Current research suggests that we should be exposing our babies to eggs and nuts much earlier than was previously advised. The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute has carried out the world’s biggest paediatric study of food allergy, HealthNuts, involving 5300 babies and toddlers. Based on its findings, it is now advising parents to “introduce a wide range of foods early on”. “We believe that late introduction of egg does not reduce the risk of developing an egg allergy”. It also suggests that introduction of cooked egg between 4 to 6 months is safe and may even be protective against egg allergy
So, if you haven’t tried eggs and nuts already, especially if your baby is nearer 8 or 9 months of age it’s important to do so. For their own immunity and for you to gauge their response to these common allergens.
Egg is a one of the more common food allergens in pre-schoolers, plus it is found in so many things; once your baby is sitting up and joining in the party, so to speak, it’s likely that they might be offered a piece of muffin, cake or even quiche by some well meaning friend or family member, without you even knowing.
This was advice I was given by my MCHN and it proved invaluable as 3 days after she said it, sure enough it happened to me at my sister-in-laws 40th birthday party. Luckily it was all fine but it’s a story I share regularly as its really important for you to test your baby on egg, and peanuts, in a safe and calm environment where you can react if necessary.
Of course if you have a history of allergies to these foods in your family then consult your health professional but if not, don’t over think it, just do it.
For egg it’s a good idea to boil, poach or scramble an egg around breakfast time on a day you are not racing out the door, and better still if your partner is also home. Make sure the egg is fully cooked – both white and yolk are firm. Offer baby a taste and watch for any physical reactions such as an itchy or runny nose, a rash (hives) or swelling.
Some specialists recommend starting with a boiled egg and following a staged process of yolk first followed by white. It is a tedious process but if you have any concerns or a history of allergies it might be worth the effort. Consult your health professional for more information.
For more information on the results of Murdoch Children’s Research Institute HealthNuts study, written in plain English, then check this out http://mdhs.unimelb.edu.au/news/give-them-eggs-earlieror for the longer version – http://www.mcri.edu.au/research/research-projects/healthnuts/publications/
So, in summary, get on to it and good luck!