Egg: How to Introduce Your Baby to this Potentially Allergenic Food

  • Which part of the egg contains the potentially allergenic protein: the egg white or the egg yolk?
  • How to safely prepare eggs so your baby can pick them up and self-feed
  • Why an egg ladder can help reintroduce eggs if your baby previously reacted to egg


Episode Description

What if your baby is allergic to eggs? The only way to know if your baby has an egg allergy is to offer them egg. In this episode I’ll share some easy ways to make eggs safe for babies so your baby can start learning how to safely eat eggs.


Other Episode Related to this Topic

Links from Episode

Resources & Research

  • Koplin, Jennifer J et al. “Can early introduction of egg prevent egg allergy in infants? A population-based study.” The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology vol. 126,4 (2010): 807-13. 
  • Lemon-Mulé, Heather et al. “Immunologic changes in children with egg allergy ingesting extensively heated egg.” The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology vol. 122,5 (2008): 977-983.e1.
  • Leonard, Stephanie A et al. “Dietary baked egg accelerates resolution of egg allergy in children.” The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology vol. 130,2 (2012): 473-80.e1. 
  • Perkin, Michael R et al. “Randomized Trial of Introduction of Allergenic Foods in Breast-Fed Infants.” The New England journal of medicine vol. 374,18 (2016): 1733-43. 
Click Here for Episode Transcript Toggle answer visibility

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<v SPEAKER_2>And even if your baby is diagnosed with an egg allergy, the risk of that happening is quite low.

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<v SPEAKER_2>But if it does happen, it's not the end of the world because about 70% of children who have egg allergy will end up being able to tolerate baked egg.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Because when you heat the egg, it disrupts the protein that's responsible for egg allergy.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And so having safe and regular intake of baked egg foods can actually lead to tolerance or even resolution of that egg allergy over time.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Hey there, I'm Katie Ferraro, registered dietitian, college nutrition professor, and mom of seven, specializing in baby-led weaning.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Here on the Baby-Led Weaning With Katie Ferraro podcast, I help you strip out all of the noise and nonsense about feeding, giving you the confidence and knowledge you need to give your baby a safe start to solid foods using baby-led weaning.

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<v SPEAKER_2>How do you know if your baby is allergic to eggs?

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<v SPEAKER_2>The only way to know if your baby is allergic to a food is to offer your baby that food.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And in this episode, I want to talk about egg allergy, preventing egg allergy, and share some easy ways to make eggs safe for your baby so that they can start safely learning how to eat egg and hopefully lower the risk of egg allergy down the road.

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<v SPEAKER_2>In this episode, I'll cover which part of the egg contains the potentially allergenic protein.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Is it the egg white or the yolk?

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<v SPEAKER_2>Should your baby be having one or the other or both?

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<v SPEAKER_2>I'll tell you how to safely prepare eggs so that your baby can pick them up and feed it to themselves.

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<v SPEAKER_2>This is very, very doable with the baby-led weaning approach.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And then I'll explain how an egg ladder can actually help reintroduce egg to your baby if your baby previously reacted to egg.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Now be sure to hit follow or subscribe wherever you're listening to this podcast so that each week you'll get both of the new episodes that I release showing up in your feed.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Every Monday, I do a mini baby-led weaning training solo episode.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And then on Thursday, I do a longer interview with another feeding expert.

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<v SPEAKER_2>I like to start each of these baby-led weaning training episodes with a tip of the day.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And today's BLW tip of the day is offer your baby the whole egg.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Okay, the yolk is the part of the egg that contains the fat and it contains the iron and some of the other important nutrients.

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<v SPEAKER_2>But the white of the egg is where the protein lives.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And the potentially allergenic part of the food comes from the protein.

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<v SPEAKER_2>There's a smidge of protein in the yolk, but mostly it's egg white.

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<v SPEAKER_2>But we want your baby to get the nutrition that's in the yolk as well as the protein that's in the white for the allergy prevention component.

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<v SPEAKER_2>So best idea is offer both of them.

