When and how to give salt to my baby?
Created by Debashree Bhattacharya Updated on Aug 30, 2020
One of the most difficult tasks that a mother faces in her early days of motherhood is to feed her baby. The end of the world seems less alarming than if her baby refuses to eat properly. The first and strong inhibition that finds place inside a mother's mind is that the food is tasteless and the whole blame falls on the shoulder of....SALT..!!! But, then why most of the paediatricians say big "No" to salt till 1 year?
Why Is Salt Not Recommended For Babies Under The Age Of 1 Year?
It's wise to avoid adding any extra salt to your baby's food. Babies and children only need a tiny amount of salt in their diets, and that need is generally met through breast milk or infant formula. A baby's salt requirement per day is less than 1 g per day (0.4g of sodium) and this is mostly met by the breast milk or formula. Once your baby begins eating solid food at six months, you don't need to add any salt to home-cooked baby food or commercial baby food, even if you think it tastes bland. Moreover, when your baby gets older and begins eating table food, she/he'll get plenty of “hidden” salt in their diet chart.
When Can I Give Salt To My Baby?
As your baby approaches first year and you start introducing regular table food to her/him, you may add very small amount of salt to your baby's food. Remember to make food with low salt and put foundation of healthy habits early on so that your baby can enjoy pure taste of nature with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Is It Safe To Give Salt To Babies Under 1 Year Of Age?
Adding too much salt to a baby's diet or food can be harmful to your baby's immature kidneys, which might not be able to process the excess salt. Adding salt in baby's diet/foods also can lead to a lifelong craving for salty foods, and that can endanger a child's future health.
A baby's salt requirement is less than 1 g per day (0.4g of sodium) and this is mostly met by the breast milk or formula. And if you thought that you are adding just a pinch, remember that a pinch is equivalent to ¼ gm of salt. So multiply the times you give food to baby and imagine the salt intake of your baby – breast milk, formula and even the solids! So any extra salt will be a burden on the tiny kidneys and the kidneys will not be able to function properly due to the excessive load. This may lead to kidney disease(s) and it has also been proven to cause hypertension in the adult life. Excessive intake of salt in childhood has also been attributed to diseases as osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory illnesses.
How To Introduce Salt In My Baby's Diet?
While it's tempting to add salt to a baby's food in an effort to improve the taste of the food, there's undoubtedly a better way to encourage your baby to eat. Babies do not know what salt tastes like, so there is no point in him feeling that the taste is bland. Instead of adding salts, try experimenting with different flavours and textures of baby foods. Serve food your baby in attractive plates, bowls and cups. There's a good chance that your baby will find a salt-free food habit if you put some efforts to make the dishes creative. So according to me there is no need of introducing salt separately in your baby's diet. They will absorb it naturally from all food items. Moreover, there is salt in lots of food around your baby asking you not to add any extra.
How Can I Avoid Giving Additional Salt To My Baby?
You can avoid or rather you should avoid giving processed foods that are high in salt. Let processed foods be an absolute “no-no" in your home. Don't give your baby the following processed foods that are high in salt, such as-
- Pies: While your 8 or 9 month old might get tempted by dish post seeing it on the TV, remember it is best to avoid it as it is high in salt and is not good for your baby
- Biscuits: Even the normal homemade biscuit will have some amount of salt in it and hence avoid biscuits as well
- Crackers: Crackers again are high in salt content hence need to be avoided for babies
- Soups: Soups if made at home can be given but ensure that you take out some portion of it for the baby before adding salt
- Gravies: If you can take out the gravy for the baby before adding salt to it then you can give else avoid it. And completely avoid outside gravy food
- Sauces: Sauces are a complete no-no because even a homemade sauce will have some salt content in it
- Pizza: Pizza has sauce – which is high in salt content, pizza base that has some salt in it – and processed cheese – rich in salt content. Too risky for the baby
- Bacon: If you are a vegetarian then nothing to worry about it but if you are non-vegetarian then avoid giving bacon as it is processed
- Chips: Chips are a strict no-no for babies. So don't even look at them forget about giving them to the baby
Things To Remember Regarding Salt In Your Baby's Diet
- Commercial baby food, such as baby cereals and food jars, have a low salt content, as salt isn't added during processing. It's important not to confuse baby food with meals for toddlers and older children. Meals for toddlers and older children can be highly processed and have a higher salt content, and are therefore not suitable for babies
- Don't judge your baby's taste buds by your standards; your infant doesn't even know the taste of salt to even miss it. So avoid adding more salt than required in your baby's diet
Did you like the blog by Debashree on when and how to give salt to your baby? Does it answer your queries and concerns regarding salt in your baby's diet? Please do share your views and feedback in the comments section below.
| Sep 06, 2017
Hello Vidhya, l add just a pinch of salt to the boiled rice for my 2 years old son. After adding salt once again l give 2 whistles in the cooker. And l knew that palm candy is good for cough and cold... but never heard about its usage in daily diet. So please ask your baby's pediatrician about it.
| Sep 07, 2017
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| Sep 09, 2017
Hello Puloma, the requirement of salt (sodium chloride) slowly increases with the growing age with our children. 3 to 5 yrs old children neither take breast milk nor take formula feed. So these are not the sources of salt to them. So to fulfil the requirement of sodium, little bit salt is needed or else there will be a chance of sodium deficiency. As parents we will never allow our children to have chips and sauces on daily basis. So it is better to add little bit of salt to their food and cooked properly. Once again little bit salt..
| Aug 31, 2020