Can Baby Eat Liver?
Liver is very nutritious as a food – however, too much can be harmful…
- B vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A is important for many organs in the human body. It also contributes to good vision and supports the immune system.
There are two types of vitamin A:
- Pro vitamin A carotenoids – these include beta-carotein, a pigment found in foods that the body converts to vitamin A. Beta-carotein is found in green leafy vegetables, yellow and orange vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes, and in fruits and tomatoes.
If your baby is having lots of carrots and sweet potatoes as ‘first foods’, any excess provitamin A carotenoids will not be harmful. They will usually be deposited in the skin, so your baby may develop a harmless orange tint – particularly around the nose area.
- Preformed vitamin A – found in foods from animal sources, including fish, dairy and meat. Liver is rich in preformed vitamin A.
Too much preformed vitamin A can be harmful to your baby – even before he or she is born. Liver is not advised to be eaten during pregnancy, as excess preformed vitamin A can be the cause of congenital birth defects. Excess amounts of preformed vitamin A can also lead to an increased risk of bone fracture or can possibly cause liver damage.
If you give your baby too much liver – especially if you are also giving a fortified cereal that includes preformed vitamin A, or a supplement that your baby’s doctor has prescribed – then he or she is having excessive amounts of preformed vitamin A.
Ask your baby’s doctor or paediatrician for advice about introducing liver into your baby’s diet. You may be advised to give liver in very small amounts – probably only one or two teaspoons – no more than once per week, when your baby is over 6 months of age.
You will also need to discuss the kind of liver you want to give to your baby. Chicken, lamb and calf liver is fine, but liver from any other animals may pose health hazards.
Buying and cooking liver for your baby…
- Calf liver is a good choice when you first introduce liver to your baby, as it is very nutritious, the taste is not overly strong, and it has a good, smooth texture when cooked correctly. It will also contain fewer of the antibiotics and hormones that mature cattle are exposed to. Liver from organically raised calves offers even more health benefits.
- Liver deteriorates quite quickly, so it should be bought very fresh and cooked within 24 hours. If you do not want to use it in that time, it must be put straight into the freezer, where it may be stored for up to one month.
- Liver needs just a few minutes cooking each side – otherwise it will be hard. When it is done it will still have a slight pinkness to it.
- If your baby doesn’t enjoy the taste of liver on its own, try grating some frozen liver into another dish as it is cooking, or mix finely chopped liver with minced (ground) beef, pork or turkey when you cook those in one of your baby’s favourite dishes.
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.