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<v SPEAKER_2>So one of my favorite ways to make eggs safe for baby-led weaning is to do fried egg strips.

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<v SPEAKER_2>I'll put some oil in my pan, any cooking oil of your choice, break the egg into it, the oil so the egg doesn't stick to the pan, okay?

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<v SPEAKER_2>Make a fried egg, but break the yolk up.

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<v SPEAKER_2>So I'll use my fork to break the yolk up and kind of spread it around where the white is.

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<v SPEAKER_2>So I'm getting a combination of both the white and the yolk.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Flip it over, cook it until that egg white is set, take it off the heat, cool it, and then cut that fried egg into strips about the size of your adult pinky finger.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Your baby can pick it up and feed it to themselves.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Hang tight, because in this episode, I'm also going to cover some of my other favorite ways to make eggs safe for Baby-Led Weaning.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Fried egg strips are great, but like eggs are so versatile that you're going to want to try some of these different ways.

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<v SPEAKER_2>I want to tell you a quick story about a mom in my program who offered egg to her baby 16 times, and on the 17th time, the baby had her reaction.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And I mentioned this as kind of an outlier story, okay?

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<v SPEAKER_2>The vast majority of your babies are not going to be allergic to egg.

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<v SPEAKER_2>They are not going to react to egg, but you're not going to know that unless you offer them the egg.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And when we look at the updated guidance about early introduction of potentially allergenic foods, you always see the guidelines.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Okay, offer these foods early and often.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And parents will be like, how early and how often and how much and exactly how?

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<v SPEAKER_2>And I want you to know that there's a lot of gray area in these recommendations.

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<v SPEAKER_2>These are relatively new recommendations that are evidence-based and certainly supported by research, but researchers are still kind of ironing out the details as far as like, well, like how many times do you do it before you can say, oh, they're not allergic to eggs?

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<v SPEAKER_2>And the answer is we don't really know.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Okay, what we do know for sure is that introduction of allergenic foods, it's not a one and done thing.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Like you don't just do the fried egg once on day five of Baby-Led Weaning, like, oh, they're not allergic to egg.

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<v SPEAKER_2>You want to continually be reintroducing and re-exposing your babies to these foods.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Like, do you need to do it every day?

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<v SPEAKER_2>No, actually we do run into families who kind of get in the habit of like, whoa, eggs are awesome, super easy way to do a protein, I'm reintroducing the allergenic food, like it's a good texture and finger food for my baby, and then they do eggs every single day.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And what you're doing there is you're limiting your baby's capacity to try other new foods if there's one food or a favorite food that you're always defaulting to.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Because especially if your baby loves eggs, what they're gonna do is they're smart and they're gonna sit around and ignore whatever the new food of the day is that you're trying to introduce because they know at the end of the meal, you're gonna come in with some eggs for them if that's what you've been doing.

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<v SPEAKER_2>So yes, we want you to do eggs frequently.

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<v SPEAKER_2>No, you don't need to count to the 16th time, but what was unusual, this mom, Super Type A, adds a lot of the parents in our program are, and I love that because as a dietician, I'm Super Type A myself.

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<v SPEAKER_2>I mean, I made a hundred first foods daily meal plan.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Like these moms want detail.

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<v SPEAKER_2>I'm gonna give you 20 full weeks of meal plans inside of our program.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And this mom was counting eggs 17th time the baby had a reaction.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And then with the recommendation of her pediatrician, and after we consulted, she did egg two more times.

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<v SPEAKER_2>The baby reacted and then reacted.

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<v SPEAKER_2>If you can replicate the reaction, then yes, there is concern for food allergy.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Ended up getting referral to a pediatric allergist.

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<v SPEAKER_2>The baby was tested.

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<v SPEAKER_2>The baby did be confirmed to have an egg allergy.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And the mom was kind of bummed because she's like, I really like eggs.

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<v SPEAKER_2>But there's lots of ways around egg.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Once you know your baby is allergic to egg and you have to avoid it, then you can't feed the baby egg.

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<v SPEAKER_2>However, there is this notion of an egg ladder.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And I had Carina Venter, who is a PhD dietitian who specializes in pediatric food allergies.

