If your family eats meat you may be wondering when you can start introducing it into your babies’ diet. In this blog, I’m going to touch briefly on when is the right time. What types of meat to offer and how’s best to serve it.
When can I offer my baby meat?
Meat can be offered in baby’s diet from around 6 months of age. After baby’s first tastes of food (I recommend starting with single tastes of veg for the first week or two of weaning as per Veg Led Weaning). From this point in your baby’s life, their iron stores start to deplete. So it’s super important to get iron-rich food in their diet, of which meat is a good source.
What kinds of meat should I be offering my baby?
Red meat such as beef, lamb and pork are a great way of including easily absorbed iron into their diet. However, it’s always important to offer a variety and so other sources of iron, including plant-based options are important too. Check out my blog all on iron for more info on this topic. Poultry such as chicken and turkey also provide B vitamins and zinc. Therefore these can be a good choice to offer your baby too.
How to offer meat to my baby?
Depending on your style of weaning there are a few ways to offer meat to your baby.
Check out my infographic that takes you through the different textures.
- Pureed – add some meat to a blender with a little water until smooth and runs off the spoon.
- Mashed – blended into a slightly thicker texture, this pictured here is with a little avocado/potato and a splash of milk. You can also use other veggies in the mix.
- Meatball – blended meat/poultry or using some minced meat mixed with some potato and baked in the oven for around 15 minutes until slightly firm. My video details how the balls should still be soft enough for baby to break up. You can also roll meat or mince with lots of other ingredients and roll it into a ball or a finger shaped chunk and bake it as a finger food for baby.
- Finger food – this should be roughly the length and width of an adult finger. Check out my video showing how the meat is easily squished between finger and thumb – meaning that it should be soft enough for baby to squash with their tongue and gums too.
If you’re offering finger food, slow cooked meat or poultry will produce a softer texture for your baby to handle or minced meat is also a good option. If you are blending food, ensure that there are no large chunks hiding and take care that all bones are removed first however you are serving meat. Cook meat thoroughly or use a cooking thermometer and avoid processed meats such as sausages and bacon as these often contain a lot of added salt.
I hope that has helps in the first steps to adding meat into your baby’s weaning journey and helps to answer the question of when can I give meat to my baby.