Infants aged 0-6 months need 2 mg of zinc each day, and those aged 6-12 months need to get 3 mg of zinc each day, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI).
If you are breastfeeding, your breast milk contains enough zinc to nourish your baby during his first 6 months of life. The zinc in breast milk is well absorbed and utilized, or highly bioavailable to your baby. At 6 months, however, the zinc supplied by breast milk decreases somewhat, while your baby’s requirements increase. Introducing solid foods at this time will help ensure your baby continues to receive enough zinc for his growth and development. Foods like red meat, fortified baby cereal, cooked seafood, and mashed beans are good sources of zinc to gradually introduce at this time. If your baby drinks infant formula, his zinc requirements will be covered while you start the process of introducing solid foods at 6 months.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, August 2019