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<v SPEAKER_2>She actually wrote the validated egg ladder that's used to reintroduce egg to babies who have reacted to egg in the past.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And about 70% of kids who have egg allergy can actually tolerate baked egg because heating of the egg disrupts the protein that is responsible for the egg allergy.

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<v SPEAKER_2>So the safe and regular ingestion of these baked egg foods over time can lead to tolerance or even resolution of egg allergy.

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<v SPEAKER_2>So even though that mom was super like, oh, bummer, my baby has a food allergy, it's not necessarily a lifelong allergy.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Some people do grow out of their egg allergies, some people do not.

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<v SPEAKER_2>But it is important that you're speaking to a qualified professional about your baby's food allergy if they have one, and that if you're doing something like an egg ladder for the reintroduction of egg, that you're doing that under the guidance of a registered dietician or a physician who specializes in this.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Hey, we're going to take a quick break, but I'll be right back.

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<v SPEAKER_2>This episode is sponsored in part by Ritual Prenatal Vitamins.

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<v SPEAKER_2>I know I always continued my prenatal even after I gave birth.

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<v SPEAKER_2>In fact, the World Health Organization recommends continuing your prenatal until you start weaning.

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<v SPEAKER_2>So when should you be offering eggs?

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<v SPEAKER_2>Okay, back in 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics said that solid food should not be introduced into the diet of high-risk infants until they're six months of age, and the recommendation was to avoid dairy products until one year of age, egg until two years, and peanuts, nuts, and fish until three years.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And I want to point out, as we've covered elsewhere in this podcast, that that guidance was based on speculation.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Like, there was really no hard and fast research to say don't do dairy until one, don't do egg until two, and don't do peanut, nut, and fish until three.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Everything since then has been turned on its head with the release of new research and updated guidelines that support the earlier introduction of potentially allergenic foods like egg.

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<v SPEAKER_2>So offering foods like egg early and often can actually help prevent your baby's risk of developing egg allergy down the road.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And there are a variety of different ways that you can make eggs safe for baby-led weaning.

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<v SPEAKER_2>I already shared the idea of the fried egg strip.

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<v SPEAKER_2>You can certainly do hard-boiled eggs.

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<v SPEAKER_2>So I love hard-boiled eggs for baby-led weaning because the rubbery texture of the egg white, it's so unique.

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<v SPEAKER_2>It's pretty hard to find a rubbery texture that's also safe for your early eater to eat, but egg white when it's hard-boiled is one of the best ones.

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<v SPEAKER_2>I love watching babies pick up slices of hard-boiled egg and feed it to themselves.

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<v SPEAKER_2>When you hard-boil an egg, the mealy texture of the yolk is also a very unique and new texture experience for your baby.

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<v SPEAKER_2>So try out some hard-boiled eggs.

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<v SPEAKER_2>I like to use a hard-boiled egg slicer.

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<v SPEAKER_2>It's like three or four bucks on Amazon, but it's a great way to get the hard-boiled egg sliced neatly into pieces because I do not have the best knife skills, and every time I try to cut a hard-boiled egg, it turns into a disaster.

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<v SPEAKER_2>But the hard-boiled egg slicer, super fun.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Toddlers and older children love to use the hard-boiled egg slicer.

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<v SPEAKER_2>It's one of the few cutting tools that's actually pretty safe for kids to use in the kitchen.

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<v SPEAKER_2>So check out hard-boiled eggs.

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<v SPEAKER_2>People ask about scrambled eggs.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Totally depends because some people, like my husband, when he scrambles the eggs, he cuts them up into super duper duper duper tiny small pieces, like smaller than the size of a pea, and I personally hate that because I like big fluffy pieces of scrambled egg.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And you do you when it comes to scrambled eggs, but your baby who's an early eater, they can't pick up very small pieces of food yet because they don't have their pincer grasp.

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<v SPEAKER_2>The pieces of food for baby-led weaning for earlier eaters need to be longer pieces of food, shaped about the size of your adult pinky finger.

