Eggs are an important weaning foods. They contain highly bioavailable protein, with vitamin B complex, vitamin D and choline. They reduce the risk of subsequent allergies. But more that half the babies do not get them early from their caregivers, says a new study.
Eggs, weaning foods and food allergies and sensitivities
Eggs are an essential food for kids. They make good weaning foods. And this is because they are rich in proteins, and other nutrients that are excellent for growth and development of babies. These include the B complex vitamins that are needed for energy production and for the proper functioning of various body enzymes. Eggs are a rich source of the sunshine vitamin or vitamin D that strengthens bones and teeth. And they also have the nutrient choline that is essential for cognitive growth.
Moreover, studies have shown that early introduction of eggs in the daily diet of infants can reduce the risk of allergies developing subsequently. 2% of children less than 2 years of age in the UK suffer from food allergies. Dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton said:
‘Introducing eggs at six months is recommended by experts since this lowers the risk of developing egg allergy . . . So, there’s no reason to wait to give eggs when weaning your baby at around six months.”
‘Eggs are a healthy, inexpensive food for babies since they contain high-quality protein for growth, vitamin D for bones and immunity, and choline for brain and cognitive function.”
The data collection and study findings
For this study, the research team provided questionnaire to families having babies. And the team wanted to know whether the parents or caregivers have begun feeding the baby eggs and if so at what age they started it.
And the results showed that around 54% of the babies aged six to eight months were yet to have eggs in their daily diet. This essential food commodity was offered weekly to a mere 46% of the babies of that age group.
This feeding of eggs was more in situations where the mother was only a homemaker or when baby demanded it after completing the pureed phase of foods and progressed to the finger foods stage.
The study authors and their expert say
Dr Hannah Rowan was an integral part of this study. She collected the data and said:
‘We need to explore why some nurseries are not putting eggs on the menu.’
‘Is it out-of-date concerns about allergy and food safety, or perhaps giving toast and cereal for breakfast is seen as more convenient?’
Also, read Eggs and good egg combinations!
Professor Amy Brown is attached to the Lactation, Infant Feeding And Translational Research at Swansea University. She is one of the study co-authors. She said:
‘The Department of Health recommends eggs stamped with the British Lion mark are safe for babies to eat partially cooked, and that eggs should be introduced from the start of weaning at six months.’
The British Egg Industry Council had funded this study while the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics published it.