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My little meat-eater

When and how to introduce meat into your child’s diet


Dear Suzi and Paolo,hj1

Hi. I just want to ask when the best time is to give my baby meat and poultry. He is one year old. Thanks!

Camille M. Arevalo


Suzi says

Hello, Camille! Thanks for writing in. Now is a good time to introduce meat. In fact, other babies are already given meat much earlier, at around seven to eight months, especially if they were exclusively breastfed. It has something to do with using the iron from the meat for the nutrients that your baby got from breastmilk. No worries though. I also mostly stuck to rice, cereal, and veggie purée until my babies were about 10 months old or so.

Now that’s cleared up, let’s talk about how you’ll introduce the meat. You can start with poultry because the meat is softer. Boil some chicken pieces (no skin!) with carrots and water. When the chicken is thoroughly cooked, make chicken and carrots purée and add soup stock from the boiled chicken, a little at a time. Try to get to the consistency that your baby is used to when you give him his usual food.

Get him to eat a small amount first and prepare yourself for rejection. Maybe, serve it to him during lunch time but give his usual fare of veggie and fruit purées for breakfast and dinner. Give the same preparation for four days so you can observe if he is allergic to chicken meat. If he has no adverse reaction to chicken meat, you can make a new meat recipe using pork or beef (no fats) mixed with veggies your baby likes.

It’s an exciting milestone in a baby’s development. Thank you for writing in. Enjoy your adventures with your baby.

Paolo says

Hello, Mommy Camille. Thanks for your letter. While I’m not a pediatrician, we have three kids and can speak from experience. You can actually start when a baby is about six months or once your baby eats semisolids like pureed fruits and veggies.

Personally, I’d prefer that you start when your baby had had some time eating fruits and veggies. Then, gradually introduce the meat by mixing pieces of it with his veggies. Make sure though that the meat is well pureed as this will give your baby’s digestive system a chance to adjust. Meat proteins are a bit harder to digest.

Note also that diaper-changing time will be a different experience as soon as you start adding meat proteins to his diet. You’ll need to start opening the window come changing time… if you know what I mean.

Once your baby starts growing teeth and is comfortable with finger foods, you can start giving him finely sliced meat and poultry. Have fun with the journey. I’m sure, your baby is well on his way to a happy, healthy life.

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