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<v SPEAKER_2>So if you can get those longer, bigger pieces of scrambled egg, do it, okay?

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<v SPEAKER_2>If you make your scrambled eggs mixed with milk, just remember that milk is a potentially allergenic food.

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<v SPEAKER_2>We don't introduce two new allergenic foods at the same time.

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<v SPEAKER_2>You got to keep them separate so that you can observe for any potential reaction.

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<v SPEAKER_2>But if your baby's already had cow's milk protein a number of times without reaction, then they're not allergic to cow's milk protein.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Or if they have formula, the base of formula is cow's milk protein, then don't worry about it and feel free to make your scrambled eggs with milk.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Or if you just want to play it safe, make them with water, which I know some people are very, very opinionated about whether scrambled eggs should have milk or water.

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<v SPEAKER_2>But again, you do you.

00:12:10.900 --> 00:12:14.660

<v SPEAKER_2>Just try not to add any added salt as well because we want to avoid excess salt for babies.

00:12:14.680 --> 00:12:20.260

<v SPEAKER_2>We want them to learn to taste the food and not the salt, but we really want them to get that egg white protein into their system.

00:12:20.620 --> 00:12:22.000

<v SPEAKER_2>You can do steamed eggs.

00:12:22.360 --> 00:12:26.700

<v SPEAKER_2>I'm a huge fan of the egg bites from Starbucks, but I got so sick of like paying six dollars for them.

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<v SPEAKER_2>That we have a sous vide machine at our house.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And as long as I can remember to boil the water earlier in the morning, I love to make steamed eggs.

00:12:35.120 --> 00:12:37.180

<v SPEAKER_2>So I do them in these little mason jars.

00:12:37.540 --> 00:12:43.120

<v SPEAKER_2>It's a good way to like do a make-ahead breakfast because sorry, I don't always have time to make a hot breakfast every morning and you don't need to.

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<v SPEAKER_2>But steaming eggs makes a really cool texture for your baby to try out.

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<v SPEAKER_2>If you're in my program, Baby-Led Weaning With Katie Ferraro, we have recipes for steamed eggs, which are just super fun and easy.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And adults, kids, babies love them as well.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Now, sometimes we get questions about runny eggs.

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<v SPEAKER_2>Runny eggs are not ideal for babies.

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<v SPEAKER_2>I did a whole episode on runny egg yolks.

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<v SPEAKER_2>It's called Hard Facts on Runny Yolks.

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<v SPEAKER_2>And it's basically about why we want to make sure that the egg yolk is set, okay?

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<v SPEAKER_2>And it's all about food safety and foodborne illness prevention.

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<v SPEAKER_2>But actually, if you're eating eggs at a restaurant, they tend to be pasteurized in shell eggs, so you don't have to worry so much about it compared to home cooking of eggs.

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<v SPEAKER_2>I just always feel safe for making sure the white is set and the yolk is set and offering that to baby and avoiding the runny yolks when I'm cooking at home.

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<v SPEAKER_2>I have a whole podcast episode with seven ways to make eggs safe for baby-led weaning with like tons more egg cookery ideas if you need it.

00:13:39.620 --> 00:13:43.340

<v SPEAKER_2>If you like making recipes for your baby, eggs are so fun.

00:13:43.360 --> 00:13:44.320

<v SPEAKER_2>I love baking eggs.

00:13:44.340 --> 00:13:47.580

<v SPEAKER_2>Like the mess is way less than if you're doing it on the stovetop.

00:13:47.860 --> 00:13:51.240

<v SPEAKER_2>And I have a really cool zucchini egg cup recipe.

00:13:51.260 --> 00:14:02.080

<v SPEAKER_2>So if you guys are on Instagram, if you send me a DM or comment on any post with the word egg cups, E-G-G-C-U-P-S, I will DM you my zucchini egg cup recipe.

00:14:02.100 --> 00:14:07.480

<v SPEAKER_2>But it's like a really awesome way to also incorporate a vegetable breakfast, which sometimes can be a little bit hard.

00:14:07.860 --> 00:14:09.040

<v SPEAKER_2>Fruit of breakfast, no brainer.

