Adding eggs to your baby’s diet: When and how

Did you know that the early introduction of eggs to your baby’s diet is associated with reduced egg allergy risk?

 Offer your baby age-appropriate purees and soft foods, which will differ from young babies just starting out with solids to older babies with more practice in their newfound eating skills.

Nutritious, delicious, affordable, and highly versatile, the simple egg is an easy and suitable option to introduce to your baby from early on in your weaning journey.

When to give your baby eggs

The first bath. The first sleepover at granny. The first giggle. And now, the first taste of food as you wean your baby onto solid foods…

The World Health Organisation, supported by the South African Department of Health, encourages that babies start solid food from six months. This is an optimal time when your baby’s gut and kidneys are physiologically mature enough to handle this newfound solid food. Starting solids can be very confusing for parents with questions like what to eat, how much, and when?  With all this concern, the good news is there is one less food to worry about – eggs.

Allergy awareness

Many parents understandably worry about introducing potentially allergenic foods like eggs to their baby’s diet. The truth is that the risk of food allergies is far less common than believed – a mere 3 in 100 children, according to local data. Despite this, many parents choose to delay the introduction of food allergens. The opposite is recommended though. Baby experts now suggest that parents introduce potentially allergenic foods as soon as weaning is started. Supporting this is the fact that the early introduction of eggs to a baby’s diet is associated with reduced egg allergy risk, according to research.

Brain boost

Findings from a South American study suggest that eating eggs early in childhood could contribute to healthy brain development and function. Researchers think that this is because of choline, an important nutrient for optimal brain and nervous system function.

Good to know: Just one egg contains all the choline that a weaning baby of six months needs? Eggs also package other key nutrients for brain health, like protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and biotin.

Grow baby, grow

There is a lot of research showing that egg-eating youngsters may have better growth and development. This is linked to diets low in choline possibly increasing stunting in young children. The early introduction of eggs, one of the best food sources of choline, can greatly improve a baby’s growth. Added to this, we know that eggs are high in good quality protein. Protein provides the building blocks for muscle, growth, and a healthy immune system for growing, busy little bodies.

Now while good growth is important, maintaining a healthy weight is just as key. Worrisome local statistics show that boys who are obese at 4 – 8 years are 20 times more likely to become obese teenagers and girls who are obese at 4 – 8 years are 42 times more likely. In a 2015 study, when children (aged 8 – 12 years) had eggs for breakfast, 32% reported feeling fuller and 14% felt less hungry, which is why eggs may help manage weight in older children.

Good to know: Whether plain or mixed with vegetables and cheese, well-cooked whole eggs are recommended for your baby’s diet. Omelettes, scrambled eggs, or French toast are easy egg recipes that will be a great start to your child’s journey of healthy eating.