Zinc For Babies – Sources and Benefits

8 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.

Zinc For Babies

Babies require various vitamins and minerals to aid their growth and development. Your little one will grow up real quick. Zinc is one such mineral that helps in boosting immunity, healing wounds, and having the senses of taste and smell. It is one of the most essential minerals for the growth and development of babies.

Our bodies cannot store Zinc but need them for the proper functioning of the body. In this article, we shall look more at what this mineral is all about, why babies require them, and what are the sources of Zinc. We shall also look into the effects of zinc deficiency and how parents can help their children cope with zinc requirements. Let us get started.

In This Article

What is Zinc?

Zinc is the most critical mineral required for humans for the proper functioning of their bodies. The human body can neither produce nor store Zinc. They dwell upon the food that we consume for the zinc requirements. Our body requires Zinc for the following processes.

  • Gene Expression
  • Enzymatic reactions
  • Immune function
  • Protein Synthesis
  • DNA Synthesis
  • Wound Healing
  • Growth and Development

Zinc is found abundantly in various plants and animals.

Why Do Babies Need Zinc?

Zinc has the ability to heal wounds and aids comfort. You may also note that most nasal sprays, lozenges, and other cold treatments contain Zinc. You may also note that Zinc is often on the list of ingredients in many sunscreen products. As parents, you need to know that, Zinc has much more role to play in your child’s health.

Let us look at the reasons why your baby needs Zinc.

1. Acts as an Antioxidant

Zinc is an excellent antioxidant that prevents the formation of free radicals in your little one’s body. It also helps in stopping the free radicals from damaging the body cells of the babies.

2. Promotes Healthier Skin

Zinc helps in maintaining healthier skin in babies. They help in regenerating and maintaining the structure of the skin. They also help in healing the wounds quickly.

3. Supports a Better Vision

Zinc is an essential mineral that helps in maintaining your baby’s healthy vision.

4. Supports the Immune System

The immune system of your little one is growing every day. They have their inbuilt antivirus mechanism when they come across germs, bugs, and viruses. Zinc plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy immune system.

5. Other Important Functions

The following are some of the other vital roles of Zinc in babies.

  • Supports the Nervous System
  • Maintain Nerve Conduction
  • Maintain Cognitive Function
  • Assist Healthy Growth and Development

List of Top 8 Sources of Zinc For Babies

Sources of Zinc For Babies -yogurt

When you start solids for your little one, it is essential to pay attention to whether they get the required Zinc. The following are some of the sources of Zinc.

1. Red Meat

Red Meat is one of the most commonly and readily available sources of Zinc for your little one. It contains up to 45% of the total recommended daily intake of Zinc. You can give your little one a small meatball or a piece of lamb off the bone.

2. Shellfish

Shellfish, including Crabs and Prawns, contains a good amount of Zinc for your little one. But, they also serve as the most common allergens for babies. So, when you plan to introduce shellfish, make sure you begin with small quantities. Mussels and Oysters might be very slippery, and your little one might not be able to munch them well.

3. Seeds

Seeds including Hemp seeds, Pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds are rich in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals for a balanced diet. You can blend the seeds into a meal before offering it to your little one.

4. Legumes

Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans are a good source of Zinc. They also contain high levels of phytic acid that inhibits the absorption of Zinc. The cooking method plays a vital role in getting Zinc. If you slow cook them, the phytic acid also gets reduced. This might hurt the gut of the babies. With proper cooking techniques, you can help your kids absorb Zinc along with other proteins and carbs.

5. Nuts

Cashews and Almonds are the best nuts that provide optimum Zinc for your babies. Copper provides the best Zinc to copper ratio in the baby’s body. When you introduce nuts to your little one, make sure that the powder form as the whole piece could lead to a choking hazard.

[Read : Infant Choking]

6. Eggs and Poultry

Though eggs and Poultry are not a great source of Zinc, they still contain minimal zinc levels which may be important for babies who cannot have a wide variety of foods. Eggs contain 5% of the total recommended daily intake of Zinc, and Chicken contains 7% of the total recommended daily intake.

7. Dairy Products

All Dairy Products, including Cheese, Yogurt, and Kefir, are good sources of bioavailable zinc.

8. Vegetables

Spinach, Avocado, Mushrooms, Potato, and Sweet Potato are the best sources of Zinc, including other nutrients required for the growth and development of your little one.

How Much Zinc Do Babies Need?

A review article published in the Journal of Health, Population & Nutrition published in the National Library of Medicine puts the zinc requirement of babies between 0-6 months of age at 2.0 mg. For babies between 7 and 36 months, this RDA is at 3.0 mg.

But zinc deficiency is common in many babies and doctors may prescribe supplements of up to 10 mg per day, especially in areas where zinc deficiency is highly prevalent. In case your baby needs zinc supplementation, your doctor will decide on the course of action in terms of dosage and frequency.

Effects of Zinc Deficiency in Babies

Zinc Deficiency in Babies

Zinc deficiency can lead to a number of symptoms, including:

  • Poor growth and development in infants and children
  • Growth retardation in some cases
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lowered immune system
  • Slow healing of wounds and skin problems
  • Insomnia, depression, and other mood disorders
  • Anemia
  • Impaired immune function
  • Hearing loss
  • Difficulty in identifying taste or smell

In extreme cases, zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss and delay in sexual maturity as the baby grows into a toddler and a child.

