Parents are often surprised to learn that babies can be offered fish from the moment they start weaning but it is a common allergen so many parents delay introducing fish until their little ones are more experienced eaters. We felt it was time to dispel some myths and give you some of the facts and some guidance on introducing fish safely to your little one:
Small fish is best for small children
No more than 2 servings of fresh, oily fish per week
No fish or shellfish to be offered to babies younger than 6 months
Avoid serving tinned fish in brine
Avoid serving high-mercury fish such as shark, swordfish or marlin
How your baby can benefit from fish
Small Fish are Best for Small Children
Some fish contain high levels of mercury yet parents are advised to serve their child fish 2 times per week so which fish are okay? Dr lisa Szabo, chief scientist at the NSW Food Authority, says “most fish are low in mercury however longer lived predatory fish tend to build up their mercury levels.” The best way to think about this is to remember that “Small fish are best for small children”.
Avoid Serving High-Mercury Fish Such As Shark, Swordfish or Marlin
The NSW Food Authority state “An easy rule for choosing the best fish for children is that when whole, the fish should be the size of an average plate”. Larger fish tend to have high levels of mercury and should be avoided. These include shark or flake, swordfish, marlin and broadbill should not be included in the diet of small children.
"Examples of low mercury fish that are commonly available include bream, rainbow trout, ocean trout, flathead, kingfish and whiting - canned tuna and salmon are also good low mercury options but be careful of the high salt content in brine.
No More Than 2 Servings Per Week
The Food Standard Authority recommend no more than 2 servings per week of fish for young children, but as always, we have to ask, what is a serving? 1 serving = 75g or ½ an average fillet
Avoid Tinned Fish In Brine Brine has a high salt content so instead opt for tinned fish in oil.
How Your Baby Can Benefit From Fish
Fish are a valuable source of protein, minerals, vitamin B12, Iodine and contain omega-3 fatty acids which are important for the development of your child’s nervous system.
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