When Can I Give Meat To Baby?

6 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

giving meat for babies

As your baby grows, the nutritional requirements of the body also increase. Mostly for the first six months, their primary source of nutrition is breast milk. Thereafter vegetable and fruit purees are gradually introduced to supplement growth. However, the protein and iron needs of the body may not be adequately met just by these purees. This is where many parents raise the query “when can I give meat to baby”.

As your baby starts eating other foods, he absorbs less iron from breast milk. Vegetarian counterparts need to find alternate sources to meet these demands. Read below to know more everything about incorporating meat into your baby’s diet.

In This Article

When Can I Give Meat To My Baby?

Once your baby has become used to semi-solids such as mashed vegetables and fruits, it’s the perfect time to introduce them to meat. Usually, this is somewhere between 7-10 months. Your baby has not developed molars yet, so you need to puree meat so that it is easily swallowed by the baby.

Now pureeing chicken or meat may have a grainy texture which your little one may not like. If your baby displays an aversion to food after adding meat to it, then you should perhaps wait for a few days and then try giving them again. However, it is always better to follow three-day rule when introducing any new foods to the baby. The introduction of meat to the baby is generally in the form of chicken or turkey, and red meats follow later after the molars sprout up.

You need to stick to one meat at a time, say, chicken, and puree it along with your baby’s favorite meal. Then gradually increase the content of chicken in it and with time, your baby will be able to enjoy chicken on its own.

Which Meat Should I Start With?

baby eating chicken

Chicken is considered the safest bet among meats,  it is the ideal first meat for babies. This is large because of its soft texture and its ability to blend into vegetarian meals and lend a creamy texture.

Chicken also has a mild taste that does not predominate others and therefore can also be mixed with different foods. The upside is you can serve it both as a sweet and savory! Thereafter, you can introduce fish and lamb to your baby.

How Should I Cook Meat For My Baby?

Meats can be difficult to digest for the baby when compared to fruits and vegetables. To improve the digestibility, it is necessary to break the fibers and connective tissues in the meat by cooking it thoroughly. Thus, no matter whatever meat you select for your baby, it should be thoroughly cooked.

Also make sure it is tender, without any bones, and moist. Slow cooking preserves the juices of the meat which enhances the flavor and is adequately cooked as well. Simply pop in a ton of veggies and woohoo! Your baby will be fed with a nutritional feast! It’s best to puree the meat when introducing it to your baby’s diet.

As your baby grows, you may give him tiny nibbles and later progress on to finger foods. Whether it’s fresh or frozen meat, first wash it thoroughly, cut it into small pieces, grind it in a mixer and then cook. You may cook it with vegetables, boil it or add it to mashes. Some mums like to add potatoes or mashed carrots to meat as it keeps the puree smooth.

How To Cook Meat For a 6 Month Old

If your baby is 6 months old, then they are still learning to adapt for solids. Hence, introducing meat at this age needs extra care. First step is to cook the meat completely, any undercooked and raw meat can be harmful for your little one. For easier slurping, you can puree it and blend it with other vegetables to bring the consistency. Load a spoon and offer it to your baby, maintain a arm-length’s distance and see if they are fine with the taste.

How To Cook Meat For a 9 Month Old

If your baby is 9 months old, then they are in the process of enjoying solids. Hence, if you see your baby doing fine after eating meat and is enjoying the taste, you can continue giving them meat on a regular basis. Cook the meat well and shred into small strips and offer it to your baby. Ensure not to offer large chunks or cubes, as this may lead to chocking. You can also give mini meatballs at this age.

How To Cook Meat For 12 Month Old And Up

Well, your little one is a toddler now and is ready for finger foods. At this stage, you can even consider encouraging them to eat on their own. Cook the meat very well and cut into small cubes. You can even strip them vertically so that they can grab and eat it.

Top 9 Tips To Introduce Meat To Baby

tips to cook meat for baby

Find out some tips regarding introducing meat to baby:

  1. Skip cooking processed meat for your baby. The digestive system of your baby is very weak, you must aim to feed them foods that can be easily digested. Processed meat is laden with preservatives and the nutritional value is also low.
  2. Add salt or broth while cooking meat for the baby. Red meat is quite harder as compared to chicken and fish. Therefore, in order to make it tender, sometimes it is marinated in salt.  Alternatively, you may keep adding broth while cooking to keep it tender.
  3. Never ever feed undercooked meat to your baby. It may contain harmful bacteria that can make your baby ill.
  4. Remove skin and any visible fat from the meat (thick white colored layer) by giving it a good pounding
  5. Look for free-range or locally raised meat. This reduces the chances that the animal is fed with any additives or chemicals that may negatively affect your baby.
  6. Marination in milk or yogurt can be done to tenderize the meat, however, don’t attempt this if your baby is lactose intolerant.
  7. Watch out for any signs of allergy after feeding meat to your infant. This mostly includes diarrhea, hives, and rashes. You should include only one meat at a time and observe if your baby is taking it well.
  8. Pureed meat makes it more digestible for the baby plus the chances of choking are ruled out.
  9. Refrain from thawing or defrosting the meat in the microwave.

Health Benefits of Meat For Babies

Meat is high in protein and iron. These are the two vital nutrients needed for the healthy growth of your little one. Iron supports important functions of the body like boosting immunity by the production of RBCs (Iron is a vital component of Hemoglobin). Protein helps in balancing the body metabolism, and also very much important for a growing baby. Protein helps in building healthy bones and muscles.

Are There Any Side Effects of Introducing Meat to Babies

Meat is not a potential allergen and does not pose any harm for babies. However, some babies can be allergic to meat. While this side effect may or may not last, but you should stop giving meat to your baby immediately if you observe any such reactions. Give them some time and then introduce when they are completely fine. Here are a few symptoms that you may notice if your baby is allergic to meat.

  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Redness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Throat tightness

The fact is meat is a rich source of protein and iron. Protein is required for the development of tissues and muscles. Iron ensures sufficient oxygen and blood supply in the body. Also, the iron found in animal sources is more easily absorbed by the body than in plant sources, another reason to start introducing meat early to your baby!


1. Should I Give My Baby Meat Everyday?

You can give meat to your baby twice or thrice a week. Babies need all kinds of nutrients for their growing body which includes fruits and vegetables. Hence, it is better to have a scheduled meal plan for your little one once they are on solids.

2. Do Babies Need Protein at Every Meal?

Protein is a vital nutrient that your baby needs. It plays a key role in building healthy bones and muscles. Hence, it is better to include a protein rich meal at least once in a day.

3. Can Babies Be Allergic To Meat?

Meat is not a potential allergen, but some babies may be allergic to meat. If you see any symptoms like itching, hives, redness, diarrhea and vomiting in your baby after feeding meat, contact your doctor immediately.

4. Is Meat a Chocking Hazard For Babies?

Meat can be a chocking hazard for babies. Hence, it is very important to cook it completely and puree it before you offer it as a first solid food for your little one.

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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