Introduce Meat Into Your Baby’s Diet
Introducing meat to your baby can be a milestone in his or her diet. A simple reason is that, all of the foods that can be introduced into a baby’s diet, meat is the heavy weight contender. Also, introducing meat has its own advantages. Meat, being the highest source of protein, is necessary for your baby’s physical development.
You can introduce meat into your baby’s diet, once your baby is between 7-8 months of age. Ideally, pediatricians recommend the age between 8-10 months for introducing meat. This is due to the fact that the digestive system of babies is not strong enough to digest meat. Another reason for keeping meat away from babies below the age of 8 months is also because of food allergies caused by meat.
Various meats that can be introduced include eggs, fish, chicken, lamb and beef, etc. These can be introduced one by one to your baby. Only strained meats or meat purees must be given to babies. Do not offer pieces of meat, even small pieces to your baby. Without any teeth, it’s practically impossible for them to chew meat and it can lead to choking. When introducing meat, if your baby is not able to eat meat right away, stop giving the meat and postpone the introduction to at least few weeks or 1 month.
Benefits of introducing meat to your baby
Listed below are some of the benefits of introducing meat into your baby’s diet.
High in protein: Meat, as we all know, is high in protein, higher than any vegetarian food. This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons to serve meat to your baby. Generally, the percentage of protein in meat ranges between 35-45%.
High in vitamins and minerals: Meat is also high in vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals found in meat are more or less comparable to the recommendations of humans. Vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, folate, vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid, etc can be found in high proportions in meat. Apart from the vitamins, minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, etc can be found in most meats.
High in fatty acids: Fatty acids can be categorized as omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids. Of the two, omega 3 fatty acids are considered crucial for us. They are essential for brain development, treating inflammation and in treating developmental disorders, when looked from the perspective of children. Of all meats, fish is the best source of omega fatty acids.
Measures to be taken while preparing meats for your babies
Listed below are some of the measures that must be taken while preparing meat for your babies.
Meat Stocks or broth: Stocks made from meats are ideal way of introducing meat for your baby. Meat stock can be easily fed to babies because it has all the goodness of the meat plus there is nothing to chew. This is perhaps a very healthy way of introducing meat to your baby. While making stocks or broths, make sure not to add stale meats which are a week or some days old. Also, follow the procedures for making these stocks as suggested. You need to simmer them away for hours together depending upon the meat that you’ve added.
Eggs: Boil an egg and peel away the shell. Remove the egg yolk. Now, mash out the egg white to paste like consistency. You can add this paste either to cooked vegetable or cereal and feed this to your baby.
Chicken: Take few 1 inch pieces of cooked chicken pieces. Grind these pieces in food processor to give it a fine paste like consistency. Make sure that there are absolutely no pieces in the paste. Only after the chicken pieces are fully turned into paste that you add water to this paste to give it a puree like texture. You can cook this puree for few minutes before serving it to your baby. If you plan to store this in the refrigerator, then add as little water as possible.
Lamb and beef: The procedure for preparing lamb and beef are similar to chicken. The only exceptions being the time required to cook them first. Other than this, most of the procedure is same. Lamb and beef might taken some more time while blending so, be extra careful.
Allergies: Meats are no exception for food allergies. This is true, especially with eggs and fish. Both these foods have high rate of causing food allergies in babies. While making eggs, be sure to remove the yolk. Fish can also cause allergies, hence, be extra careful while serving fish. Avoid new species or exotic species of fish. You may not know firsthand what kind of fish it is or what kind of biochemical toxins that it might contain. Only serve regularly used, very well known and less allergic fish to your babies.
Consult your pediatrician: If you happen to notice any symptoms or allergic reactions while introducing meats, stop the feed and consult your pediatrician immediately.