When can babies eat bone marrow?
Bone marrow may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months old.
What exactly is bone marrow?
Bone marrow is the jelly-like tissue in the middle of animal bones, typically a cow’s femur bones. It’s a trendy restaurant food that’s actually quite affordable (and ridiculously easy!) to prepare at home. Ask your butcher for “long, cross-cut” bones, which will make it easier for you to get the most marrow from the bone once it’s roasted.
Is bone marrow healthy for my baby?
Absolutely. Bone marrow is soft in texture and loaded with iron and healthy fats (including omega fats), both of which babies need loads of starting around 6 months old. Bone marrow is also packed with B-vitamins, antioxidant vitamins A and E, blood-healthy vitamin K, and immune-supportive minerals selenium and zinc. A true baby super food!
Is bone marrow a common choking hazard for my baby?
It can be. When scooped from a roasted bone, the marrow contains globs of fat that need to be broken up before serving to your baby. The easiest way to do this is to blend bone marrow with an immersion blender or whip it with an electric whisk after it’s roasted and cooled.
Is bone marrow a common allergen?
Bone marrow is not a common food allergen. In theory any food can cause an allergic reaction, so watch closely while your babies are eating. Serve a small amount when introducing the food for the first few times. If your baby has no adverse reaction, slowly increase the serving size over time.
How do you prepare bone marrow for babies with baby-led weaning?
Every baby develops on their own timeline, and the suggestions on how to cut or prepare particular foods are generalizations for a broad audience. Your child is an individual and may have needs or considerations beyond generally accepted practices. In determining the recommendations for size and shape of foods, we use the best available scientific information regarding gross, fine, and oral motor development to minimize choking risk. The preparation suggestions we offer are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for child-specific, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional or provider. It is impossible to fully eliminate all risk of a baby or child choking on any liquid, puree, or food. We advise you to follow all safety protocols we suggest to create a safe eating environment and to make educated choices for your child regarding their specific needs. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
6 to 12 months old: Spread roasted bone marrow (see recipe) on bread, thin rice cakes, or baby crackers. You may also whip roasted bone marrow with breast milk or formula and/or mix into other foods, such as mashed potatoes. Don’t go crazy though: a little goes a long way!
12 to 24 months old: Slather roasted bone marrow on bread with thick crusts, such as sourdough, and give your toddler the time to really work at chewing and tearing. Roasted bone marrow can also be spread atop roasted veggies and other foods to boost the fat content.
For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.
Add bone marrow to protein-rich foods, like smashed beans or lentils, for an added nutrient boost to the dish. Butter also makes bone marrow even more delicious!
Recipe: Bone Marrow Toasts
- Bone marrow bones
- Bread or thin rice cakes
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the bones on a sheet tray—either cut side up if they are cut lengthwise, or propped up on one end if they are cut crosswise. Roast for 20 minutes.
- Remove the bones from the oven.
- Once the bones have cooled completely, either spoon the marrow onto bread or crackers, or use an electric whisk to blend the marrow into a smooth consistency in a bowl. If you choose to skip blending, carefully remove any globs of fat that are stuck together after spreading the marrow on bread or thin rice cakes.
Bone marrow is rich and fatty. Think of it as a substitute for butter, and pair it with foods like cauliflower, potatoes, or sourdough bread. Fatty foods also benefit from a little acid for balance, so try adding a squeeze of lemon to the dish or serving it alongside a salad with a citrus vinaigrette.