Skip to main content

You shouldn’t delay introducing meat to your baby — here’s why

Upgrading your baby’s diet can be an exciting thing for new parents. Gone are the days of baby food jars and pureeing produce in your kitchens. No more heavy food jars or pouches weighing down your diaper bags, filling up your pantries, or costing you an arm and leg at the grocery stores. When babies start making the jump from pureed foods to solids, it can feel like such a freeing thing for moms and dads. It also allows them the opportunity to introduce foods into their babies’ diets that are important not only nutrition-wise but also could be culturally important as well.

If you’re little one is approaching the age of 6 months, you are likely starting to explore the possibility of adding some protein into your baby’s diet. But when can babies eat meat? What steps should you take for introducing meat to baby? And are there any risk factors surrounding this big step in your baby’s life? We’ll discuss this, and more, and look at some hard-hitting, and nerve-calming facts about safely introducing your baby to meat.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Introducing meat to your baby

Have a conversation

Discussing your child’s diet with their pediatrician is a great first step on opening the dialogue on introducing new foods. If you aren’t sure on whether your baby is ready for solid foods, discussing it with their doctor is an important first step. Your baby’s pediatrician is highly and specially trained to not only treat their patients for any injuries or illnesses but also to recommend what comes next for baby. They are also in tune with your child’s needs and their progress and development. Some children are not ready for solids at the 6-month mark, for whatever reason. Your child’s doctor will have information to help you make their decisions and can explain in detail when the introduction of meats is safe. Underdeveloped airways, allergies, teeth development, and physical dexterity can all play a role in how quickly kids can move from the pureed to the solid forms of food.

Why the rush?

If you’ve taken the important first step of talking to your child’s pediatrician about exploring new foods like proteins and meats and have received the “all clear” to go for it, you may be wondering why experts suggest parents not wait long before introducing meat to their babies. It may come as a shock to some, but most formulas, baby foods, and homemade pureed produce often lack the necessary iron to support a healthy diet in little ones. Even cereals plastered with “added iron” marketing blurbs simply do not hold the necessary quantity of iron that is needed for your baby. Ironically, cereals are not absorbed well by baby’s body, making the manufacturer’s added iron supplements even less effective at meeting your baby’s dietary needs. Iron directly handles moving oxygen through your baby’s body and into their lungs, making it paramount for lung function. Iron also helps your baby’s muscles store and use oxygen. If your baby is lacking iron, this could mean their body could be lacking the crucial nutrients needed to aid them in their movement and development for crawling and walking.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

What are the risks?

You may be wondering, “What happens if my child is lacking the necessary iron levels to support their body’s needs?” In the case of an iron deficiency — either biologically or due to lack of dietary iron supplementation – children can lack the nutrients needed for:

  • Muscle development – This can greatly impact their progress in movement such as crawling and walking. Iron is key to helping muscles store and use oxygen and can cause muscle fatigue if iron is lacking in the body.
  • Brain development – Iron is crucial in brain development. It is directly connected to the process of creating myelin — or the protective coating around nerves — in the brain, which can affect focus and attention in later years.

A few options for parents are:

  • Pureeing meats at home, giving younger or less developed babies a safe and delicious option of much needed protein and iron.
  • Adding iron drops directly into liquids or formulas, with oversight by your child’s pediatrician.

When it comes to babies and their diets, ensuring key nutrients are making into meals is a top priority for parents. While some may not realize how much their child’s diet may be lacking in the iron department, introducing them to foods high in iron such as meats or protein-enriched plant-based foods, is vital. Your baby’s brain, muscles, and lungs will thank you for it!

Editors' Recommendations

Emily Pidgeon
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Emily's work has appeared in the Tube City Almanac, Tube City Online and our Affinity Sites. When she's not writing, she is…
Your baby fell off the bed! Do these things immediately to ensure proper care for your child
Have a little roly poly? Here's what to do if baby rolls off the bed
A mother changing a baby on a bed.

