My baby is 10 months old. The doctor said not to start meat until the baby is a year old. Why?

My baby is almost 10 months. She went in for her 9-month checkup and the doctor asked what she was eating now. I said that she is eating stage 2 baby food plus her formula (Also). The doctor said not to start meat until the baby is a year old. Can you help me understand why?

My daughter is 19.5 lbs. and 29″. My side of the family tends to be very large and I am desperately trying to avoid that in my daughter without going to extremes.

Thank you.

Using 10-month height and weight norms for girls, your daughter is average for height and weight. The biggest concern I have for infants and children is that their height and weight continues to increase over time.

Usually, meat is started somewhere between 9 and 12 months of age. Your daughter’s doctor recommended the upper age to start meats. The primary concern for starting meat is that it is a good source of iron and iron deficiency anemia is the primary nutritional deficiency in infants and children. By age one, she should be consuming about 2 servings from the meat, poultry, fish, dry beans and eggs group per day. One serving would consist of about 1 ounce or 1-2 Tbsp. of any of these.

By nine months of age, your daughter’s diet should consist mainly of solid foods. She should not consume more than about 25 ounces of iron-fortified formula after 6 months of age. Iron-fortified formula is preferred until she starts to eat meat to prevent iron-deficiency anemia. It typically occurs in older infants who consume few solid foods and whose diets have large amounts of cow’s milk and no meat.

FYI: The following tables were developed by Joanne Kendrick MS RD, a nutritionist with the St. Paul Ramsey County Nutrition Program, Minnesota. The tables contain weight gain and length/height growth for infants. These tables continue in the Children topic and Teens topic.

The increases in weight and height percentiles were transferred from the 1976 growth charts of the National Center for Health Statistics, NDHS Growth Charts, which are the latest available as of February 1996. The data was created by the NCHS in cooperation with the Center for Disease Control and are based on data from the Fels Research Institute, Yellow Springs, Ohio. These data are appropriate for infants, children, and teenagers in the general United States population.

Weight and height should be within 2 percentile rankings of each other. Percentile rankings are figured at 95th, 90th, 75th, 50th, 25th, 10th, and 5th. This means that at the 95th percentile, the infant is heavier or taller than 95% of other infants the same age.

Growth curves should not rise or drop 2 percentile rankings over 6 months as this would indicate a change in growth pattern (i.e. becoming short and heavy or tall and underweight). For instance, if an infant’s birth weight is in the 95th percentile for weight, then at 6 months, his/her weight should not be below the 75th percentile. Also, there should be a correlation between height and weight as well. For instance, if an infant’s height is at the 75th percentile, this infant’s weight should not be below the 25th percentile or above the 95th. FYI, height measured lying down is larger than height measured standing up due to compression of the vertebrae.

The tables intended use is for parents to assist them in determining whether their infant’s weight and height are following a “normal” growth pattern using the infant’s own birth weight and length as a baseline. For instance, if a female infant’s birth weight and length were in the 50th percentile (average for age) then in the first 6 months, that infant should gain 9 1/2 pounds and 6 1/4 inches in length. If the female infant was in the 5th percentile (small for age) at birth, then in the first 6 months, the infant should gain 7 1/2 pounds and 6 3/8 inches in length.


Age in MonthsGain per 6 months in Pounds
0 to 610 1/29 1/27 1/2
6 to 125 1/25 1/44 1/2
12 to 183 1/22 3/42 1/4
18 to 2432 1/22
24 to 302 3/42 1/42
30 to 362 1/221 3/4



Age in MonthsGrowth in 6 months in inches
0 to 66 3/46 1/46 3/8
6 to 123 1/23 1/43 1/4
12 TO 182 3/42 1/22 1/2
18 TO 242 3/82 1/42
24 TO 30221 3/4
30 TO 361 5/81 1/21 3/4



Age in MonthsGain per 6 months in Pounds
0 to 611 1/4108
6 to 125 1/255
12 to 183 1/432 1/2
18 TO 243 1/42 1/22 1/4
24 to 302 3/42 1/22
30 to 362 3/42 1/41 3/4



Age in MonthsGrowth in 6 months in inches
0 to 676 3/46 1/4
6 to 123 3/83 1/43 1/4
12 TO 182 3/42 1/22 1/4
18 TO 242 1/42 1/82 1/8
24 TO 301 7/81 7/81 3/4
30 TO 361 3/41 5/81 5/8