Everything you need to know
Eggs are one of my favourite foods for feeding babies and children. Parents often have many questions about eggs – what the benefits are, when babies can have eggs, whether babies can have too many eggs and also what the risk of allergies are.
In this blog, I’ll cover everything you need to know about offering eggs to baby, including some of my favourite ways to use them!
What are the benefits of eggs for babies?
- An allergen (good to introduce early)
- A useful ingredient in lots of other foods
- Quick to cook
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- B vitamins such as folate & riboflavin
- As well as being an excellent source of protein and containing some omega-3 fatty acids too.*
* Info taken from https://www.egginfo.co.uk/egg-nutrition-and-health/egg-nutrition-information/vitamins-and-minerals & based on info from Nutrition & Health Claims register
That’s quite some feat!
And add to that the fact that they are so easy to combine with some veggies (peas, avocado, peppers, mushrooms) and some carbs ( particularly potatoes or toast fingers) and you can see why they are often a go to option for parents and when feeding baby!
When can my baby have eggs?
From around 6 months of age, when babies start weaning, eggs can be introduced to babies. For SOME babies, who are at risk of allergies, they may be recommended to offer eggs earlier, around 4 months of age.
Note that this should ONLY be done with specialist support, so if you have any concerns around your child’s risk of developing a food allergy, seek qualified support from a healthcare professional.
How to introduce eggs to babies
Eggs are one of the most common allergens and so it’s recommended to follow advice on introducing allergens when weaning when first offering eggs. Eggs are actually recommended as the first allergen to be introduced, followed by peanut, as research suggests this can help to prevent allergies.
When first offering egg, follow these steps:
- Make sure the egg is really well cooked
- Mash up (or blend) both the white and yolk and serve a very small amount (~1/4tsp) mixed in with a food your baby has had before
- Gradually build up the amount of egg offered over a few days, aiming to offer 1 whole egg over the course of a week
Can my baby have too many eggs?
There are no official recommendations on HOW MANY eggs can be eaten a day, for adults or for children. Therefore it’s absolutely fine to offer eggs regularly, as part of a balanced diet and offering an egg a day is also OK to do for babies during weaning and after first tastes.
Previously eggs were recommended to be limited to 3 a week for adults, which is why there are lots of questions about how many can be eaten. But this advice was dropped in 2007 due to more research and more knowledge on the safety of eggs.
HOWEVER, there is a caveat, and that is variety is always key when it comes to baby’s diet. So although eggs are super nutrient-rich, it’s good to get a variety of nutrients from a variety of sources each day. I also always recommend that people vary their protein sources so little ones are getting a variety from: meat, eggs, fish, beans, lentils, pulses etc. For more, read my blog on the importance of offering a variety of foods at a young age.
How to serve eggs to babies
Many parents often have questions about HOW eggs should be cooked for babies. In 1988 a politician said that eggs contained salmonella, leading to widespread concerns about eating them. Since then, chickens have been vaccinated and the risk of salmonella is minimal.
Previously, pregnant women and babies were recommended to ONLY have well cooked eggs, but this advice changed back in 2017 and now advice is that babies and pregnant women can have soft-cooked or runny eggs from 6 months AS LONG as they contain the Red Lion Stamp.
If you have eggs that aren’t Red Lion stamped, these are still absolutely fine for babies to have – just make sure they are well cooked all the way through, just as a precaution.
You can read more about these changes on the Food Standards Agency website.
Egg recipes for babies and children
Here are some of my favourite ways to use eggs for feeding kids:
- Dippy eggs with toast fingers – make sure eggs are Red Lion stamped if offering runny!
- In pancakes – try my baby pancake recipe or my pancake sheet recipe
- In muffins – these veggie breakfast muffins make an ideal breakfast or on-the-go snack
- Speedy Eggy Veg – absolutely one of my go-to recipes – super quick, tasty and a hit with the kids!
- Veggie omelette
- Egg-fried rice
- Scrambled eggs on toast
- Hard boiled eggs also make a great snack for on the go!
Some parents also wonder about whether eggs can be reheated for babies. Eggs can be stored in the fridge for 2 days, and can be offered reheated as long as they are piping hot all the way through. I have a blog all about storing, reheating and cooking foods for baby for more detail.
Can babies have eggs at night?
There’s a bit of a myth that babies shouldn’t be offered a lot of protein late in the evening, or at night as it can interfere with their sleep. There isn’t any evidence to support this, and there’s no good reason why you shouldn’t give eggs to your baby late in the day. You can read more about protein for babies and children in my blog.
A note on sustainability:
Some people worry about sustainability around eggs as well as for ethical reasons they may choose not to have them, and for very good reasons too. Some of the things I try to do for this myself are the following:
- Vary the protein sources that Raffy has so he’s having lots of plant based proteins such as chickpeas, lentils, tofu, beans, nut butters as well as some eggs and fish (and meat, if your family eats it)
- Choose organic and/or free range eggs where possible – they are a little more expensive, but if you vary eggs with other super cheap protein sources such as tins of beans or dried lentils, you can balance out the costs
- Choose local eggs from local hens and just make sure you cook them thoroughly. We have a farm near my parents house and also some family members who have their own eggs, so we will get our eggs from here whenever possible.
Check out my blog on healthy vegetarian diets for babies and children, as it might help to make sure you’re still balancing out nutrient intakes if you aren’t including fish, eggs and meat in little one’s diets.
What if my baby can’t have eggs?
For families who are vegan, or whose baby has an allergy to eggs, it can be difficult to find recipes and foods without egg. From a nutrition perspective, there aren’t any ‘perfect’ direct swaps for eggs, BUT there are more and more replacements that can be used to adapt recipes to be egg free.
I have a blog with my top-10 egg-free breakfast recipes. I also have a video on how to make a chia-egg to be used as an egg replacement. My colleague, Paula Hallam, who is a registered dietitian also has some fab ideas for egg replacements on her page too.