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How do I give fish to my child?

It is well known that fish is a very rich food at a nutritional level. In addition to containing proteins with a high biological value, it also provides essential nutrients such as iodine or selenium and vitamins A, D or B12, among other interesting nutrients such as the healthy fat of blue fish. Surely you know the omega-3 fatty acids in bluefish, right?

fish for child

Fish is, as you can see, a very interesting food and, therefore, necessary in your child’s healthy diet for proper development and nutrition.

Despite this, in society there is the “myth” that it is a food that normally generates rejection in the child population. It is not always that way! Moreover, do not start introducing the fish in his diet with this unnecessary “fear”, many children love it and there is no more problem! Next, we will try to clear all the doubts that you have around the fish in the children’s diet.

Are you ready? Let’s go there!

The general recommendation is that the introduction of fish into the child’s diet should be carried out when complementary feeding begins, that is, after 6 months of age.

The important thing is to incorporate the new foods one by one, during the day (do not give them at night to be more alert) and in small quantities for the first time. Although there are no specific agreed guidelines on this, it is often recommended to wait between 1 and 3 days between new foods to detect possible adverse reactions in the baby. So keep in mind that you won’t have time to give “all new foods just at 6 months”, it will be a progressive introduction from that age.

At this time you can start giving porridge that contains fish or shredded pieces of fish without skin or bones. Both in one case and the other, you should keep in mind that meals for children from 6 to 12 months can include, at most, 30-40 g/day of white (lean) or blue (fatty) fish without bones (this amount as long as that same day you have not also given meat or egg, not to exceed the protein that your child can tolerate).

If you opt for porridge, it is best to try to prepare them at home, so that controls the amount of fish that we have just mentioned and other ingredients to make it (such as using extra virgin olive oil or not adding any salt).

Yes! You always have to boil the fish and the other components before crushing them. It is not yet time to use other forms of cooking such as iron, too strong for your baby’s stomach.

I put a reminder of some of the fish you can enter:

  • For kids, with blue fish it is better to prioritize small ones (sardines or anchovies, for example).
  • But … And after the porridge?

    As I said before, you can start giving it when you want shredded pieces of fish without skin and bones.

    If you are worried that your little one “accepts this food group”, remember that the most important thing is that you, the parents, standardize the consumption of this food at home and lead by example.

    But … Is giving fish to a child safe? I heard they contain mercury…

    Mercury is a metal that is found in water and that, is stored in fish fat. The competent authorities have already issued different reports and press release in which they tell us that, due to their mercury content, in children under 3 years of age, the consumption of swordfish or emperor, cazon, tintorera and tuna must be avoided (in children of 3 to 12 years, limit it to 50 g/week or 100 g/2 weeks and not consume any more of the same category the same week). In addition, because of the presence of cadmium, children should avoid the usual consumption of shrimp heads, prawns and crayfish or the body of crab -like crustaceans.

    Fish after complementary feeding

    In children between 12 months and 3 years, the amount of fish we offer to our child should be progressively increased, until we reach 60-70 g of fish the day that we give him this food. Remember that these amounts are if that day we do not give him meat or egg, if you want to include them at lunch and dinner, you should divide the amounts.

    Here are some tips to make it more enjoyable

    • The type of fish: There are some fish that have a stronger flavor. Introduce them little by little and so that this flavor is softened with other foods. For example: with a few drops of lemon.
    • Form of presentation: Some of the children who develop rejection of fish do so out of boredom. Therefore … let’s be creative! When we have passed the period of complementary feeding, we can change the way of preparing the fish (iron, oven, papillote, microwave, steam, boiled …) and the form of presentation (in the form of hamburger, timbale, roll …).
    • Involve the child in the food preparation process: Children value everything that is done by them and are very proud to show their skills to others. Take advantage of it! Involve your child in the process of preparing lunch or dinner, ask him to cook with you (obviously, taking into account his age and his abilities).

    As always, if you have any questions, contact your Dietitian-Nutritionist or pediatrician, who can advise and guide you in knowing your case better.

    image source: staticflickr