One-year-olds should eat a varied diet that provides sufficient amounts of protein, fats and carbohydrates, and a range of essential vitamins and minerals. Eggs provide a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals, and 1-year-olds that are not allergic to eggs can eat eggs as part of a balanced diet. Allergic reactions to egg yolk are extremely rare; however, egg white allergy is one of the most common childhood food allergies. It is important to introduce eggs, especially egg whites, at an appropriate age and stage of your baby's weaning, and to remain aware of possible symptoms of egg allergy.
Egg allergy is caused by a malfunctioning immune system that recognizes proteins in egg whites as allergens and triggers the production of antibodies to neutralize harmful effects. Production of antibodies causes the release of histamine, which leads to allergic reactions that range from mild to severe. Allergic reactions include skin rashes, hives, excess mucus production, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, breathing problems and a potentially fatal condition called anaphylactic shock.
Infants and young children are at greater risk than adults of developing egg allergy because children's digestive systems are relatively immature. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants consume only breast milk or formula at least until the age of 4 months, and preferably until they are 6 months old to prevent the development of gastro-intestinal sensitivity. A child has an increased risk of developing egg allergy if one, or both of his parents experience asthma, hay fever, eczema, hives or any type of food allergy. Children with a type of eczema called atopic dermatitis are also at greater risk of developing an allergic reaction to eggs.
According to the AAP, the foods you expose your baby to during pregnancy and lactation is unlikely to raise the risk of your baby developing a food allergy, even though many food antigens can be found in human milk. However, if you are breastfeeding, and your infant shows symptoms of possible food allergy, consult a doctor for immediate advice. You may need to eliminate certain foods, such as eggs, one at a time from your diet to determine the cause of your infant's reaction, especially if you have a family history food allergy.
When weaning your baby, introduce new foods one at a time, and leave an observation period of at least four days between the introduction of each new food. If your baby shows any unusual symptoms, such as diarrhea or wheeziness, during the observation period, consult your pediatrician for advice. If you have a family history of food allergies, wait until your child is 12 months old before introducing eggs into her diet. If there is no family history of food allergies, introduce well-cooked egg yolks to your baby at around the age of 8 months, and offer cooked, whole eggs, and whole egg products at the age of 12 months. The majority of children who develop egg allergy become desensitized to egg allergens by the age of 5.