Parents are only human and sometimes things happen in the blink of an eye. If you've ever put your baby down on a bed and turned your back for even a quick second only to have your baby fall off the bed, you know this is true. In fact, babies falling off beds is the leading cause of injuries for children. You happen to have your baby lying there — away from the edge, no less. You turn around for just a few seconds and then you hear that telltale cry.

What do you do? First, you’ll need to keep from panicking. Taking a deep breath and making some initial observations is a vital step to ensure your baby gets the right help. Once you've calmed down imagining your little one going over the edge, we have advice for you to follow in case this unfortunate accident happens to your child.

Read more
Baby’s first Christmas: How to commemorate and celebrate with your new addition
Here are some fun ways to honor your baby's first holiday
Baby in front of a Christmas tree

Baby's first Christmas is such a special time for the whole family. The holidays are always magical, but there's nothing better than celebrating the holidays with a new baby in the house. It's a memorable moment that every parent looks forward to, so you want to make it extra special.
There are many ways to mark the occasion of a baby's first Christmas. This is a unique time to start lifelong traditions or commemorate the first year with a new addition to your family. If you're looking for a special way to mark the holiday and celebrate with your new addition this festive season, we have some ideas that may provide inspiration.

Make a cookie plate
Go to a children's pottery studio or buy a DIY home kit and let your baby finger paint a plate that can become the annual plate to serve Santa's cookies and the reindeer's carrots. You can write the year and your baby's name as well as "Christmas" or "Santa's cookies" on the plate while your baby decorates the rest.

Read more
If your kids want AirPods this Christmas, here’s which model to buy
How to choose the right AirPods for your kids
Girl is excited about getting a Christmas present from her father.

As we approach the most wonderful time of the year again, parents are eager to get that must-have Christmas gift that's sure to delight their child. For many kids, different AirPods models are topping their wishlist this holiday season. While parents might love the idea of gifting their children something that will limit the amount of noise in the house, they may be worried about the hefty price tag attached to some of these versions.
There are a lot of factors that play into buying your children tech gifts like AirPods, but they can be a wonderful present if your child is responsible enough to take care of them. Apple does make a few different varieties of their popular AirPods, so if you're on the fence about buying your child new headphones this Christmas, here's what you need to know about the best AirPod models for kids and where to get them.

Why AirPods?
There is no mistaking the popularity of AirPods, especially amongst kids, so it should come as no surprise that they are topping many Christmas lists this holiday season. Not only are AirPods high-quality headphones, but they're often worn by a lot of influencers and social media stars that kids look up to, making them even more desirable. AirPods are the new "hot gift" to have for tweens and teens, and thankfully there are a few different models and price tags for parents to choose from.
AirPods 2nd generation
If you're looking for a great introductory pair of AirPods for your child this Christmas, the AirPods 2nd generation may be just what you're looking for. The least expensive of Apple's AirPod offerings, you can typically pick up a pair of 2nd generation AirPods for anywhere from $99 to $129. These headphones come with a comfortable, universal fit, their own charging case that gives the headphones more than 24 hours of battery life, easy setup with all your other Apple devices, and the ability to seamlessly switch between them. You also still have the ability to use Siri to do simple things like making a phone call or playing a different song. These headphones can be found in stores and online at the Apple store as well as stores like Target, BestBuy, and Walmart, where you can often grab them on sale.
AirPods 3rd generation
The AirPods 3rd generation are sure to wow and delight your tween or teen when they open them on Christmas morning! These headphones, which retail for around $169 to $189, are a fantastic gift for the tech lover in your life. These wireless headphones are water- and sweat-resistant and give the listener up to 30 hours of charging time with the mag-safe charging case. You can also get up to six hours of listening time with just one charge, making this gift ideal for anyone who is learning remotely or online this year. The 3rd generation AirPods also feature a newer, contoured design of the earbuds as well as different touch control options to use while listening. These pods are definitely an investment that should last your child for years to come.

Read more