When Can Babies Eat Shellfish?


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Do you love seafood? Are you keen to add shellfish to your baby’s diet soon? Well, if you can relate to the above situations reading this post is a good idea!

While weaning your baby, you may be keen to introduce your baby to a variety of foods and flavors. But is adding shellfish to your baby’s meal plans a good idea? Read the article to know about babies and shellfish and also how and when can babies eat shellfish!

What Is A Shellfish?

Shellfish is a type of seafood which has a hard outer covering. Mollusks and crustaceans are subcategories of shellfish. Shellfish like oysters and shrimps are popular ingredients in global cuisine.

Benefits Of Eating Shellfish:

Crustaceans like lobsters, crabs, and mollusks like oysters are replete with nutrients like protein and zinc. They also contain a good amount of Vitamin B12. All these nutrients are essential for growth and development of the human body.

[ Read: Fish Recipes For Babies ]

Symptoms Of Shellfish Allergy:

Some people develop an allergy early on in life after consuming crustaceans like shrimp. The food allergy may be mild or severe. A child suffering from it may even need hospitalization. It is necessary that you know about common symptoms of food allergy that appear after consuming shellfish:

  • A tingling feeling in the mouth
  • Mild to severe abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Itching
  • Swelling on the face
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Increase in pulse rate

A food allergy occurs when the human body reacts to the tropomyosin protein present in shellfish. The time the symptoms take to appear in case of a food allergy can vary from one kid to another. In most cases, the symptoms appear quickly though.

Other Side Effects Of Consuming Shellfish:

Eating shellfish may adversely affect your health in the following ways:

  • Dishes with semi-cooked shellfish may contain bacteria. It can cause indigestion and infection in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Shellfish may contain high levels of mercury that can prove to be toxic.

[ Read: Can Babies Eat Spicy Food ]

When Can Babies Eat Shellfish?

A majority of doctors advise mothers to introduce shellfish to their baby’s diet only after he turns a year old. They feel that the baby’s immunity and digestive system will develop by then and so a toddler can enjoy the goodness of shellfish safely. However, some doctors suggest it is better to wait until your baby turns three before you add shellfish to his diet.

Things To Remember:

Here are a few facts you should keep in mind before serving shellfish to your baby:

  • You need to remember if your family has a history of any seafood allergy.
  • You also need to keep in mind if your baby suffered from a food allergy before.
  • Ideally, you should first introduce your baby to other animal protein sources before adding shellfish to his diet.

[ Read: Effective Measures To Tackle Food Allergies In Babies ]

Tips To Introduce Shellfish For Babies:

Here are a few tips to serve shellfish to your baby:

  • Offer one type of shellfish at a time. It is better to start with a variant that is softer in texture.
  • Avoid giving semi-cooked or uncooked shellfish based dishes.
  • Watch out for a potential food allergy after serving a type of shellfish to your child. You should maintain a time interval before introducing him to another variety of shellfish.

Now you know how to introduce shellfish to your baby safely. Why wait? Go ahead and enlighten other moms.

When did you introduce your baby to shellfish? Did he suffer from any food allergy? Please share your experience and advice with us here.

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