Introducing new finger foods to your baby can be a fun (and messy) experience, and of course you want your little one to sample as much as possible. But can babies eat canned salmon safely? Here's what parents should know about this particular type of seafood.
For the most part, this cold water fish has the potential to be a nutritious part of your little one's diet. "Yes, canned fish such as tuna or salmon can be healthy food for babies. It's soft and baby can feed themselves flaked canned fish," Jennifer House, MSc, a registered dietitian with First Step Nutrition, tells Romper. It also packs some serious nutrition.
"Salmon and tuna are both great sources of DHA, which is an important fatty acid that plays a critical role in supporting your baby’s brain and eye development," Erin Quann, Ph.D., R.D., director of nutrition research at Gerber, tells Romper.
Just make sure your little one has the chops to handle this textured food. "Canned salmon is often shredded, so this may be something to introduce near or at the 1-year mark," Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN, who serves on the advisory board for Fitter Living, tells Romper. There are a few other ways to ensure the dish is kid-friendly, too. "One major thing to note about canned salmon: Make sure you remove any bones or chewy scales before serving," adds Miller. You can even mash or puree it beforehand, Quann explains. With a little prep, your canned salmon dish will be ready to serve in no time.
Also, consider the type of salmon you're buying. In general, "canned wild salmon will contain less PCB and chemical contaminants compared to farmed salmon," says House, so that's the way to go. It's similar to choosing the safer kind of tuna for your kid to eat.
Lastly, introducing canned salmon early on could potentially help your kid with food allergies later in life. Because "fish can be a top allergen, it is good for parents to introduce these top allergens early on in a baby’s life (even as early as 6 months if texture permits) to expose children to top allergen foods. Some research shows that early introduction of top allergen foods may decrease the risk of a child developing food allergies," says Miller. With this in mind, make sure your known the signs of food allergies in babies beforehand, and discuss any concerns with your pediatrician.
For the most part, though, canned salmon can become a healthy part of your baby's diet. Enjoy introducing your little one to this tasty fish.
Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN, who serves on the advisory board for Fitter Living