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Should You Add Salt To Your Baby’s Food? Here’s The Answer

The Asian Parent logo The Asian Parent 22/7/2021 Sarmistha Neogy
© Provided by The Asian Parent

Your baby requires a very limited amount of salt: less than 1g a day until they are 12 months. Their tiny kidneys can’t cope with more salt than this.

So, you actually don’t need to add extra salt to their food. In fact, you may get confused with family and friends who may advise you to add salt to baby food. But, you shouldn’t.

So, when to start salt in baby food?

Well, till six months old, your baby will get the required sodium intake from your breastmilk or the infant formula milk.

Once, they start eating solids at 6 months, you still don’t need to add salt to their home-cooked food. While preparing weaning food, don’t add any additional salt.

Remember, the daily recommended salt for your kid until they turn three years old is 2g a day. 

When To Start Salt In Baby Food: What Your Baby Should Avoid Eating

when to start salt in baby food © Provided by The Asian Parent when to start salt in baby food

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Before we get to when to add salt to baby food, here’s what you need to remember:

  • Don’t give your baby any pre-prepared foods that aren’t specially made for babies. For instance, foods such as adult breakfast, cereals and pasta, can be quite high in salt. 
  • Experts advise keeping salty foods away from the reach of babies or restricting them. This can help to reduce a preference for salted foods as kids grow. 
  • Don’t give your kids biscuits, pizza, burgers, potato chips, french fries, sauces, tinned foods. They are extremely addictive and your kid will find it hard not to have them.

So, mums don’t stress if your baby is getting their proper sodium intake. There are some healthy foods like eggs, meat and dairy products that contain sodium.

It is best is to keep the dose of added salts to a minimum. 

However, if your baby has consumed some salt or salty food, then don’t panic. The idea is to keep your babies away from salt on a regular basis so that their kidneys are not affected.

If you accidentally feed them or if they happen to take a large bite of the French fries dipped in sauce, it’s perfectly okay.

Be careful the next time and monitor their eating habits. 

Here’s a quick tip:

  • Whenever you are cooking a family meal, always take out your baby’s portion and then add some salt for the rest of the family. 
  • To season your baby’s plate, you can add some salt-free seasoning options like dried herbs, and spices. You can also try adding some cheese, roasted peanuts, sesame seeds and other healthy options to enhance the taste. 

When to start salt in baby food?

a bowl of fruit on a table: when to start salt in baby food © Provided by The Asian Parent when to start salt in baby food

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When your babies grow in age, you can slowly increase the salt intake. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using small amounts of salt so that the food tastes better, but to not go overboard.

AAP says, “Almost 80% of the sodium in our diets comes from processed foods like bread, soups, salty snacks, fast foods, canned foods, or processed meats.”

So it is very important to look for “low-sodium” options. 

Adding a small amount of salt for taste is acceptable, but excessive salts need to be discouraged.

This is because a child’s taste preferences are formed early and high sodium intake may lead to high blood pressure later in life.

Risks Of Adding Excessive Salt To Baby Food

Kidney problems: Excessive salt intake can hamper the child’s kidneys as they can’t process and eliminate high salt from the blood.

Excess salt can also cause kidney stones. There will be severe pain in the body, fever, chills and extreme nausea. 

High Blood Pressure: Babies who consume excess salt can develop hypertension as adults. High blood pressure also increases the risk of heart-related ailments almost three-fold times. 

Dehydration: You need to be extremely careful as there can be a risk of dehydration when your baby consumes excess salt.

It will cause the body to lose water in the form of urine and sweat. Adults will not realise in most cases that infants are dehydrated. 

Weak bones: Excessive salt intake can cause an increase in sodium, which also leads to an excretion of excess calcium.

So, when the body loses calcium, it is also losing an essential element for the development of strong bones. 

Start rejecting breast milk: The moment an infant gets to know the taste of salt and sugar, they will gradually start to avoid breast milk. This is harmful to the growth of the growing baby. 

So, mums and dads, keep the salt shaker off the dinner table!

Instead, try experimenting with different flavours and the rich textures of baby foods. 

The post Should You Add Salt To Your Baby’s Food? Here’s The Answer appeared first on theAsianparent - Your Guide to Pregnancy, Baby & Raising Kids.

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