Can Babies Eat Salmon? When Can They Eat It?
Maybe salmon is one of your favorite foods. Maybe you and your family eat salmon all the time. But, recently, you’ve welcomed a new tiny member of the family. If you have a new baby in the household, you may be wondering — can babies have salmon?
Here’s everything you need to know about how to cook salmon for babies.
When Can Babies Eat Salmon?
Of course, when asking if babies can eat salmon, it’s often a matter of when can babies have salmon instead. When feeding your baby anything, there’s typically a certain age when it’s safe to introduce a new food to their diet, without risking illness, choking or food allergies.
When it comes to salmon, according to expert child nutritionists and dietitians, babies can safely enjoy this healthful fish as soon as they’re eating solid foods. This is typically around the six-month mark, so long as your baby is showing interest in eating, double their birth weight and is able to hold their head upright on their own.
Can babies eat raw salmon?
No, you should not give raw salmon to your baby. At this age, salmon for babies should always be thoroughly cooked.
The Food and Drug Administration recommends not feeding any raw seafood to any “high-risk” groups, which includes infants. Children typically move out of the high-risk group once their immune systems are more thoroughly developed, usually around age 5 or 6.
Should I worry about my baby being allergic to salmon?
It is unlikely for your baby to have an allergic reaction to salmon. The experts note that finned fish allergies like a salmon allergy are less common than shellfish allergies. Many finned fish allergies don’t appear until adulthood. This makes an allergic reaction in your baby unlikely. That being said, even if your salmon is thoroughly cooked before you feed it to your baby, there’s still the small risk of an allergic reaction, just like when you feed any brand-new food to your infant.
Still, when introducing new food to an infant, it’s always a good idea to only introduce one new food at a time, so you can easily identify a culprit if an allergic reaction occurs. Additionally, know the signs of a food allergy, such as hives, itching, mouth swelling, wheezing and/or gastrointestinal distress, occurring within a few hours of eating. If an allergic reaction occurs, call your pediatrician right away.
Why Make Salmon for Baby?
If you only feed your baby thoroughly cooked salmon and you can confirm that they’re not allergic to the fish, there are a multitude of reasons to make salmon a regular part of your baby’s diet. The benefits of salmon for babies are vast.
Salmon is filled with Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA) to help your baby’s developing brain and eyes. The Vitamin D content can aid calcium absorption and bone development. The protein content will help your baby meet their daily requirements. Salmon is also a good source of iron and zinc.
Choosing the Best Salmon for Baby
That said, not all salmon is a good fit for your baby.
Purchasing high-quality, fresh salmon — like wild-caught Alaskan salmon — is preferable. Farmed or canned, preserved salmon can come packed with chemicals that you don’t want to feed your baby. For example, canned fish often contains BPA, a packaging lining that’s harmful for both you and your baby. Even the sodium content in some packaged and processed salmon can be a harmful addition to your baby’s diet.
Making Your Own Salmon Baby Food
Looking for some salmon recipes for baby? Feeding your baby fresh, cooked salmon is easy and, often, it’s convenient to prepare some plain salmon for your baby at the same time that you cook a more complicated salmon dish for the rest of your family.
If you’re serving your baby salmon when they’re 6 to 12 months old, we recommend offering small pieces of fish about the size of a finger or flaked. You can serve it plain or mixed into other foods that you know your baby loves, such as yogurt, mashed avocado or mashed potatoes. Once your baby is older, one to two years old, you can serve the salmon in larger pieces or as part of more complicated dishes.
Simple salmon recipes that an older baby might enjoy (and that you might like, too!) include a simple salmon cake made from flaked salmon, mashed sweet potato and enough bread crumbs and egg needed to form a patty, which you can then bake or pan-fry. You can also combine flaked salmon with cooked rice, peas, carrots and eggs, to create a simple stir-fry. A salmon egg casserole is also an option, combining eggs, flaked salmon and whatever veggies you have on hand into a greased casserole dish, baking until done.
If you want to specifically make salmon baby food that has the consistency and texture of traditional, jarred baby food, you can follow this recipe from Vitamix, which shows you how to make a smooth puree using sweet potatoes, salmon and the milk of your choice.
Photo Credit: Vitamix
Do note that just because you and the rest of the family love salmon, that doesn’t necessarily mean your new tot will be quick to jump on board with this new food. Salmon can be difficult to get accustomed to at first — the texture, smell and taste are all new to your baby. Introduce the food slowly, portion it to make it easier to grab, and consider combining it with favorite foods so that they’re more likely to enjoy it without hesitation.
Give Your Baby the Very Best Salmon
Before you feed any salmon to your baby, it’s important to verify you're only feeding your child — and your entire family — only the highest-quality, healthiest ingredients. Alaskan Salmon Company offers wild-caught, Copper River salmon flash-frozen at peak freshness, so you can be assured your baby is only getting the best. Better yet, we deliver this salmon straight to your door, so there’s less fuss to worry about. After all, new parents have enough on their plates.
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