Can Babies Eat Fish?

Can Babies Eat Fish?

Your baby is venturing beyond a liquid diet into the land of solid foods. Congratulations!

This mouthwatering milestone is just the beginning of many shared meals to come.

But knowing how and when to introduce solid foods is not always easy.

From eggs to honey to yogurt, figuring out what items make it on to your baby’s first foods list can be a challenge.

One potentially puzzling food is fish.

Can babies eat fish?

And if so, what kinds of fish are the safest?

Let’s take a look.

In this article 📝

  • When can babies eat fish?
  • What fish is safe for babies?
  • How do you introduce fish to babies?
  • What fish can babies not eat?

When can babies eat fish?

The WHO and the CDC both recommend exclusive breastfeeding and/or formula for the first six months of your baby’s life.

After that, you can start adding solids to the mix to keep up with the needs of your baby’s growing body.

The good news?

Fish does have a place at baby’s table!

Can I give my 10-month-old fish?

According to the USDA’s dietary guidelines, you can start giving your baby fish as soon as they start on solid foods – and that’s usually somewhere around the six-month mark.

Fish is a great source of healthy fats, especially Omega-3 fatty acids.

These play an important part in your baby’s cognitive and visual development.

But the benefits of fish don’t stop there.

It’s also a great source of other nutrients that support your baby’s immune system, growth, and development, including protein, iron, selenium, zinc, and vitamins A and D.

By the time your baby is about a year old, the FDA recommends including about two to three one-ounce servings of fish a week in your child’s diet.

But while fish comes with a whole lot of pros, it’s important to introduce it slowly.

Because seafood is a common allergen – occurring in about 1% of the US population – it needs to wind its way gently into your baby’s diet.


What fish is safe for babies?

The world of fish is diverse, and some types are safer for your baby than others. To help you with your choice, here are the basics of fish for babies.

Some fish that are good options include:

  • Wild caught salmon
  • Atlantic mackerel
  • Cod
  • Catfish
  • Herring
  • Anchovies
  • Sardines
  • Haddock

“We want to go for the lowest mercury option,” explains Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Kacie Barnes, “and also to keep in mind the sustainability element of fish.

“Opt for wild-caught when possible so that you know the ecosystems and environments of the fish aren’t harmed by the way they’re farmed.”

How do you introduce fish to babies?

Once you’ve chosen a fish for your baby, it’s important to prepare it properly.

To avoid the risk of food-borne illnesses, sushi containing fish is off the menu until they’re at least three years old.

But cooked fish or vegetarian sushi is absolutely an option.

Cooking their fish well will help kill off any harmful bacteria but avoid deep frying as this may be a bit much for your baby’s little system to take on.

Make sure it’s also properly deboned and that the skin is removed to reduce the risk of coming into contact with toxins.

Offer it to your baby in small chunks to prevent choking.

Can babies eat tuna fish?

If canned tuna is a home staple, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s on the FDA’s list of best fish choices for children older than one.

But it’s important to choose the right tuna to avoid excess mercury.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends opting for “light” tuna – which means it has a pinkish color.

Skipjack is a good option.

Albacore tuna contains about three times the mercury of other types of canned tuna, so it’s best to avoid that one.

What age can babies eat salmon?

Salmon is a great choice for babies.

It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury, making it a perfect starter fish for your baby.

Mash cooked salmon into a fishy puree to start off with.

When they’re a little older, you can start experimenting with breading and baking.

As with any fish, steer clear for now of salmon that is uncooked, cured, or smoked.

Your baby will have to be introduced to the wonders of these delicacies a little later on in life.

What fish can babies not eat?

Most fish contain traces of mercury – but when it’s present in high levels, it can be harmful to your baby’s nervous system.

For this reason, it’s important to cross certain types of fish off the list for now.

These high-mercury fish are to be avoided:

  • King mackerel
  • Swordfish
  • Shark
  • Marlin
  • Tilefish
  • Orange roughy
  • Bigeye tuna
  • Albacore tuna

Finally, keep an eye out for allergic reactions, particularly if you have fish sensitivities in your family.

If your baby develops any sort of skin reaction, facial swelling, trouble breathing, or vomiting and diarrhea, get them to a doctor as soon as you can – even if it looks like a mild response.

And if you need support with this new phase of feeding, reach out to your Peanut community. You don’t have to figure this out on your own.

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