Can Babies Eat Fish Sticks [Fish Fingers]? Safety + Benefits 

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Fish sticks, or fish fingers, are a popular childhood favorite that is made from battered or breaded fish. However, the appeal of these tasty finger foods may lead you to wonder when and how they can safely introduce fish sticks to your baby.

Overall, your baby can have fish sticks or fish fingers when they are at least ten months old as long as they are chopped up into small bite-sized pieces. Fish is an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. 

In this article, we will talk more about the safety of fish sticks for your baby, how to serve them, the healthiest options, allergies, and more. 

Are Fish Sticks (Fish Fingers) Safe for Babies? 

Fish sticks or fish fingers are safe for babies when they are around ten to 12 months old if the fish sticks are in their traditional form. This recommendation is because babies can have finger foods that are in soft and bite-sized pieces when they are around ten to 12 months of age (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia). 

Breaded fish sticks served with french fries, lemon and tomato

However, if you want to give a younger baby fish sticks, you can puree the fish sticks until smooth. A six-month-old baby can only have thin and watery purees, so you can add some infant formula or breast milk to make the fish puree thinner. Around six to nine months old, your baby can typically tolerate thicker consistency purees. 

Let’s summarize this information in the following table (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia):

Age in MonthsCan Your Baby Have Fish Sticks?
6Yes, as a watery puree with breast milk or infant formula added.
7Yes, as a thicker smooth puree.
8Yes, as a thicker smooth puree.
9Yes, as a thicker smooth puree.
10Yes, chopped into small bite-sized pieces that are soft and easy to chew.
11Yes, chopped into small bite-sized pieces that are soft and easy to chew.
12Yes, chopped into small bite-sized pieces that are soft and easy to chew.

Also, the quality of the fish that these sticks and fish fingers contain varies widely. You may find fish stick products made from whole pieces of flaky fish fillet, whether pollock, cod, or another whitefish, or from minced fish with filler. It is best to serve your baby higher quality fish sticks that contain whole fish fillets.

As mentioned, fish sticks are made from whitefish, such as cod, pollock, or haddock. These fish are low in mercury and safe for your baby to have about twice a week (source: United States Food and Drug Administration [FDA]). 

Typically, fish sticks are breaded in breadcrumbs or batter that is often high in sodium. However, there are lightly breaded frozen options as well. Overall, the fish stick should be soft and thoroughly cooked. So avoid fish stick brands that are “Extra Crispy” or “Extra Crunchy” because they can be too hard for your baby to eat. 

If you are making fish sticks from scratch at home, avoid too much breading or overcooking that could make the fish stick hard and difficult to chew for your baby.

fried fish sticks on a white plate

How to Serve Fish Fingers to Babies

If you are serving fish fingers to your baby, who is at least ten months old, make sure you cut or mash up the fish so that your baby can easily chew the pieces. In addition, make sure the fish is not tough, chewy, or overcooked because this can make it difficult to eat and increase the risk of choking.

Fish sticks are an excellent option for baby-led weaning because the small pieces are easy to grasp and pick up so your baby can feed themself. 

Many wonders if fish sticks have bones, and while it is extremely unlikely that you will find a bone in a fish stick or fish finger, mashing and chopping up the fish should reveal if any are present. 

Can Babies Be Allergic to Fish Sticks?

Fish is one of the most common allergens; therefore, your baby can be allergic to fish sticks. Rather than avoid giving your baby fish out of fear of a food allergy, introduce the fish by itself and at least three days away from introducing another new food (source: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology). 

Additionally, monitor for any adverse reactions or signs of a food allergy, such as vomiting, diarrhea, swelling, itching, coughing, wheezing, and more (source: American Academy of Pediatrics). 

I hope this article was helpful in providing guidance on serving fish sticks to your baby.