Can Babies Eat Pate? [Including Liver Pate]

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Pate, also known as terrine, is a popular smooth mixture that often contains a combination of meat, liver, seafood, poultry, and vegetables served either hot or cold atop bread. However, is this meaty paste safe for babies? 

Overall, pate, including liver pate, is safe for babies as long as they are at least six months old and the pate is canned or shelf-stable. Pate can be modified by adding breast milk or infant formula to make it a thinner texture to make it appropriate for your baby’s age. 

In this article, we will discuss more information regarding the safe of pate, fish pate and how to introduce pate to your baby. Read on to learn more! 

Can Babies Eat Pate? Is it Safe for Them?

Babies can safely have pate, including liver pate, once they reach around six months old. Additionally, make sure the pate is canned or shelf-stable (source: United States Food and Drug Administration [FDA]).

When it comes to meat spreads, it is best to avoid those that are unpasteurized or refrigerated due to the increased risk of bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses, such as listeria monocytogenes. 

pate in a bowl and spread on bread

The canning and manufacturing process kills any bacteria that may be present, so this form of pate is safest for your baby. 

A primary concern of certain types of pates that contain liver, such as duck liver pate, is the vitamin A content. Vitamin A’s tolerable upper intake level for babies from birth to age three years is 600 micrograms, or mcg (source: National Institutes of Health [NIH]). However, too much vitamin A can have toxic effects on infants and young children. 

For reference, a one-tablespoon serving of canned chicken liver pate contains 28.2 micrograms of vitamin A (source: United States Department of Agriculture [USDA]). Therefore, serving a few tablespoons of liver pate to your baby is safe without fearing that they will have too much vitamin A. 

In fact, it is important your baby gets enough vitamin A each day. For a baby, six months or younger, the recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, is 400 micrograms (source: NIH).

The RDA for seven to 12 months is 500 micrograms. Therefore, liver, along with other foods rich in vitamin A, is an excellent and nutritious food for babies. Additionally, pate is rich in protein, which benefits your baby’s growth and development.

pate in cans on grocery shelf

When your baby is about six months, you can safely introduce pate to your baby as long as it is entirely smooth (source: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign). Then, you can add some breast milk or infant formula to thin the pate paste to a watery consistency.

After six months, your baby can have thicker consistency purees, such as the normal consistency of pate. However, make sure it is still completely smooth. When your baby hits eight months old, they can have lumpy consistencies. 

Is Fish Pate Safe for Babies? When? 

Besides liver and other types of meat, fish and seafood are often commonly used in pate. These options are also safe for babies once they are at least six months old, following the texture guidelines mentioned above. Make sure any fish or seafood pate that you serve to your baby is canned and shelf-stable. 

Salmon pate in a glass jar and on pieces of rye bread.

Additionally, since pate can be made from many different types of seafood and fish, make sure the pate contains fish that are low in mercury, such as trout, salmon, or whitefish (source: American Academy of Pediatrics). 

Also, since fish and seafood are common allergens, many parents worry about offering fish pate to their babies.

However, research shows that introducing food with a common allergen, such as fish, can actually help prevent allergies because it allows your baby’s immune system to become tolerant to it (source: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign).

Just keep your eye out for any food allergy symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea, and more. 

Finally, all types of pates are typically high in sodium. Too much salt is not good for your baby’s kidneys (source: National Health Service [NHS]). Therefore, limit the amount of pate your baby eats to reduce their sodium intake.

I hope you found this article helpful in breaking down the safety and nutrition of pate for your baby.