Cod

Age Suggestion: 6 months +
Nutrition Rating:How nutritious a food is with a focus on the specific nutrients babies need for optimal growth. The more nutritious a food, the more stars it will have.
Prep Time:How much time a food takes to prepare safely for a baby. The more time-consuming a food is to prepare safely, the more clocks it will have.
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Common Allergen: Yes (
  • Fish
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May cause allergic reactions.

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a piece of fresh cod to be prepared for a baby starting solids with baby-led weaning

When can babies eat cod fish?

Freshly cooked cod may be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months old. Avoid serving your baby salted, cured, or smoked cod, all of which contain high levels of sodium, which, in excess is not healthy for babies (or adults).

Kaia, 7 months, eats cod and broccoli.
Zuri, 15 months, tastes cod for the first time and isn’t into it.
Adie, 15 months, eats cod mixed with mayo on a fork.

Is cod healthy for babies?

Yes, in moderation. While cod is rich in vitamin B12 and iodine, an essential nutrient for brain development and immune system support, it has moderate levels of mercury, a toxic metal present in nearly all fish.

As with all cold-water fish, cod contains vitamin D, a bone-building nutrient that is commonly deficient in babies. Finally, cod is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein, which are essential building blocks for cell growth and protection.

When it comes to purchasing fish, it is best to choose low-mercury fish that have been line-caught. Look first for Pacific cod from Alaska, and if Atlantic cod is the only option available, try to purchase line-caught or fish farmed in indoor recirculating tanks.1

Is cod a common choking hazard for babies?

No. Cod is not a common choking hazard, though bones in fresh fish can present a hazard if not removed. To minimize the risk, be sure to pick out any lingering bones before serving. As always, make sure you create a safe eating environment, stay within an arm’s reach of baby during meals.

For more information on choking, visit our sections on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with the list of common choking hazards.

Is cod a common allergen?

Yes. Finned fish is a common food allergen, and cod is among the most common, along with halibut, salmon and tuna. 2 While it’s estimated that allergy to finned fish impacts less than 1 percent of people in the United States, the allergy is typically lifelong.3 4 About 40 percent of people with finned fish allergies don’t experience their first allergic reaction until adulthood. 5

If you have a family history of seafood allergies or suspect your baby may be allergic to fish, make an appointment with an allergist before introducing cod. As with all common allergens, introduce cod in small amounts and watch closely as your baby eats to see if any adverse reaction occurs. If all goes well, gradually increase the serving size to your baby over time.

How to prepare cod for babies with baby-led weaning?

an infographic with the header "how to cut fish for babies": a thin deboned filet for babies 6 months+, bite-sized pieces for babies 9 months+, small flakes and pieces with a fork for toddlers 12 months+

6 to 12 months old: To serve fresh cod, first make sure you remove all the bones and that you cook it all the way through. You can offer your baby pieces of the cooked fish about the size of two adult pinky fingers together. This size is a safe amount for your baby to consume but also easier for babies to grab ahold of than small flakes of fish are. If you do opt to flake the fish into other dishes, serving in a bowl that suctions to the table will help with hand-scooping.

12 to 24 months old: This is a great age for cod cakes (see recipe). Just be sure to also serve the fresh fish in flakes as well from time to time so your child doesn’t get hooked on patties and ball-shaped food.

For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.

When it comes to fish, cooking a fresh fillet from scratch is the place to start. Don’t be tempted to buy prepared or processed fish cakes as they are likely to be too high in sodium for your little one.

Recipe: Lemony Cod Cakes

Ingredients

  • Cod Fillet
  • Lemon
  • Onion or Shallot
  • Celery
  • Unsalted Butter or Olive Oil
  • Eggs
  • Mayonnaise
  • Paprika
  • Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Coconut or avocado oil

Directions

  1. Place the fillet in about an inch of water in a non-stick skillet. Place a couple lemon slices on top of the fillet, and cover the pan with a lid. Simmer for a few minutes, until the fish is fully cooked. Lift the fillet out of the water and set it aside on a cutting board.
  2. While the cod is poaching, finely dice 1 small onion or medium-sized shallot and 1 celery stalk. Place the onion and celery along with 1 tablespoon of butter or oil in a skillet over medium heat, and sauté until the onions are translucent. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  3. Lightly beat two eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add a spoonful of mayonnaise, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a hearty sprinkle of paprika. Stir in the sautéed onions and celery (reserve the skillet to cook the patties). Add the cooked fish, and mix well until the fish flakes apart.
  4. Scoop up a small handful of the mix, form it into a small patty, and place on a large plate. Continue until all of the mix is formed into patties. Place 1 to 2 cups of Panko breadcrumbs on a separate plate, and roll each patty in the crumbs until they’re evenly coated.
  5. Add a generous pour of coconut oil to the skillet and reheat it over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until a small drop of water sizzles in it. Gently set a couple patties in the pan (don’t overcrowd the pan) and cook for a few minutes, until its lightly browned. Flip and cook for a few minutes more. Lift the patties out and cool on a paper towel-lined plate while you cook the remaining patties. Serve at room temperature on top of mayonnaise.

Note: this recipe contains a number of potentially allergenic foods. Only serve it after wheat and eggs have been safely introduced.

Flavor Pairings

Like most white, flaky fish, cod pairs nicely with avocado, lemon, mango, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, and paprika.

  1. Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. Cod Recommendations. Retrieved October 21, 2019 (website)
  2.  Food Allergy Research & Education. Fish Allergy: Video. Retrieved September 1, 2020 from: https://www.foodallergy.org/living-food-allergies/food-allergy-essentials/common-allergens/fish
  3. Sicherer, S. H., Muñoz-Furlong, A., & Sampson, H. A. (2004). Prevalence of seafood allergy in the United States determined by a random telephone survey. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 114(1), 159–165. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2004.04.018. Retrieved September 1, 2020 from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15241360/
  4. Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connection Team. Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis – Fish. Retrieved September 1, 2020 from: https://www.foodallergyawareness.org/food-allergy-and-anaphylaxis/food-allergens/fish/
  5. Food Allergy Research & Education. Fish Allergy. Retrieved September 1, 2020 from: https://www.foodallergy.org/living-food-allergies/food-allergy-essentials/common-allergens/fish