30 August 2018


Is fish a good food for babies?


"Omega-3's are the head-to-toe nutrient because they're good for nearly every organ of a child's body, from the brain to the skin. Most parents, however, are unsure about feeding their babies fish, which is the richest source of DHA, the healthiest type of omega-3 fatty acid for infants." ~ Dr.William Sears, M.D. via Parenting.com

Fish is a super nutritious food for baby and adults.However,they are also prone to mercury contamination etc ,making them scary, skeptical and risky to consume wholeheartedly especially when it comes to feeding a baby .

RISK - What exactly is mercury contamination in fish ?

The industrial garbage,agricultural wastes,storm water run off etc release mercury products or similar deadly contaminants into the water bodies like river,streams,sea etc which is then consumed by the marine animals and then they get contaminated especially with Methyl Mercury .Methyl Mercury is toxic for fetuses and especially for young children leading to developmental problems .

BENEFITS - What are the benefits of consuming a fish ?

  • Fish is low in saturated fat and a good source of high protein,vitamins ,minerals ,Omega 3 fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) ) and some fish may also provide Vitamin D, making it an excellent food for brain,heart and overall health .
  • Omega 3 (DHA) aids in neurological and visual developments in infants making them brighter,smarter and happier .
  • Improves the immune system of the baby.
  • Keeps skin allergies at bay - Omega 3's decreases the inflammation in all parts of the body ,prevents any skin allergy flare ups and ease asthma symptoms as well .
According to an article published in mercola.com ,"Omega-3 deficiency is likely the sixth biggest killer of Americans, and may be a significant underlying factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year."

How to avoid the risk and achieve the benefits, the fish has to offer ?

There are plant based Omega 3s but they can never replace the effectiveness of animal based Omega 3s .So, according to recent studies and medical experts advise ,Fish is an ideal food that cannot be avoided .Trick is to go for fish that falls into the category of low mercury level .

What are those fish that are low or high in mercury level ?

Here is an apt pictorial representation straight from FDA AS IT IS in their website for a credible referral .(The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services responsible for protecting and promoting public health.

Picture Credit : FDA

When can we start feeding the baby fish ?

Dr.William Sears mentioned in the article in Parenting.com ,that baby can start on fish except the shellfish right from 6 months of age . 

And as mentioned in the Babycenter.com,fish is one of the top allergenic food and if a baby has chronic eczema or a food allergy or allergy runs in the family,discuss with your baby's doctor first.As with any new food ,offer fish for 3-5 days to rule out any allergy symptoms  like facial swelling,skin rash,wheezing,vomiting,diarrhea,abdominal cramping etc .

How much fish baby should eat ?

Baby (less than 6 years of age) should eat 2-6 Oz of fish per week .

Other points to remember while offering fish to baby are :

  • Fresh fish is the best.
  • Fish should be cooked well to destroy bacteria and viruses that thrive in raw or undercooked fish.
  • To prevent choking,fish should be boneless,skinless,minced and pureed.
  • Smaller fish have few contaminants.
  • Cut off the fatty parts of the fish which collects contaminants like PCBs .However,mercury cannot be removed like this as it is stored in  the muscle tissue of the fish.
    Picture Credit :Washington State Depatment of health

Old studies Vs New studies of serving fish to baby

According to the old studies fish were advised by medical experts to be given to babies after 1 year of age to prevent any allergy.

According to the new research,fish can be introduced as soon as 4-6 months whenever baby is introduced to solid food ,it ensures any future fish allergy and also makes baby more open to different kinds of foods with ease.

I gave my baby right from 7 months and by God's grace and her grace of course,she accepted it wholeheartedly without any fuss so far (Touchwood!!) and the fish I trust and love to give her is Salmon as it is not only the best source of Omega3s but also provides Vitamin D.I was skeptical as I personally don't like the taste of the salmon but my baby is kind and cooperative so far(Touchwood again!) 😀

I was also very confused with the varieties of fish with low level mercury level that can be given to baby aptly and now I finally have the list here to refer properly.:)

So,yes there is something fishy about them (fish) but then personally,I believe hardly anything in today's era is not adulterated or contaminated .It's a tricky world out there ,we have to use our brain and heart to make the smart choice about everything ..and when it comes to baby,we have to be extra cautious because what an adult body can handle (foods etc) ,a baby's immature or developing digestive system or body may not and even be harmful .

However, inspite of the dark sides ,we have to look at the bright side and make the right decisions as much as possible that would ensure baby is still getting all the essential nutrition properly to the best of our ability . 

So,say yes to fish (with big heart and low mercury !) 😊

Cheers to a brainy healthy baby !! AMEN!

DISCLAIMER:This article/blogpost is for informational purpose only and are not intended to offer any personal medical advice. Please seek and follow the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions/concerns you may have regarding a medical condition .