When your baby turns 6 months old, you can begin to feed him a world of nutritious solid foods. It is indeed a big mistake not to include fish in your baby’s daily meals. Fish is amazingly rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins. Plus, fish brings your child a wonderful source of omega-6, omega-3 fatty acids as well as iron.
These nutrients play a vital role in your baby’s well-rounded development, both physically and mentally. Now, you may ask which fish are most nutritious for babies.
Here’s how fish rate according to different nutrients.
- Richest in omega 3 fatty acids: albacore tuna, Alaskan halibut, herring, lake trout, mackerel, salmon, pompano fish, and sardines.
- Richest in protein: salmon, swordfish, tuna, and snapper. Most fish have the same protein content. Fish with highest total protein per serving are cod, lobster, tuna, and shrimp.
- The richest source of vitamin B-12: bluefin tuna, clams, herring, mackerel, salmon and rainbow trout.
- Highest iron content: shrimp, clams, swordfish, and mackerel.
- Lowest iron content: sea bass, orange roughy, and snapper.
- Highest zinc content: clams, lobster, crab, and swordfish.
- Highest calcium content: canned salmon that has bones.
- Richest in calories, saturated fats, and total fat: mackerel.
- The poorest source of saturated fat and total fat: orange roughy and lobster.
- Highest cholesterol content: mackerel, shrimp, and lobster.
- Lowest cholesterol content: albacore, grouper, halibut, yellowfin tuna, snapper, and tuna.
- Riskiest fish due to pollutants: shrimp, wild catfish, lake trout and other fish living in warm water or in lakes with agrochemical run-off.
- Fish that are least risky of pollutants: tuna, salmon and other fish living in the deep-water sea.
What types of fish are most nutritious?
Oily fish (sardines, salmon, chunk-light tuna, and halibut) have the highest omega-3 fatty acid content. However, it’s impractical to feed babies sardines while tuna and halibut contain higher amount of mercury.
Salmon brings the best proportion of DHA (i.e the healthy omega-3) and I believe both babies and adults can benefit the most from this healthy fish.
However, since nearly every seafood has omega-3 content, you should try feeding your little kid various fish that are low in mercury. Another good food choice is pollock which is often seen in commercial fish fingers.
What are the benefits of feeding your baby fish?
· Help your baby with brain development
According to a study published in the Pediatrics journal in 2003, mothers taking omega-3 spills during pregnancy and breastfeeding period could raise their babies’ cognitive ability at the age of 4.
Another study done in 2005 unfolded that children at schooling age who took omega-3 spills performed better in spelling and reading. Because the brain of a child develops fastest before birth and continues its rapid growth in one year after birth. The brain rowth rate triples till the first year ending. So, it is ideal to add DHA into a baby’s meals at this period.
· Reduce the risk of eczema
Omega-3 fatty acids help prevent inflammation happening to all body parts, even the skin. A study done in Sweden reveals that feeding your baby some chunk-light tuna or salmon before he turns 9 months old helps him avoid eczema – an acute skin inflammation
· Sharpen vision
DHA is proved to improve infants’ vision.
· Strengthen immune system
Excellent omega-3 fatty acids are also capable of enhancing immunity. According to a study in Denmark, toddlers who drank formula with fish oil supplement had far higher protein levels (which enhances the immune system) compared to those only consuming cow’s milk or plain formula.
· Increase attention span
One study revealed that mothers with higher levels of DHA in blood during delivery had their babies maintain concentration on a certain object better. In contrast, mothers with lower DHA levels gave birth to low-concentration children.
When can I start feeding my baby fish?
Apart from shellfish, mashed or puréed fish can be ideal food for babies from 6 months old when they begin to feed on solid food. Fish may appear to be for “grown-up” children, but infants can ideally get a fair share of it.
What is the appropriate fish amount?
According to the FDA, in order to gain health benefits, children should have fish in their diet twice or three times per week. However, kid’s servings are not as much as adults’.
Here are the appropriate proportions for children of different ages:
- Less than 6 years of age: Around three to five ounces each week
- From six to eight years old: Around four to six ounces each week
- From 9 years old and above: Servings grow in size since calorie demands rise, reaching nine to twelve ounces each week (the portion appropriate for grown-ups)
You should bear this in mind: the portions recommended vary depending on the types of fish. For fish catched from streams, lakes and rivers, the servings decrease to one to two ounces per week for kids younger than 6 and two to three ounces for kids aged more than 6. Also, remember not to feed any other fish for your kids during that week.
How can I get my kids to eat it?
In the beginning, you’d better begin with small-sized servings, for example, a teaspoon of smashed fish. Later on, gradually size up the portions. My advice is, you should keep on feeding one type of fish for 3 or 4 days before changing to another type.
Tips for preparing fish for your babies?
- Take out all the skin and bones to protect your child from choking. Next, smash, puree or choose another way to bring the fish into pieces.
- Whichever type of fish you feed your kid, remember to cook it thoroughly until it turns opaque and flakes.
- However, you should not include in your baby’s servings such types of fish as marlin, swordfish and shark. Those fish are likely to contain mercury which can do badly for the brain growth of your child.
Allergies to fish
Keep something like a food diary to track the reactions of your kid to the fish you feed him. By this way, you can know whether your kid is allergic to or intolerant of any seafood.
Since shellfish are riskier to cause allergies than other fish, you should not add them into your kid’s meal till they turn one year old. If seafood allergies are heritable, you should consult a doctor before you decide to fees your baby any fish or shellfish.
The most frequent question to ask when feeding your baby is Which Fish are Most Nutritious for babies? When it comes to fish, the worthiest nutrient is omega-3 fatty acids.
In my opinion, You would do better choosing salmon or tuna because it is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and fish oil that are very good for your babies’ heart health and developing brains.