Can babies eat pork as their introduction to solid food? Or would YOU consider introducing meat so early? Traditionally when it comes to weaning, mums often start with baby cereals, before progressing to soft cooked pureed fruits and veggies.
However, recent studies found that when given pureed meat at five months, babies grew nearly an inch more than their peers who were still on dairy.
Can babies eat pork and other meats?
Can babies eat pork instead of the usual cereals and baby puree? | Source: Pixabay
Of course, the two immediate concerns are:
- whether or not an infant’s digestive system is ready to handle meat at just five months and,
- AAP’s recommendation that a baby should only be given breast-milk or formula for the first six months.
The lead researcher of the University of Colorado study Minghua Tang, told USA Today that, “we are not telling parents to load an infant’s diet with red meat, but to consider animal-sourced protein as an option and not to restrict their options to cereals.”
The study’s outcomes showed meat-fed babies grew at a faster rate and without risk of being overweight. That actually sounds pretty promising for smaller babies if we cut out the question “can babies eat pork and other meat”!
Concerns when introducing meat earlier
When asked if they would consider introducing meat earlier, some parents expressed interest. Others still prefer to follow the traditional baby food plan despite relaxed timelines regarding when to introduce certain food.
The reason for recommending cereals first, according to paediatrician Christopher Etscheidt, is because cereals are fortified with iron which is especially important for breastfed babies.
Other experts, like Susan Levin, director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, have other concerns. She worries that a high-protein diet might be too much for a baby’s kidney to process.
But if you think about baby-led weaning little ones who take huge chunks of meat off the bone, they don’t seem to have a problem digesting pieces of meat that are swallowed whole!
Yea, Nay or Maybe?
According to Tang, protein makes up 15 percent of a baby’s energy. It provides iron, zinc and other micronutrients within the dietary requirements for infants. Tang says that in the near future, they are looking into further research, as well as studying whether the source of the protein matters.
Can babies eat pork and other protein? Most experts advise parents to err on the side of caution until more studies can confirm that giving meat early is safe.
So DO expose your babies to a variety of healthy foods. This is to ensure that their daily nutritional requirements are met.
The important thing is to provide balanced meals and food high in nutrients. When parents endeavour to do so, this already gives their babies a head start in life.
Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, WebMD, Babyledweaning
Read also: Mums, here’s a guide to introducing solids to your little one…