How Can You Help Your Baby Get Enough Zinc?

Zinc is an essential mineral that aids in the growth and development of your little one. You can help your baby get enough Zinc in the following three ways.

1. Food Sources

Ensure that your baby eats zinc-rich food, including dairy products, red Meat, Poultry, and others. Fortified cereals can also be an option for picky eaters who are on solids and have zinc deficiency.

2. Zinc Supplements

If you feel that your baby is not getting enough zinc through their diet or is showing symptoms of zinc deficiency, you can consult a pediatrician who can guide you on the way forward. The doctor will prescribe zinc supplements and/or multi-vitamins depending on the case.

Top 10 Zinc Rich Foods For Babies

Zinc Rich food for babies

The following are the ten best Zinc rich food for babies.

  • Red Meat
  • Shellfish
  • Potatoes with Skin
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Whole grain Cereals
  • Chicken
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cheese and other dairy products

Nutritional Content of Zinc in Various Foods

The following table lists the zinc content in various foods as published by NIH (National Institutes of Health – Office of Dietary Supplements)

Milligrams (mg)

Per Serving

Percent DV*
Oysters, Cooked, Breaded and Fried, 3 ounces 74.0 673
Beef Chuck Roast, Braised, 3 ounces 7.0 64
Crab, Alaska King, Cooked, 3 ounces 6.5 59
Beef Patty, Broiled, 3 ounces 5.3 48
Lobster, Cooked, 3 ounces 3.4 31
Pork Chop, Loin, Cooked, 3 ounces 2.9 26
Baked Beans, Canned, Plain or Vegetarian, ½ cup 2.9 26
Breakfast Cereal, Fortified with 25% of the DV for zinc, 1 serving 2.8 25
Chicken, Dark Meat, Cooked, 3 ounces 2.4 22
Pumpkin Seeds, Dried, 1 ounce 2.2 20
Yogurt, Fruit, Low Fat, 8 ounces 1.7 15
Cashews, Dry Roasted, 1 ounce 1.6 15
Chickpeas, Cooked, ½ cup 1.3 12
Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce 1.2 11
Oatmeal, Instant, Plain, Prepared With Water, 1 Packet 1.1 10
Milk, Low-Fat or Non Fat, 1 cup 1.0 9
Almonds, Dry Roasted, 1 ounce 0.9 8
Kidney Beans, Cooked, ½ cup 0.9 8
Chicken Breast, Roasted, Skin Removed, ½ breast 0.9 8
Cheese, Cheddar or Mozzarella, 1 ounce 0.9 8
Peas, Green, Frozen, Cooked, ½ cup 0.5 5
Flounder or Sole, Cooked, 3 ounces 0.3 3

* present daily value

Top Zinc Rich Food Recipes to Try For Your Baby

Zinc Rich Food Recipes for Baby

If you want to incorporate zinc into your baby’s diet, here are a few recipes you can try.

1. Moong Dal Khichdi

Legumes and pulses are excellent sources of zinc. Hence giving your baby moong dal khichdi or khichdi with any lentils of your choice will help meet your baby’s zinc requirements.

The best part is that khichdi is one of the first weaning foods in most households and is easy to make and digest for the baby too. Just pressure cook soaked dal with rice until soft. Mash with the back of your spoon to make it into a paste if your baby has just started solid foods. You can add mild tempering for older kids. Adding chopped potato or sweet potato while cooking the rice and dal can also add zinc content and enhance the flavor profile for your little one to enjoy.

[Read : Khichdi For Babies]

2. Cheese Sandwiches

If you have introduced cheese and finger foods to your baby, then cheese sandwiches are an excellent source of zinc. Home-made brown bread or bread from a trusted source paired with either cheese slices or cheese spread can make an enjoyable and healthy snack for older babies. Remember to buy pasteurized cheeses from known brands only. Unpasteurized cheese contains bad bacteria that can be harmful for your baby’s health.

Zinc for babies is a vital nutrient that helps with proper growth and development. It helps support the immune system, a healthy sense of smell and taste, wound healing, and growth. Babies need extra Zinc because their intestinal tract is not fully developed yet and cannot process a lot of natural foods that are high on zinc.


1. Is Zinc Harmful to Babies?

No. Zinc is not harmful to babies. However, too much Zinc may, in the long run, can lead to toxic effects.

2. How Much Zinc Should a Baby Take?

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for infants aged 0-6 months (s) is 2.0 mg and 3.0 mg per day for children from 7 months to 3 years.

3. Can Consuming Too Much Zinc be Harmful For Babies?

Yes. Too much Zinc can be harmful for babies.

Read Also: Vitamin D For Babies – Sources And Dosage

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.

Responses (0)

Please check a captcha

Want curated content sharply tailored for your exact stage of parenting?

Discover great local businesses around you for your kids.

Get regular updates, great recommendations and other right stuff at the right time.


Our site uses cookies to make your experience on this site even better. We hope you think that is sweet.