After nine long months of avoiding raw fish, you might feel the need to sprint to your favorite local sushi place after baby gets settled at home. If you plan on bringing your brand new baby along for lunch, you’ll obviously need to also bring his or her formula or milk. However, as your baby grows and starts experimenting with different solid foods, you might wonder whether or not you can let him try some. Sushi certainly seems harmless enough, considering each piece is malleable, fun to play with, and small enough to be swallowed without intense chewing.

Believe it or not, sushi will not harm your baby, even if it contains raw fish. However, there is an age limit. You shouldn’t give your baby any raw fish until he or she turns one year old. Before that, the immune system is still developing, and many foods are too risky. Others include cow’s milk, soft cheeses, raw sprouts, rare meats, and deli meats. These foods commonly carry germs that are difficult for an infant’s system to fight.

Once your baby has reached the 12-month-mark, feel free to let him or her pick at the raw fish and decide whether or not it’s enjoyable. Make sure you pay careful attention at first, because the consistency of raw fish will feel quite different to everything else baby has been eating, so choking could be a problem. Always buy fish meat that is from a reputable source, and make sure you don’t let your baby accidentally get a piece of wasabi. If he accidentally eats a chunk, there’s a good chance he’ll never be setting foot into a sushi restaurant for the rest of his life.

Letting your little one try new foods is a fun experience. You might be surprised when you learn what he likes and doesn’t like, though his preferences will probably change many times over the course of his life. Since babies don’t understand how raw fish is different than any other food, they might be able to join the table in eating it next time you go to a sushi restaurant. Some babies are much fussier than others, so always follow your baby’s lead when it comes to trying new things. As long as he is getting the nutrition necessary for his health, there is no need to force any new foods on him that he doesn’t seem to like.

Source: Florence, Tyler. Start Fresh: Your Child's Jump Start to Lifelong Healthy Eating. Emmaus, PA: Rodale, 2011. 8. Print.