In the past, the medical community recommended a specific order in which to introduce solid foods, and in a baby’s first year, eggs were not on that list. But in 2011, the American Academy of Pediatricians says it doesn’t matter what order you choose, or what foods you try, with the exception of honey, which you should never give a child under 1. Still, at 5 months, you may find it beneficial to wait before giving your baby eggs.
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Before you feed your baby eggs, ensure he is ready to eat solids. Your baby should be able to hold his head up and sit when supported, such as in his high chair. He should understand how to chew and swallow. If he pushes food out of his mouth with his tongue, he’s not yet ready for solids. If your baby doesn’t show interest in what you’re eating, consider waiting. At 5 months, breast milk or formula still provide your baby with complete nutrition, so there’s no need to push eggs.
While egg allergy is one of the more common food allergies in children, introducing eggs in the diet after 4 to 6 months does not seem to make the allergy more likely, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Having a first-degree relative with an allergic disorder makes your baby more likely to develop a food allergy, but even in this case, the research is the same: waiting past 4 to 6 months to introduce an egg or any common allergy food does not seem to make a difference. If you’re concerned about an allergy, consider waiting until 6 months to be on the safe side.
If you do give your 5-month-old baby eggs, watch for signs of an allergic reaction, and wait five days to introduce a new food. Signs of an egg allergy may present on the skin with hives, eczema, flushing or swelling. Your baby may have diarrhea, vomiting or a runny nose. Contact your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms. If your baby has difficulty breathing or swelling around the mouth, seek immediate care.
With a 5-month-old, you’re just beginning to introduce solid foods and want to start with the easiest foods to serve. Because you need to either finely chop the egg, puree it or mash it to prevent choking, you may find other foods, such as rice cereal and pureed baby foods, easier to serve. Spoon-feed your baby the egg until he understands how to feed himself finger foods. Don’t add any flavorings to the egg, such as salt or sweetener. Supervise your baby while he eats.