of few foods to contain vitamin D (for healthy bones), choline (for brain health) and lutein (for eyesight). Older babies and toddlers will love our recipes for Egg “hot dogs”, Garden veggie omelette pinwheels and Unicorn eggs .

Margaret Hudson

President, Burnbrae Farms