00:14:09.060 --> 00:14:11.780

<v SPEAKER_2>But vegetable, you guys are going to love these zucchini egg cups.

00:14:12.020 --> 00:14:21.640

<v SPEAKER_2>If you want more recipes about eggs and different ways to make eggs safe at the different ages and phases of baby-led weaning, check out my program Baby-Led Weaning With Katie Ferraro.

00:14:21.800 --> 00:14:23.980

<v SPEAKER_2>I have 100 First Foods Daily Meal Plan.

00:14:24.360 --> 00:14:32.900

<v SPEAKER_2>It builds on the texture and the different ingredients in all the recipes as you go through the days so that you're not only introducing the new allergenic foods.

00:14:32.920 --> 00:14:39.360

<v SPEAKER_2>We actually get all nine of the allergenic foods knocked out in the first nine weeks of the program, but we're also reintroducing those.

00:14:39.380 --> 00:14:48.240

<v SPEAKER_2>So if you try egg, then in the coming days and weeks, if you're following the 100 First Foods Daily Meal Plan, you'll actually be reintroducing your baby to those potentially allergenic foods.

00:14:48.460 --> 00:14:53.380

<v SPEAKER_2>You can check that program out at babyledweaning.co.uk.

00:14:53.600 --> 00:15:01.200

<v SPEAKER_2>When you guys get to phase two of Baby-Led Weaning, which is the second eight weeks of Baby-Led Weaning, we move into a lot of combination food recipes.

00:15:01.220 --> 00:15:02.660

<v SPEAKER_2>We're doing trickier textures.

00:15:02.860 --> 00:15:04.660

<v SPEAKER_2>We have a lot of fun with eggs there.

00:15:04.660 --> 00:15:09.020

<v SPEAKER_2>Again, that's at babyledweaning.co.uk.

00:15:09.200 --> 00:15:10.480

<v SPEAKER_2>Thank you so much for listening.

00:15:10.540 --> 00:15:12.720

<v SPEAKER_2>Thank you to our partners at Airwave Media.

00:15:12.800 --> 00:15:18.000

<v SPEAKER_2>If you guys like podcasts that feature food and science and using your brain, check out some of the podcasts from Airwave.

00:15:18.020 --> 00:15:20.060

<v SPEAKER_2>We're online at blwpodcast.com.

00:15:20.820 --> 00:15:22.440

<v SPEAKER_2>Thanks for listening, and I'll see you next time.

00:15:31.620 --> 00:15:45.940

<v SPEAKER_3>At a time when change is constant, and we are pulled in far too many directions, we need a way to stay present to life and to increase our ability to remain calm, think clearly, and maintain our well-being.

00:15:46.560 --> 00:15:51.740

<v SPEAKER_3>Many studies indicate mindfulness improves our mental, emotional, and physical health.

00:15:52.920 --> 00:15:59.540

<v SPEAKER_3>On a mindful moment with Teresa McKee, you can learn how to practice mindfulness and enjoy its many benefits.

00:15:59.780 --> 00:16:08.660

<v SPEAKER_3>Tune in for guided meditations and to hear tips and advice from some of the most respected experts in the fields of mental health and mindfulness.

00:16:09.280 --> 00:16:11.660

<v SPEAKER_3>The world truly can be a better place.

00:16:12.260 --> 00:16:14.560

<v SPEAKER_3>It all starts with a mindful moment.


The Program Baby-Led Weaning with Katie Ferraro

A digital course & step-by-step guide for starting solid foods safely with baby-led weaning

  • Feeding schedule and meal plans 100 FIRST FOODS DAILY MEAL PLAN WITH FOOD PREP VIDEOS

Baby-Led Weaning for Beginners Free Workshop

Is your baby ready to start solid foods, but you’re not sure what to do? Register for this free online video workshop and learn how to give your baby a safe start to solid foods using baby-led weaning. Everyone on this free training receives a copy of Katie’s original 100 FIRST FOODS™ list. You can take this workshop right now, later today when your baby naps, or tomorrow…whatever works for you!