I was told to start introducing meats to my baby when he turned 8 months old. Does this include fish? My 7-year-old son loves fish and always wants to feed some to the baby. I haven't read or heard of babies eating fish. Please help!
Hooray that your 7-year-old likes something as nutritious and low-fat as fish. It is also a loving gesture that he wants to share this food with the baby
. There is a danger, however, that an older child might feed a younger sibling something he could choke on. Make it clear to your older son that anything he wishes to give to the baby
should be approved by an adult before he offers it.
If your family has a history of allergies hay fever, asthma, eczema, or food allergies, for example it's a good idea to wait until your baby
is at least 2 before introducing fish or shellfish. Shellfish, in particular, are apt to provoke allergies, so I'd avoid them completely until after your child's second birth
day. However, if allergies don't run in your family, other fish shouldn't be a high-risk food. In addition, the texture and softness of fish make it easy for small children to eat. We do not feed infant
s fish because it is not a mainstay of our diets, but I'll bet infant
s in other parts of the world eat fish long before North American children do.
Some fish pose a contamination hazard. Some freshwater fish, for example, can contain high levels of pollutants such as mercury. Children are particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of these poisons. Check with local or state government agencies if you eat fish caught for sport in local waters. Tuna processed for canning is safer than large tuna caught by sport fishers, for example.
Also, children should not eat sushi or undercooked fish dishes such as ceviche, which is "cooked" with lemon or lime juice. Bacteria and viruses that can be tolerated by healthy adults or have minor effects on them can make children seriously ill.