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When Should Babies Start Eating Meat?

By Jim Thomas ; Updated June 13, 2017

The time for your baby to begin eating meat is dependent on your child's development. There are general guidelines for the age when most babies are able to eat meat. However, some babies might be ready to eat meat at 6 months of age and others might not be ready until their first birthday.

General Guidelines

Babies often are ready for solid foods at 4 to 6 months. The Babycenter website says that when babies are eager to eat cereal, strained fruits and vegetables, they are ready to give meat a try. Usually this happens between 7 and 10 months of age. Babies still tend to gag at that age. They also lack molars for chewing. So meat needs to be in the form of the strained meats in jars of commercial baby food or meat that has been pureed at home.

Developmental Guidelines

Babies are ready for solid foods, including meat, vegetables and fruit, when three developmental indicators are present. Your baby must be able to hold his head up in a steady and upright position. He must be able to sit with support in a high-chair. Your baby should also be interested in what you are eating.

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Solid Foods

Introduce cereal when your baby is developmentally ready for solid foods. Mix it with breast milk or formula so the cereal will be mostly liquid. But don't feed it in a bottle. Encourage your baby to sit up and eat the cereal from a small spoon one or two times per day. When your baby can easily swallow runny cereal, decrease the amount of liquid. After your baby can handle cereal, you can introduce meat, vegetables and fruits. Introduce one food at a time and wait three to five days to make sure your baby doesn't react badly and get sick from the new food.

Meat

If your baby doesn't initially like beef or chicken, wait a few weeks or a month and try again. In addition to a new and different taste, pureed meat has a different texture than the other foods your baby is eating, so it might be a tough sell at first. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends mixing your baby's favorite vegetable with warm pureed meat to help him adjust to the taste.

Cautions

Get your doctor's approval before introducing pureed meat into your baby's diet. When your baby is eating other finger foods and has several teeth, which might be at 8 to 10 months, you can introduce small pieces of meat. Be sure you carefully cut the meat into very, very small bite-size baby bits.

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