When it comes to feeding your baby solid foods like fish, there are many food choices that become a debate as to whether or not they are safe for your child.
Whether or not you can feed fish to your baby has one very aggravating answer: it depends. Fish is known to be highly allergenic. Because of this, some doctors recommend waiting to serve fish to your baby until after his or her first birthday. On the other hand, the American Academy of Pediatrics believes that prolonging the introduction of allergenic foods to your baby will not decrease the risk.
Basically, they believe that if your child is allergic to a certain food, such as fish, whether you introduce it to them at four months or their first birthday, they are going to have the same reaction.
To be safe, you should consult your child’s doctor before introducing fish into their diet. While their advice is an educated suggestion, you may use their input to further your decision.
If you decide to give your baby fish, it is important to know that fish is a great source of proteins and vitamins, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are beneficial to your child’s brain and eye development.
Can I Give My Baby Fish? Answer: Consult Your Doctor
When feeding fish to your baby, you should always make sure it has been thoroughly cooked. Undercooked meat is known to house bacteria and viruses that can be harmful to your baby’s health. It is also a good idea to make sure there are no bones in the pieces of fish you are serving to your child. Small pieces of bone can create a choking hazard.
Since fish is such a high allergenic food, it is always best to watch for signs of an allergic reaction after the initial introduction. When you first introduce fish to your little one, make sure to either serve it alone or with another food your child has already enjoyed. It is always best to wait three days in between feeding your child new foods. This way, if your child does have an allergic reaction, you will know which food caused it.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to fish can range from mild to severe. If you notice your child is having a minor allergic reaction, it is best to contact his or her physician. If your child is having a more sever reaction, which includes vomiting and/or loss of breath, you should call 911 immediately.
If your child has been introduced to fish without any allergic reactions, it is a great food to add to their diet on a regular basis. The FDA/EDP advisory says it is okay to serve your child two child-size servings of fish per week. A child-size serving is 1 ounce of fish for children under two; 1.5 ounces for children ages three to six; and 2 ounces for a child over six.
Be advised that tuna does contain small amounts of methylmercury, a metal believed to be harmful to a child’s developing brain and nervous system when consumed in high doses. It is best to limit your child’s intake to no more than twice a week. Canned tuna is lower in mercury than albacore tuna, so it’s the best choice to feed your baby.
You should note that it is unsafe to feed your child fish that contain high levels of mercury. These fish include tilefish, swordfish, shark and mackeral. Consuming fish that are high in mercury can result in mercury posioning, which can cause life-threatening effects.
Trust Your Gut
Remember, knowing the right time to serve fish to your child depends on you. Some doctors say it is fine once your baby is old enough for solid foods, while others believe you should still wait until after a child’s second birthday. Keep in mind that your child is more likely to have a fish allergy if there is a family history of the disease.
Once you decide to serve fish to your baby, it is a great source of vitamins, minerals and protein that should be added to their diet on a regular basis. Always make sure their fish is thoroughly cooked, and avoid serving fish that have high levels of mercury to your child.
As always, if you have any questions about feeding fish to your child, when you should introduce it to their diet, what type of fish is safe, and how often your child can have fish, it is best to consult your child’s physician. He or she will be able to answer your questions and discuss your concerns in more detail.