Breakfast is hands down my favorite meal. I look forward to pancakes on the weekends and reach for eggs after exercise no matter what meal of the day it is. A dietitian friend who is aware of my love for pancakes even sent Cooper a pancake onesie knowing how excited I would be when we could share that meal together. Surely, eggs and pancakes were both bound to be some of the first foods I introduced Cooper to, and now two months later, his egg-based baby pancakes aka “Coopercakes” are regularly on his plate!
This is a recipe I’ve been making for Cooper for over 2 months now, that can be enjoyed in many homes. Thanks to Egg Nutrition Center for sponsoring this post! All scientific information is research-based and all opinions are my own.
The Benefits of Introducing Potential Allergens Early
With eggs being one of the 8 major allergens (along with milk, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and wheat), and with pancakes often containing added sugar and many ingredients, it may be confusing to some of you that I’d choose egg-based pancakes as a first food for my baby boy. I assure you that these pancakes are not only tasty, but also nourishing and benefiting his short and long term health!
Let’s start with the allergy risk. Many of you may have had infants long ago or not so not long ago, when the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that eggs not be introduced until after two years of age in high-risk families. This may have also prompted families not at high risk to introduce potentially allergenic foods late as well. The AAP now suggests, based on recent research, that introducing allergenic foods, like eggs, into the diet of infants between 4 and 6 months may actually lower their chances of developing food allergies. Please speak with your pediatrician before introducing allergenic foods to your infant as individualized recommendations may be provided based on your family history.
Nutrient Quality of Pancakes for Babies
No one says pancakes have to come out of a box and include lots of added sugar. My buckwheat oat pancakes, which include no added sugar, are regularly on our plates. However, without the toppings I like to add, they’re a little dry and could make it difficult to chew and swallow for a new baby learning to eat. Furthermore, while it’s okay to introduce multiple foods at once, the pancakes I created for Cooper have fewer ingredients so that they were able to be introduced right away when we started solids at 6 months and in case there was a reaction, we’d be able to determine what food caused the reaction more easily.
Here’s what baby’s first pancake recipe provides:
- High nutritive value (more on this below) from the eggs and an iron fortified “baby cereal”
- Appropriate texture for picking up the pancake and chewing it
- The ability to be prepped ahead, then stored in the refrigerator or freezer for later
- Early introduction of the egg allergen to reduce the risk of developing an egg allergy
- A vehicle for introduction of other allergens such as peanuts and tree nuts as toppings
- An extremely affordable option to nourish your child
Looking for more infant nutrition and child feeding tips? Check out my Definitive Resource List For Infant & Child Nutrition.
Ingredients & Nutrients in Baby’s First Pancakes
The recipe is relatively simple: one large egg, one medium banana, 3 tbsp fortified infant oat cereal, ground cinnamon. Since adequate nutrition in the first 1000 days of life (starting with fetal development during pregnancy!) is so important, I highly recommend including this balanced and nutrient-dense staple in your infant and toddler’s diet on a regular basis like we do.
Eggs: One large egg provides 13 essential nutrients and 6 grams of high-quality protein. Choline and lutein, two nutrients found in egg yolks, are crucial for baby’s brain development (which means they’re also important for pregnant women). Eggs also contain iron, the most common nutrient associated with deficiencies in the US and the world. One egg a day has even been shown to boost height and weight of at-risk infants!
Bananas: A convenient source of energy for baby, bananas also provide fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, and manganese along with smaller amounts of a variety of nutrients.
Iron-fortified Infant Cereal: A nutrient of concern for many infants is iron, so iron-containing foods are recommended right away. While it is entirely possible to provide adequate iron from whole foods, a boost from a fortified infant oat cereal can be a good insurance. Oats also provide energy from starch and two types of fiber that support gastrointestinal health.
Cinnamon: Infant taste preferences develop early, so it’s a great idea to include spices in baby’s diet right away! Cinnamon and other spices provide phytochemical compounds that collectively with vitamins and minerals found in foods, can enhance health.
- Since it’s recommended to limit excess salt in an infant’s diet, this recipe leaves leaveners like baking soda and baking powder out. To achieve a less dense and more fluffy texture, directions include whisking the egg white separately before folding into the batter. Once baby has been eating solids for a few months, or if you’re making this for your toddler, add the whole egg at once, and add a ¼ tsp of baking powder and 1/8 tsp of baking soda.
- When baby is first learning to eat, you may cut or tear the pancakes into longer strips. You can also cook them this way so it is easier for your child to grab and pick up the pancake and get it to his or her mouth.
- If you feel baby’s first pancakes are too wet after cooking, it may be that you’re using too large or too ripe of a banana. Add an extra 1/2 – 1 tbsp of oat cereal if your banana is extremely ripe and use 3/4-7/8 of a large banana versus the whole thing.
- I often mix 1 tbsp of breast milk with ½ tbsp of peanut butter or nut butter and spread it on top for exposure to other allergens and additional flavor and nutrients.
We hope your baby or toddler enjoys these pancakes as much as Cooper! Questions on eggs or allergens? Have a favorite way you include eggs in your baby’s diet? Share in the comments below!
Baby's First Pancakes
- 1 egg large
- 1 medium banana mashed
- 4 tbsp iron-fortified infant oat cereal
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp baking powder optional, see recipe notes
- Separate the egg white and yolk into two small mixing bowls.
- Mix the mashed banana, cereal and cinnamon with the egg yolk.
- Whisk the egg white vigorously until it is foamy, before folding into the rest of the mixture.
- Heat an eco-friendly non-stick pan over low-medium heat and lightly coat with preferred cooking oil, such as avocado oil.
- Add 2 tbsp of batter at a time to the pan to form pancakes. Cover the pancakes and cook for 1-2 minutes. Once bubbles begin forming, flip the pancake. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook an additional 2 minutes.
- Let cool before serving to your child, or before storing in the refrigerator up to 4 days or freezer up to 3 months.