Working out when to introduce your baby to fish and seafood can be a little puzzling. Advice in the past has been to start with things like rice cereal, apple, pear and pumpkin, and wait until your baby reaches seven months of age, then eight months and so on, to add particular foods (particularly things like egg, wheat and fish) to his diet. However, recent Australian guidelines state that you can introduce your baby to foods in any order you choose, providing iron-rich and nutritious foods are given priority. These include iron-fortified baby cereals, lentils, lean red meat and poultry.
So where does this leave fish and seafood?
Assuming you start your baby on solids at about six months of age, as is recommended, and begin with iron-fortified options as just mentioned, she might be seven or eight months old before it even occurs to you to serve up some fish! Be guided by your baby’s appetite and her texture preference; if you can steam it and puree it to her liking, there’s no reason you can’t try fish or other seafood at a time that suits you.
What about allergies?
Like we mentioned in our post on allergies here: http://www.qubies.com.au/all-about-baby-food-allergies/, some foods are the more common culprits for food allergies – and yes, fish and other seafood are on that list. If you have a history of food allergies in your family, you may be more vigilant when watching for a reaction to seafood, but remember that bubs can react to any food, even without a family history. Keeping this in mind, current expert advice tends to suggest that delaying the introduction of new foods won’t help prevent allergies from occurring.
How do I prepare it?
You’ll need to modify your family fish meal to suit your baby. If it’s puree on the menu, set aside an extra piece of fish or seafood and take special care to remove any bones. Puree with water or another vegetables to the desired consistency. Older babies may appreciate strips of cooked fish, or homemade baked fish fingers.