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Can I Add Salt to Baby Food?

Posted by Trupti Shirole on Tue, Nov 15, 2011  
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Salt should not be added to a baby's food until she is 1-year old as this may damage her kidneys.

 

A baby requires less than 1gm salt which is easily obtained from breast milk and/or formula milk.

 

A baby's kidneys are unable to process high amount of added salt. Too much salt from sources other than natural foods like vegetables and fruits, breast milk or formula milk may damage the baby's kidneys and possibly even cause brain damage.

 

Many parents want to add salt to their baby's food in an attempt to give it more flavor. But parents do not realise that they find food without salt is very bland because their palate is accustomed to saltier flavors. However, the little ones find the same bland food perfectly acceptable as they have a clean palate.

 

For parents who want to ensure their baby's food is tasty, try adding a small quantity of herbs or aromatic spices. Remember that even these seasonings are something new for the little one, so introduce them at intervals so that you can identify and avoid food allergies or digestive problems.

 

Hidden sources of sodium in a baby's diet-

 

  • Follow the instructions while preparing the formula as a concentrated formula will be high in salt.
  • Giving commercially available toddler food to your baby may seem to be safe, but one has to remember that toddlers can tolerate slightly higher levels of salt. So while using commercially available food always ensure that it is for the right age.
  • Check the labels before using any commercially available baby food. Salt is usually labelled as sodium on food labels- 1gm of sodium is equivalent to 2.55gm of salt. Aim to choose foods with a sodium content of not more than 0.1gm of sodium per 100gm.
  • To limit the salt intake, limit giving your infant processed foods, like ready meals, potato chips, french fries,  biscuits, crackers, soups, soup cubes and instant soups and noodles, sauces, pizza, tinned food, cheese or Chinese food.

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