Can You Use Pre-Cooked Mussels for Babies?
Mussels are seafood (molluscs) that live in both saltwater and freshwater. They are characterised by two hinged shells (bivalves) which filter their food from the surrounding water. They are therefore categorised as shellfish. Blue mussel and green-lipped mussel are the most common varieties.
Nutritionally they pack a a real punch. Mussels are a high source of:
- Iron (4.5mg/100g)
- Omega 3 fatty acids
Shellfish are classified as a top eight allergen. This means that it is important to test for a possible auto-immune response to shellfish in a babies first year of life and give repeated exposure to all types of shellfish, including mussels in this first year and beyond.
Can You Use Pre-Cooked Mussels?
Yes! Pre-cooked mussels are very practical way to give both a test of and ongoing exposure to mussels. Many parents do not eat mussels themselves or hardly ever. Given both the nutritional importance AND the allergen testing/exposure importance using precooked mussels can make what is a daunting task that more doable.
You want to go for the options that are 'plain' if possible. Most will use a little bit of salt (this is ok!) and some a small bit of sugar. This is to keep them preserved. Yes in a perfect world we would just use fresh mussels but like all parts of nutrition we need sustainable, practical strategies first and foremost. I would much rather babies get some exposure to this important food group than none at all!
When you buy mussels in their natural form, they are alive which means they need some love and care. I find that introducing mussels or any shellfish for that matter, can be daunting to parents especially if you have not eaten them yourself (potentially ever!).
I have used pre-cooked mussels many times with all my boys! This image was of making my grain-free mussel fritters on a Facebook live with all my boys! Ray had a mussel inside a food feeder and then in the fritter (more on this below).
A Note on Raw Mussels:
You do not want to give your baby (or any human for that matter) raw or undercooked mussels. This is because it will not ensure any bacteria (such as vibrio parahaemolyticus) is gone. You must ensure raw mussels are cooked until steaming hot. Only eat mussels where their shells pop open when boiled or steamed, and the mussel inside is firm to the touch.
How to Give?
You do need to give exposure to shellfish first to test for a response. You can see a video of me doing this here on IG/Tiktok in a complication of all allergen intros. Once you have done this, you can:
*Add to a puree (both my main cookbooks have recipes here)
*Put a pre-cooked mussel into a food feeder
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xx Dr Julie