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Is It Safe To Add Salt In Baby Food?

4 min read

It is best to avoid putting salt in your baby’s food. Most of the pediatrics and health professionals advise against it. Are you wondering why you can’t add a little salt for extra taste in your little one’s food? Below are some points which can help you to understand.
Salt in baby food

  • Why Should You NOT Put Salt In Your Baby’s Food?
  • Adding Salt To Baby Food For Flavor
  • What Happens Of I Put Extra Salt In My Baby’s Food?
  • What Precautions Should I Take To Avoid Excessive Salt In My Baby’s Food?

Why Should You NOT Put Salt In Your Baby’s Food?

One of the main reasons not to add any salt into the food of your baby is, because he only requires a small amount of salt in his diet (less than 1g per day up to the age of 12 months). And if you are breast feeding your baby, then all his salt requirements are met through your milk or by formula that he is drinking. Even after he celebrates his first birthday, he just needs about 2g of salt (0.8g sodium) per day till he is 3 years of age. Giving more than the recommended quantity of salt to your baby can actually cause damage to your baby’s kidneys.

Adding Salt To Baby Food For Flavor

While starting semi-solid diet of the baby, often you will find many confused parents who are unsure about adding salt in their baby’s food. Some parents start adding a bit of salt in home cooked meals in order to make it taste better. However, the fact is that your baby’s taste buds and palates are still in the developing stage. Your little one hasn’t developed any specific taste for salty dishes and the food without salt is perfectly acceptable to him – as he won’t miss what he hasn’t yet experienced.

What Happens Of I Put Extra Salt In My Baby’s Food?

Salt is an essential mineral for our body, but in case of infants too much salt can be harmful for their still- developing kidneys. Adding salt to baby’s food can cause some serious damage to the baby as his kidneys are unable to process and remove high levels of salt from the blood. This can cause the baby’s kidneys to damage. High salt content in baby’s food can also possibly cause brain damage as well. There are also some studies which suggest that too much consumption of salt from an early life can cause high blood pressure in his future especially if the parents have a family history of hypertension. This so happens because the baby tends to develop a palate for salty foods.
You might feel that home cooked food holds no flavor for your little one and thus you might feel tempted to add some salt. This is not at all required, and can possibly be dangerous for your baby. In order to avoid salt try some better ways to encourage your baby to eat, like you can try experimenting with some other spices such as cumin, ginger or garlic. They can also provide the flavor in food. Moreover, Indian spices such as turmeric हल्दी – haldi), cumin (जीरा – jeera) and coriander (धनिया- dhaniya), carom seeds (अजवाईन – ajwain) can add flavor to food even when used in small quantities. However, even to introduce your baby to spices, you need to wait till the baby turns 8 months old. Do bear in mind that all these spices and herbs should be treated as a new food for the baby and hence you should follow the 3 day wait rule for babies. After your baby has crossed the age of 6 months, you may add a little ghee in his food after consulting the doctor.
Baby food and salt

What Precautions Should I Take To Avoid Excessive Salt In My Baby’s Food?

  1. There are many ready-made foods that contain salt in them, so it’s important to check labels for nutritional information and then buy the baby food. It’s better to choose the food with a sodium content not more than 0.1g of sodium per 100g
  2. The best way to avoid salt in ready-made food is to buy the food which is specifically made for infants or babies. There are so many baby cereals that have extremely low salt content, it’s better to buy baby cereals according to their age group. Do not feed them adult food as it can have more than the requisite amount of salt
  3. Recommended salt intake for toddlers aging from one to three years is less than 2g a day, so avoid feeding them processed foods that are high in salt content such as French fries, pizza, chips, crackers, biscuits, adult cereal breakfast and Chinese food
  4. Don’t add salt while you are preparing a home cooked meal for your infant, you can try feeding your baby with water of boiled pulses, paneer (पनीर), fresh fruits and curd
  5. If you have a toddler and a baby, do understand that for both the recommended amounts of salt intake are different. While your toddler can tolerate higher doses of salt, your baby probably cannot. So it makes sense not to mix the foods of both your toddler and infant

For your infants and toddlers making sure that they don’t eat too much salt is a healthy way of ensuring that they don’t develop a taste for salty food in very early period of their life. It will also make them less exposed to ill effects related to high consumption of sodium. Please remember a high salt diet during early period of baby’s life can put him at risk of many serious conditions later in life. These include various kidney related conditions. So adding more than recommended salt in your baby’s food can be very dangerous for him. Keep down the bottle of salt, and be assured, your baby loves the new tastes, new textures and new colors of food that you are preparing for him without adding any salt.

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