Red Meat For Babies – When to Introduce, Benefits and Precautions

6 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.

Red Meat For Babies

The role of red meat in a baby’s diet has recently become a topic of discussion. Previously pediatricians and nutritionists used to suggest not to provide red meat to babies due to its high fat intake. But some recent studies show the beneficial factors of red meat for babies. Anything excessive is poison. But if you can feed your baby in the right quantity then red meat can be an excellent source of high protein, fatty acids and a variety of micronutrients.

Red meat means meat which is red such as beef, lamb, pork and game. In comparison with normal meat like chicken or goose or fish meat. Red meat consists of more protein and hence is a bit more difficult to digest for small babies. So when to introduce red meat to babies and what precautions need to be followed for that? What are the benefits and risk factors of red meat? Here is all you need to know.

In This Article

Is Red Meat Safe For Babies?

Yes, fresh and organic red meat in small quantities is completely safe for babies. Instead of sliced pieces, you must provide red meat to your baby in a pureed form to avoid choking hazards until your baby starts chewing. After your baby sprouts a couple of teeth and is ready for finger foods, you can provide tiny slices of meat to let them chew. Minced or pureed red meat along with veggies and lentils can make a wholesome and filling meal for the baby.

But the high protein and fat present in red meat makes it quite difficult to digest even for an adult. As your baby’s digestive system is still developing too much protein can upset the stomach and lead to dehydration. So, the quantity is very important here.

When Can You Introduce Red Meat to Babies?

You can start providing red meat to your baby as soon as they start having solids. To be exact you can introduce red meat to your baby between 6 to 8 months. At first, provide one or two teaspoons of a well-boiled meat puree along with the rice or dal. Make a slow start, that means giving red meat 2 or 3 times a week. If the baby can digest it and has no allergic reaction against red meat, then you can gradually increase the frequency.

Amazing Top 5 Health Benefits of Red Meat For Babies

Health Benefits of Red Meat For Babies

A small quantity of red meat can provide loads of benefits for your growing baby. The benefits of red meat are.

1. Presence of Macronutrients

Red meat is the house of rich biological value protein and all essential amino acids required by babies for rapid growth. A 100 g of raw red meat contains 20-24 g of protein. The fat present in red meat makes your baby more energized. But excess fat increases the risk of blood cholesterol. So, while choosing red meat from the market cut off the fat portion from the meat.

2. Presence of Micronutrients

Red meat contains essential micronutrients like iron and zinc. Copper and manganese are also present in meat. These nutrients in red meat are bioavailable which means our body can easily absorb these nutrients from meat.

[Read : Manganese For Babies]

3. More Nutrients in Less Portion

Meat can provide much more nutrients than cereals or fruit of the same proportion. The tummy of your baby is very tiny so filling it with all the nutrients becomes a struggle. Meat can serve the purpose very easily. Your baby will feel full for a longer time and feel energetic as well.

4. Source of Vitamin B12

Any sort of animal protein may it be meat or egg or dairy products, is an excellent source of vitamin B12. It is necessary for the formation of the nerve cells of your baby. Vitamin B12 along with folic acid and vitamin B9 helps to form red blood cells. A deficiency in Vitamin B 12 can thus cause anemia and delayed motor skills due to its effect on the nerve cells.

[Read : Developmental Delays in Babies]

5. Increases Iron Absorption From Other Foods

Red meat is not merely a source of iron. It can also increase iron absorption from other foods. So, meat along with other iron-rich veggies can double the iron intake.

How Do You Cook Red Meat For Baby Food?

Boiled red meat is safe and healthy for the baby. Just take 2 to 3 small cubes of pork or lamb or beef meat and put it on the boiling pan with 2 to 3 cups of water. Let it boil for 15 to 20 minutes until the meat gets soft. Then take the pieces and mince them with a spoon or grind them with the blender and serve it along with the veggies or rice.

Precautions to Follow When Introducing Red Meat to Babies

Introducing Red Meat to Babies

Some basic precautions you will need to follow while introducing red meat to your baby. These are:

  • Always choose fresh meat for your baby.
  • Do not go for packaged meat as it contains high levels of sodium and preservatives.
  • Buy boneless meat.
  • Trim the fat well as the baby’s tummy cannot digest fat.
  • Clean the meat well.
  • Cook the meat thoroughly in a pan or a slow cooker till well done.
  • Do not serve rare or undercooked meat. It is a major source of food poisoning.

Are There Any Side Effects of Red Meat For Babies?

Side Effects of Red Meat For Babies

Red meat can cause allergic reactions in some babies. As the immune system of the baby is still developing, it can mistake the high protein of red meat as a foreign pathogen and react against it.

To avoid it you must start with very little quality to check if your baby is having an allergic outbreak like swelling in the face or lips, skin hives, or diarrhea.

Taking too much red meat can cause obesity due to the fat factor. And excessive cholesterol can cause heart blockage. So, it vital to limit the intake of red meat.

Nutritious Red Meat Recipes For Babies

There are plenty of tasty red meat recipes you can try for your baby. Such like:

  • Meat and veggies puree
  • Meat fruit puree
  • Meat and potato puree
  • Baby beef stew

So red meat for infants is completely safe and healthy if you follow proper guidelines, cooking methods and most importantly, moderation. When in doubt, always consult your pediatrician before starting red meat for your munchkin.

[Read : Potatoes For Babies]


1. What Red Meat Can You Give Your Baby?

You can serve your baby any kind of red meat like pork or beef or lamb. They are all nutrition rich.

2. How Often Should Babies Eat Red Meat?

As the baby’s stomach cannot digest much protein it is better to provide red meat about twice a week to start off with. Later, you can give it to them on alternative days if needed. And the quantity should not exceed 2/3 teaspoon for small babies.

3. Can Babies Digest Red Meat?

Yes, babies above 6 months generally can digest a small amount of well-cooked red meat. But if you see a difficulty in digestion then pause it for 1 month and then try again. You can talk to a pediatrician on the right time to start meat for your baby.

Read Also: Shellfish For Babies – When to Introduce, Health Benefits and Precautions

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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