Liver is something that is a carryover from old times, and some moms still are told that it’s good to feed kids, mostly due to the level of iron it contains. But a baby within their first year as very different dietary needs than any other age bracket, so it can be a cause of debate as to whether this is something that is good for them.
For many, liver represents one of those foods that is supposed to be really good for you, but doesn’t necessarily taste that great. Sort of like Brussels sprouts or spinach. The only thing is that liver is a meat, and on top of that it’s an organ, so it’s different than the ordinary beef that we’re used to eating. Giving your baby beef is an entirely different topic, but let’s stick to liver here, as it’s a special case all its own.
The old school way of thinking was that you should eat foods that are good for you, even without doing some fact checking to see if they really are nutritious. Liver actually does contain a lot of good things for the body, but that doesn’t mean you should eat it, nor does it mean that it’s right for a baby, or even a child. The better way to go about it is to use a balanced diet, and not rely on any one superfood to fix deficiencies.
Can I Give My Baby Liver? Answer: Not Necessary
You really don’t have to start tinkering with your baby’s diet if you are giving them wholesome foods that are appropriate for their age and development level. The number one reason why a parent would contemplate getting their baby liver is because they want them to have the iron it has. But your baby would not naturally have an iron deficiency unless you are not giving them a properly balanced diet.
Trying to get your baby foods because of one specific mineral or nutrient is like trying to play a Whack a Mole game. As soon as you hit one, another one pops up, and you’ll become exhausted because your work will never be done. There’s only one way to remedy this sort of situation, and that is by giving your baby assortment of foods, all with their own benefits, and all in a form that is easily digested by your little one.
How to Handle an Iron Deficiency
If your doctor has warned you that your baby is suffering from an iron deficiency, this is no time to take drastic measures. You simply make the adjustments to their diet and it should balance itself out on its own over time. There isn’t a lot you need to do in order to fix it, just take a broader approach to feeding them, and change up the status quo when it comes to feeding time. Introduce new foods to them, and use a chart of foods that contain good amounts of iron and start incorporating those into their diet.
Old Wives Tales
If your mother made you eat liver and told you it was good for you, she likely did so because her mother did the same. But now we have the Internet and can find out that liver is not as healthy as people made it out to be. It does have a load of nutrients and vitamins in it, but that doesn’t mean it is the only way to get these into your baby. You have to weigh the good with the bad, and there are plenty of vegetable and fruit sources that can offer the same nutritional punch, but be better for your baby’s digestion than liver is.
Babies and Meat
Even if you are not a vegetarian, it’s important to note that your baby doesn’t really need a lot of meat in their first year, and therefore giving them liver is not a major priority. The best bet is to breastfeed them for as long as possible, and then move them to formula and then to solid foods. If they have not followed this path, its best not to introduce liver, as it can be rather hard to digest, even if it’s pureed.