How Much Fish Is Too Much for 1 Year Old?

Updated on March 17, 2008
S.A. asks from Manchester, NH
6 answers

Hi Moms, my 13 mo old daughter loves tuna fish (yes, really), and fish sticks. Does anyone know how much fish is too much to give to a one year old in a one week timespan? I'm having a hard time introducing new table foods that she will actually eat, and she has not yet taken to chicken or other meats. Thanks for your feedback!

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B.P.

answers from Boston on

It takes a child up to 21 exposures to a food before they will decide whether they actually like it or not. Children's tastes change constantly. In addition texture, the way a food is prepared, how it is seasoned, and how it smells are also big factors. Something they love this week they may hate next week. What they like at 18 months old they may not at 2yrs but enjoy again at 2.5 yrs old.
I would be very cautious about offering fish to an infant even a toddler...even fish sticks can have bones.
Kids will generally eat what parents eat. If they see you enjoying a healthy, balanced meal, and a variety of food, chances are they will be more open to trying it too. Offer what you prepare for meals, do not turn in to a short order cook.

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A.C.

answers from Boston on

Hi S. -

I am not sure that anyone will be able to give you a clear cut answer but this is what I know... The fish that have the most mercury are the larger fish in the ocean i.e. tuna. So, if your daughter loves fish try to give her either fresh water type fish (salmon, trout) or go for smaller ocean fish. Fish get mercury by eating smaller fish who in turn eat smaller fish and so on. So the smaller ones will have less mercury. Fish has great benefits but in little ones we really don't know what harm it can cause. So, I guess if it were me I would give my daughter fish once a week and then try other meats and proteins.

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N.F.

answers from Boston on

I do not know about tunafish, but you should not give her fish sticks or any other kind of seafood until age 5. My son wound up being alergic to Sulfer (meds that he was on) and the DR told me not to give him any fish. That they shouldn't have fish till then because they may not be alergic to it the first time but if they keep eating it they can. My son was on Meds that had sulfer in it and he did not get a reaction until day 4.

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K.V.

answers from Boston on

If it is the mercury that concerns you, then cut down to 2 to 3 times a week. Vaccinations have more mercury then fish ever thought of having and that is injected into children at high amounts!

You can get some of the canned chicken and open that in front of your daughter and maybe she likes eating her "meat" out of the can. Then, you can introduce her that way to chicken.

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J.W.

answers from Boston on

i discovered an amazing tunafish at whole foods called american tuna - it is SO yummy i can eat it straight out of the can!! it is not cheap though - but to me - it is one of the things worth sacrificing for as it can be used as a meal and costs the same as chicken or meat would!! and it is SO good for you. hope this helps!
J.
ps - here are some links and info about it...

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/pressroom/pr_02-25-08.html

http://www.americantuna.com/index.html

What about the Mercury:
There has been a lot of talk about the unsafe mercury levels in "Tuna" recently, which has become a growing concern for many tuna lovers. In order to understand the facts behind these serious statements we must first understand that the "Tuna" with unsafe levels of mercury are by no means a lump sum. There are many different species within the genus of Tuna. The specific species that contain these unsafe amounts of mercury are found in older Yellow Fin, Blue Fin and Albacore.

All the aforementioned species can reach a long life span of over 40 years. As these fish get older they tend to migrate to warmer pacific waters and live. It is in these circumstances that they have seen higher mercury levels. These fish are very old and have had many years to accumulate mercury into their bodies. However our albacore is 'hook & line' caught off the Pacific Northwest Coastline. When albacore are younger they stay in the colder Pacific waters.

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B.G.

answers from Barnstable on

I have the same issue. A 14 month old that is a very picky eater. She is also a fan of fish.... I dont mind because I love it. I think as long as you dont give it to her daily and go by the rules of pregnancy... in other words "Low in Mercury" - I think you will be ok.

Also take a look at www.kellymom.com it might help provide you with information on nutrition for toddlers.

Next question: Seafood and Being Pregnant