Can babies eat smoked salmon? | safe introduction and considerations

As a parent, you may wonder if it is safe to introduce smoked salmon to your baby's diet. Fish, including salmon, can be a nutritious part of a child's diet. However, there are certain considerations to keep in mind when it comes to introducing smoked salmon to your baby.

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When Can Babies Eat Smoked Salmon?

According to the NHS, you can start offering fish, including smoked salmon, to your baby as soon as you start weaning them from 6 months of age. It is important to note that fish is one of the top 9 allergens in children. Less than 0.1% of children in Europe have a fish allergy, but it is still recommended to introduce a small amount of fish to your baby initially to monitor for any allergic reactions.

How Much Smoked Salmon Should Babies Eat?

When it comes to the amount of fish your child should be eating, it is recommended to offer them 2 servings of fish per week, with at least one serving being an oily fish. Oily fish, such as salmon, sardines, trout, crab, and mackerel, are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain development and heart health.

For girls, it is advised to have no more than 2 portions of oily fish per week due to potential pollutants that can build up and affect future development. Boys, on the other hand, can have up to 4 portions of oily fish per week. It is also important to limit the consumption of certain white fish, such as sea bream, sea bass, turbot, halibut, rock salmon, and brown crab meat, as they can contain similar pollutant levels to oily fish.

It is worth mentioning that certain types of fish, including shark, marlin, and swordfish, can be high in methyl mercury, and therefore, children under the age of 16 should avoid consuming these types of fish.

Is Smoked Salmon Safe for Babies?

While smoked salmon can be a tasty addition to your baby's diet, there are some factors to consider. Smoked fish, including smoked salmon, has a higher salt content than fresh fish due to the brining and smoking process. This higher salt content, along with the presence of nitrates and nitrites, can be a concern for young children.

For babies under 1 year old, it is advisable to avoid smoked fish altogether. For toddlers and older children, it is recommended to limit their consumption of smoked fish to once a week at most. It is also important to be mindful of the overall salt content in your child's diet on the day they consume smoked fish.

Additionally, traditional smoked fish is typically soaked in saltwater and then smoked over a wood fire. Some fish, such as haddock, may be artificially dyed to resemble the traditional ones. While the color does not affect the taste or safety of the fish, it is recommended to delay serving smoked fish to your child until they are 18 months old due to the higher salt content.

Alternative Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

If your child does not like or cannot consume fish, there are alternative sources of omega-3 fatty acids that you can include in their diet. Plant-based sources such as walnuts, pumpkin seed butter, flaxseed, chia seeds, tofu, leafy green vegetables, and rapeseed oil are all good options. There are also vegetarian/vegan omega-3 supplements available, such as algal oil, which can be discussed with a healthcare provider to ensure age-appropriate dosing and to prevent over-dosing or choking.

In conclusion, babies can eat smoked salmon as part of their diet, but it is important to introduce it gradually and monitor for any allergic reactions. It is recommended to offer fish, including smoked salmon, to your baby from 6 months of age, while being mindful of the salt content and limiting their consumption of smoked fish. If your child does not like fish or cannot consume it, there are alternative sources of omega-3 fatty acids available. As always, it is best to consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice and guidance on your child's nutrition.


  • Fish & Shellfish NHS
  • BDA Food facts Omega 3
  • BDA Fish Oils & Children
  • Solid Canned Fish for Babies
  • European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation

This blog was written by Jo Lenz, a specialist in paediatric dietetics. She has been a registered dietitian for 14 years and currently runs her own private practice. For more information, you can visit her website at or contact her via email at [email protected]. You can also find her on Instagram at @jolenzdietetics and on Facebook at @Jo Lenz Dietetics.

If you want to know other articles similar to Can babies eat smoked salmon? | safe introduction and considerations you can visit the Food safety category.

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