Can A Baby Under 1 Yr Old Eat Seaweed

Most parents are uncertain when it comes to introducing solids to their infant and one of the most common questions asked is “can babies eat seaweed?” There is some controversy when it comes to introducing seaweed to babies under one year old. Seaweed is a type of super food due to its nutritionally dense properties but it’s worth the extra investigation when considering whether or not it’s the right food for your baby.

Are There Any Health Benefits of Eating Seaweed For Babies?

Seaweed is a nutrient-rich food and is packed with minerals and vitamins, including iodine, protein, soluble fibre and essential fatty acids. Seaweed promotes a healthy digestive system, can help to reduce allergies, and some studies show that it may help to improve brain and immune health.

Seaweed also contains essential antioxidants, which are important for overall health and disease prevention. Seaweed is a rich source of calcium, which is essential for strong bones and teeth, muscle and nerve function, and for proper growth and development of the baby.

However, there is a caveat: as with all foods, not all seaweed is created equal. It’s important to first consider the source and type of seaweed before serving it to an infant.

What Types of Seaweed Can a Baby Under 1yr Old Eat?

The type of seaweed considered safe for an infant under one year of age is Wakame. Wakame is a large wet sea vegetable with high amounts of calcium, iron, and other trace minerals. Wakame does not have an overpowering or salty taste and can be used when making soups, as an ingredient in meals, or to make kelp noodles.

Wakame can be softened with a few minutes of boiling or by soaking in warm water for a few hours. It is important to thoroughly wash Wakame before eating, as it may contain impurities picked up from the ocean. Wakame can also be flavoured with soy sauce, sesame oil, and other seasonings.

Can Seaweed Cause Health or Safety Issues?

It is important to be aware of the potential health and safety risks associated with seaweed ingestion in infants, as it is not considered a safe food if not properly prepared. Seaweed can contain high levels of iodine, which can be toxic to a baby’s developing digestive system and interfere with thyroid function. It can also contain high amounts of heavy metals, which can be harmful to an infant’s health. Seaweed can also contain some toxins that may be harmful to an infant and that can be avoided by washing it thoroughly.

In addition, seaweed can cause choking and allergic reactions in babies, and large pieces of seaweed can be dangerous for infants who are still learning to chew.

Is Seaweed An Allergy Trigger?

Seaweed can be considered a potential allergen, so it’s wise to discuss introducing seaweed with your doctor or paediatrician first and to introduce seafood, such as seaweed, one at a time, when introducing solids to an infant. An allergy to seaweed is rare, but if your baby is at risk for an allergic reaction, they should avoid seaweed until they are older.

Who Should Avoid Eating Seaweed?

Infants with food sensitivities, allergies, or a history of food allergies should avoid eating seaweed. Babies who have had reactions to other forms of seafood should also avoid seaweed. It is also not recommended for babies with a history of thyroid, kidney, or liver problems, or who are on medication.

Additionally, seaweed is not recommended for babies who are on Baby-Led Weaning (BLW), as it may be too difficult for a young baby to chew.

When to Introduce Seaweed To Your Baby?

It is generally recommended to wait until your baby is at least 12 months old to expose them to seaweed. By this age, their digestive system is more mature and they are likely more coordinated, making it safer for them to eat and digest seaweed. When introducing seaweed to an infant, start with small pieces or strands. Make sure the seaweed is soft, and watch for signs of choking or discomfort.

When introducing seaweed to babies, it is essential to discuss with your doctor or paediatrician first. This is particularly important if your baby is prone to food allergies or sensitivities, or if they have a history of gastrointestinal trouble.

How Much Seaweed is Safe To Give Babies?

It is generally recommended to not give more than a small amount of seaweed to an infant. It is best to start with less than 1/4 teaspoon and then gradually increase the amount. Seaweed should not be given to an infant more than 2-3 times a week.

It is important to note that there is no consensus on the exact amount of seaweed that can safely be given to babies. It is best to follow the advice of your doctor or paediatrician.

Alternatives to Seaweed for Babies

If you are looking for an alternative way to give your baby the nutritional benefits of seaweed, make sure to select an organic formula that is fortified with iodine like breastmilk. You can also give your baby other nutrient-dense foods, such as fish, eggs, and dairy. Although not as nutritionally-dense as seaweed, these foods can still provide essential nutrients for a growing baby.

If you are looking to give your baby a seaweed-based alternative, you can try kelp or dulse flakes, which are less concentrated than seaweed, or nori sheets,which can be softened with hot water and used as a wrap for other foods.

What To Avoid When Feeding Seaweed To Babies?

To ensure the safety of your baby, make sure to only purchase organic seaweed of the highest quality. Make sure to check the label and avoid products with added preservatives, sweeteners, or additives. It is also important to be aware that seaweed can be a choking hazard, so make sure to avoid large pieces and only cook or steam the seaweed until it is soft.

Are There Any Side Effects When Giving Seaweed To Babies?

It is important to be aware that there may be some mild side effects when introducing seaweed to an infant. These may include digestive issues such as diarrhea, gas, and bloating. Other side effects may include rash, hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face or throat.

If your baby experiences any of these side effects, it is important to stop giving seaweed and seek medical attention immediately. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that infants may be more likely to have an adverse reaction to seaweed or an allergic reaction to seaweed than adults.


Seaweed can be a healthy and nutritious food for infants if done properly. It is important to first discuss with your doctor or paediatrician before introducing seaweed to an infant. Make sure to only purchase organic seaweed of the highest quality and to only give small amounts. Additionally, be aware of any potential side effects and allergic reactions, and stop giving seaweed if any of these occur.

Michael Gates

Michael Y. Gates is an ocean biologist and author who specializes in researching and writing about sea sponges. Michael is passionate about protecting the world's oceans and educating others about the importance of conserving our marine resources.

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