When can babies eat lamb?
Lamb can be introduced as soon as your baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. At this stage in their lives, babies (and especially breastfed babies) need lots of iron, protein, and zinc on a regular basis. Lamb checks all the boxes!
Is lamb healthy for my baby?
Yes! Lamb is rich in B-vitamins (especially B2, B3, and B12), as well as hormone-healthy selenium and zinc. More importantly, it’s a great source of iron.
Humans are able to absorb iron from animal sources more easily than iron from vegetables. Lamb is one of the top sources of iron, and while it has about as much iron as beef does, lamb has several key advantages. First, lamb contains more omega fatty acids than most beef. Second, ground lamb is slightly more tender and can be easier for babies to swallow. Finally, lamb is more environmentally friendly: sheep are generally raised in pastures, unlike most cattle, which spend their lives in feed lots eating commodity corn, soy, and other grains which are often high in toxins.
Is lamb a common choking hazard for my baby?
Yes. Meat is a common choking hazard. It’s important to prepare meat safely in a way that’s appropriate for your baby’s age. Check out our suggestions for age-specific preparations.
Is lamb a common allergen?
No, though in theory, one could be allergic to any food. Watch your babies as they eat to monitor for signs of a reaction.
How do you prepare lamb 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 9 months : Cook a whole lamb chop and remove loose gristle, then offer it whole to your baby, who will consume a fair amount of nutrients just from sucking and munching on the meat. Ironically at this age, the bigger and more resistive the food, the better.
9 to 12 months : Strips of well-cooked lamb or lamb fingers (meatballs in the shape of a finger) can be great for this age. If a too-big piece of meat breaks off in your baby’s mouth, give your baby the chance to work the food forward on their own before intervening. Gagging is both normal and healthy in this developmental stage, as babies learn to move food around in their mouths. If you’re worried, coach your baby to spit out the piece of meat by dramatically sticking out your own tongue and saying “ah” repeatedly.
12 to 18 months : Continue with ground lamb patties. Serving a patty on top of yogurt is both helpful (aids swallowing) and fun (babies like to dip!) You may also cook minced lamb meat or crumbled ground lamb to serve on its own or mixed into a dish of lentils or rice.
18 to 24 months : Continue with ground lamb patties and minced lamb meat. At this age, you can also try serving small, razor-thin pieces of lamb meat on its own.
For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.
Lamb freezes well and lamb patties are easy to prepare with few ingredients. Set aside uncooked lamb patties in your freezer for an easy meal when you’re crunched for time.
Recipe: Lamb Burgers
Age: 6 months+
- Ground lamb
- Shallot or onion
- Olive oil
- Garlic clove
- Lemon juice (optional)
- Sweet paprika (optional)
- Finely chop 1 shallot or ½ onion. Sauté with olive oil in a skillet on medium low heat. While the onion is cooking, finely chop 1 clove of garlic and add it to the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Place 1 lb of ground lamb in a bowl. Add the cooked onion and garlic, and mix together with your hands. It’s not necessary, but at this stage, you could also add an egg and some breadcrumbs for extra flavor if you like.
- Form the meat into small patties. Cook in the same skillet over medium heat. For faster cooking, cover the skillet while the patties are cooking. After a few minutes, flip the patties. To test readiness, cut one patty in half and make sure it’s well done, with no pink meat inside.
- Serve the patties with Greek yogurt as a dip. For added flavor, try whisking in a splash of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a sprinkling of sweet paprika to the yogurt.
Lamb pairs well with cabbage, celery, garlic, onion, peas, potatoes, and rutabaga, as well as with spices such as anise, cardamom, coriander, cumin, dill, mint, nutmeg, paprika, rosemary, saffron, and thyme.