Can 1 Year Old Eat Shrimp? A Safe Guide for Parents

Introducing new foods to your little one is a positive step. But it can also be a time of worry, especially when it comes to potential allergens like seafood.

So, can 1 year old eat shrimp? The answer is yes but with a few important considerations.

This guide covers everything you need to know about giving shrimp to your 1-year-old baby.

Can 1 Year Old Eat Shrimp?

Yes, babies can start eating shrimp as soon as they begin eating solids. Typically around 6 months old, as long as it is prepared safely to prevent choking. Ensure the shrimp is fully cooked to reduce the risk of foodborne illness, which babies are more vulnerable to.

Shrimp are crustaceans, part of the shellfish family, including crabs, lobsters, and prawns. They vary in size and color, ranging from tiny to large and from reddish-pink to ruddy brown.

Is Shrimp Healthy for Babies?

Yes, shrimp are very healthy for babies. They are an excellent source of protein, which helps your baby grow. Shrimp also contains omega-3 fatty acids that are good for brain development. They have important vitamins like B6 and B12, and minerals such as calcium, selenium, iodine, and zinc. These nutrients support your baby’s rapid growth, brain development, and heart and immune health.

Additionally, shrimp generally have lower levels of mercury compared to other types of seafood. This makes them a safer option for your baby.

However, some shrimp products can be high in sodium. These include frozen shrimp, canned shrimp, smoked shrimp, pickled shrimp, dried shrimp, shrimp paste, and shrimp chips. It’s okay for your baby to taste these occasionally. However, it’s better to wait until they are older before including these types of shrimp regularly in their diet. This helps ensure your baby maintains a healthy sodium intake.

How to Serve Shrimp to Babies

Every baby grows at their own pace, so these tips on how to prepare shrimp are general guidelines. Always think about your child’s individual needs and talk to your doctor if you have specific questions. Remember, it’s impossible to completely remove all choking risks, but following safety tips can help make eating safer.

6 Months Old

At this age, you can finely chop well-cooked shrimp and mix it into soft foods like mashed vegetables or baby cereal. Another option is to offer large, soft shrimp cakes, dumplings, or patties. You can also cook congee or porridge with dried shrimp that have been rehydrated and finely chopped.

If you prefer, you can give a large, well-cooked shrimp (with the shell and tail removed) cut lengthwise in half. Make sure there are no round pieces. Avoid cutting shrimp into round shapes or keeping its cylindrical shape because these can be choking hazards.

12 Months Old

At one year old, you can cut well-cooked shrimp lengthwise so it’s no longer round, then chop it into small pieces. These small, thin pieces can be served alone or as part of a meal. You can also serve finely diced or shredded shrimp, or make shrimp cakes.

Now, you can continue to offer large, well-cooked shrimp cut lengthwise. If your baby bites off a big piece, stay calm and give them a chance to handle it. Babies often spit out pieces that are too big or use their gag reflex to push them out. Avoid cutting shrimp into round shapes.

18 Months Old

At this age, continue to cut cooked shrimp lengthwise and chop it to ensure it’s not round. You can also offer shrimp cakes, patties, or dumplings. Tiny varieties of shrimp (often found canned or jarred) can be introduced now. Offer one tiny shrimp at a time and encourage your child to chew each one thoroughly before giving another.

3 Years Old

At three years old, you can cut shrimp lengthwise or serve shrimp cakes, patties, or dumplings. If your child has good chewing skills and can take small bites without overstuffing their mouth, you can try offering a whole shrimp. Start with a large, well-cooked shrimp (with the shell and tail removed) and show your child how to take small bites.

If your child tries to eat the whole shrimp at once, stay calm and encourage them to spit it out and try again. If they struggle to follow directions, go back to cutting the shrimp in half lengthwise and try again with whole shrimp when they are a little older.


Should I worry about cholesterol in shrimp for my baby?

No, you most likely don’t need to worry. Dietary cholesterol has minimal impact on overall blood cholesterol levels. In fact, shrimp are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can even help maintain healthy cholesterol levels [2]!

Is shrimp high in sodium?

It depends on the type and preparation. Fresh shrimp are generally lower in sodium than processed options like dried, fermented, frozen, or canned shrimp.

Can shrimp be a choking hazard for my baby?

Yes. Shrimp’s texture (rubbery and firm) and round shape make it a choking hazard. To minimize the risk, prepare and serve shrimp in a way that’s age-appropriate for your baby. Always supervise mealtimes and stay close by in case of emergencies.

When can babies have raw shrimp?

Never serve raw shrimp to babies, toddlers, or pregnant women due to the high risk of foodborne illness.

Here’s the best way to cook shrimp, suitable for the whole family:

  1. Clean the Shrimp: Remove the shrimp from the packaging and rinse thoroughly to remove any shell fragments.
  2. Heat the Pan: Warm a large frying pan over medium heat, then add some extra virgin olive oil and crushed garlic.
  3. Cook the Shrimp: Add the thawed whole shrimp to the pan. Sauté until they turn pink and curl up, which takes about 5 minutes. Optionally, you can add some lemon juice for extra flavor.
  4. Serve: Remove the shrimp from the heat and serve in a way that is appropriate for your baby’s age.

Final Thoughts

So, can 1 year old eat shrimp? Yes! Shrimp can be a healthy addition to your child’s diet. It’s a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, all important for your child’s growth and development.