Q: When can my baby start eating meat and poultry?

A: Most babies can start to eat foods like beef, turkey, and chicken soon after they start solid foods, but remember that they don't have molars yet, so you'll need to puree it or make it moist and tender so that their gums can mash it up. Ground beef and cut-up meatballs or meat loaf are great options. Avoid offering chewy things that may be tough to eat, like steak. Be especially careful with hot dogs, which can pose a choking hazard if not cut up into teeny, tiny nibbles.

The first time your baby tries meat, he may not exactly go for it. Some children don’t like the texture and refuse it at first. If this happens, get creative. You can try sneaking pureed meat into a favorite veggie dish to get your baby used to the taste, for example. Eventually most kids come to love their chicken tenders and hamburgers, even if it takes a few years.

Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.

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