Food From the Ocean’s Deep – When Can Babies Have Seafood?

When can babies have seafood

It surely is better down where it’s wetter.


Seafood is a popular choice of food around the world. An estimated 3 billion of the world’s population rely on seafood as part of their daily diet.


Seafood is an umbrella term referring to undersea creatures that are edible. This usually means fish and shellfish. And you’ll see seafood as a staple in different countries.


Seafood plays a big role in a lot of cultures’ diet. That’s why diet plans like the pescatarian diet are popular. Seafood is not only tasty but is loaded with valuable nutrients.


So is seafood safe for your baby? Before, fish and shellfish weren’t introduced so early to children, and people opt to give other food first. But as time changes and more research is coming out, the opinion on seafood is slowly shifting.


When Can Babies Have Seafood?

Today’s guideline encourages parents to start introducing solid foods at around 4-6 months. This is usually the time when infants start to gain interest in solid food. You might also notice your baby’s appetite growing during this stage.


You’ll know when your child is capable of eating when they can sit upright on their chair and hold their heads up. You can slowly start introducing solid food to your infant when you see these signs. 


There are no set rules on which food group you should introduce first. But seafood, like fish, is best introduced between 6-12 months. The same can be said with shellfish.


A lot of doctors might advise you to introduce other, non-allergenic solid food first, though. You will want your infant to get used to chewing and swallowing first. We highly recommend you first feed them cereal, fruits, vegetables, and meat, before moving on to fish and shellfish.


The Benefits of Eating Fish Early

Seafood isn’t really a common first food for infants. But parents shouldn’t shy away from introducing fish to their kids.


Fish and shellfish are great sources of protein. They can be an alternative to meat in your baby’s daily diet. Asides from protein, seafood is also rich in other micronutrients.


Fish are low in fat and high in vitamin D and B complex. Fatty fish like salmon and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They also lower the risk of eczema in babies.


Cooked shellfish have just the same amount of nutrients as fish. They are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin B complex, calcium, iron, zinc, and more. Shellfish are also safe for pregnant people and can help fight heart diseases.


The Risk: Allergies And Mercury

There was a belief before that infants under 1 year old can’t have seafood. Fish and shellfish are some of the most common allergenic food. So parents don’t feed their babies allergenic food until later in life.


However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has found that delaying the introduction of allergenic food increases the risk of allergies. That’s why it’s advised that parents don’t delay adding fish and shellfish into their child’s diet.


There are some exemptions, though. If your family has a history of seafood allergies, then it’s better to steer away. You should also listen to what your pediatrician will say.


Work with your child’s doctor, and wait until they give the green light. And make sure to serve seafood at home first to better monitor your child.


In case your child is allergic, look for these signs:

  • Swelling 
  • Rashes
  • Breathing Problems
  • Upset Stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea


Assuming your child is not allergic, there is still a little risk when introducing seafood to your baby. We’re talking about mercury. Mercury is a toxic metal that is present in some fishes.


Some fish have more mercury than others. This is based on factors like their type, size, location, habitat, diet, and age. Keep a lookout for the following fishes:

  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Southern bluefin tuna
  • King Mackerel
  • Marlin
  • Bigeye tuna
  • Tilefish


Luckily, fishes like Cod, Flounder, Catfish, Salmon, Scallops, Squid, and Trout are safe for consumption


Tips in Preparing Fish for Babies

Preparing seafood for your baby does not have to be intimidating. Here are some tips to successfully cook and serve seafood:

  • Cook your fish thoroughly. Raw or undercooked fish are full of bacteria that can harm your baby.
  • Always remove the fishbone. This can cause choking in infants. Fish with a lot of bones include milkfish and tilapia.
  • Trim the fat and skin. These are common areas in the fish that collects contaminants.
  • Peel the shell of off shellfish before serving them to your baby.
  • You can boil, poach, grill, or steam fish. This will make them soft enough. You can mash them with a fork for easier consumption.
  • Don’t forget to serve some veggies or grain along with the fish.
  • Serve in moderation. Seafood is high in sodium and too much can upset your infant. 



Seafood is popular across the globe, and for good reasons. Seafood is a part of a lot of cultures, and there are many ways to prepare it. Seafood can be mixed in with rice, pasta, soups, salads, and more.


 Seafood, like fish and shellfish, is safe for adults. But is it the same for babies? Yes, in some ways, seafood can be consumed by infants.


You can introduce seafood as early as 4-6 months to babies. In fact, the AAP recommends parents to introduce allergenic foods to kids to lower the risks of allergies. However, if allergies run in your family, or your pediatrician does not allow it, best to say goodbye to seafood.


Seafood is rich in protein, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. It can work great as an alternative to meat and poultry. 


However, parents should avoid fish that are rich in mercury. Mercury is a heavy metal that can lead to nasty side effects.


There are plenty of ways to prepare fish for your baby. You can start slow by introducing mashed fish to your infant. And as they grow, you can give them bigger servings and more complicated dishes.


Seafood isn’t often the first meal you give to kids, but it’s worth introducing. With proper care and preparation, even your baby can appreciate the tasty delicacies under the sea.

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