Can you put salt in baby food

How Much Should They Eat?

If you’re a new parent, you may be wondering how much salt is OK to include in your baby’s diet.

While salt is a compound that all humans need in their diets, babies shouldn’t get too much of it because their developing kidneys aren’t yet able to process large amounts of it.

Giving your baby too much salt over time may cause health problems, such as high blood pressure. In extreme and rare cases, a baby that’s had a large amount of salt may even end up in the emergency room.

Too much salt during infancy and childhood may also promote a lifelong preference for salty foods.

This article explains what you need to know about salt and babies, including how much salt is safe, and how to tell whether your baby has had too much salt.

You may add salt to your baby’s food in hopes that it’ll improve the taste and encourage your baby to eat.

If you use a baby-led weaning approach to feeding your baby, you may end up serving your baby foods containing more salt simply because you’re serving them the saltier foods you eat as an adult (1, 2).

However, babies who get too much salt through their diets can run into a few issues.

A baby’s kidneys are still immature, and they aren’t able to filter out excess salt as efficiently as adult kidneys. As a result, a diet that’s too rich in salt may damage a baby’s kidneys. A salt-rich diet may also affect a baby’s long-term health and taste preferences (3, 4).

Babies are born with a natural preference for sweet, salty, and umami-tasting foods (1, 4, 5).

Repeatedly being offered salty foods may reinforce this natural taste preference, possibly causing your child to prefer salty foods over those that are naturally less salty.

Processed foods, which tend to be salty but not typically rich in nutrients, may be preferred over whole foods with naturally lower salt contents, such as vegetables (4, 6, 7, 8, 9).

Finally, salt-rich diets may cause your baby’s blood pressure to rise. Research suggests that the blood-pressure-raising effect of salt may be stronger in babies than it is in adults (3).

As a result, babies fed a salt-rich diet tend to have higher blood pressure levels during childhood and adolescence, which may increase their risk of heart disease later in life (10, 11).

In extreme cases, very high intakes of salt can require emergency medical care, and in some cases, even lead to death. However, this is rare and usually results from a baby accidentally eating a quantity of salt much larger than parents would normally add to foods (12).


Too much salt can damage a baby’s kidneys, increase their blood pressure, and possibly raise their risk of heart disease later in life. A salt-rich diet may also cause your child to develop a lasting preference for salty foods.

Sodium, the main component in table salt, is an essential nutrient. Everyone, including babies, need small amounts of it to function properly.

Young babies under 6 months of age meet their daily sodium requirements from breast milk and formula alone.

Those 7–12-months-old are able to meet their needs from breastmilk or formula and the small amounts of sodium naturally present in unprocessed complementary foods.

As such, experts recommend that you don’t add salt to your baby’s food during their first 12 months (2, 4, 5).

Having an occasional meal with salt added is OK. You may sometimes feed your baby some packaged or processed foods with salt added or let them try a meal from your plate. That said, overall, try not to add salt to the foods you prepare for your baby.

After 1 year of age, recommendations vary slightly. For instance, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) considers 1,100 mg of sodium per day — about half a teaspoon (2.8 grams) of table salt — safe and adequate for children of 1–3 years (13).

In the United States, recommendations for the same age group average 800 mg of sodium per day. That’s about 0.4 teaspoons (2 grams) of table salt per day (14).


Babies under 12 months should not get any additional salt through their diet. Intakes between 0.4–0.5 teaspoons of salt appear safe in children up to 4 years old.

If your baby eats a meal that’s too salty, they may seem thirstier than usual. Typically, you won’t notice the effects of a high salt diet immediately, but rather over time.

In extremely rare cases, a baby that’s eaten too much salt can develop hypernatremia — a condition in which there’s too much sodium circulating in the blood.

If left untreated, hypernatremia can cause babies to progress from feeling irritable and agitated to drowsy, lethargic, and eventually unresponsive after some time. In severe cases, hypernatremia can result in coma and even death (15).

Milder forms of hypernatremia can be more difficult to spot in babies. Signs that your baby may have a mild form of hypernatremia include extreme thirst and a doughy or velvety texture to the skin.

Very young babies may start crying in a high pitched fashion if they’ve accidentally eaten too much salt.

If you think that your baby may have gotten into too much salt or is beginning to show signs of hypernatremia, call your pediatrician.


If a baby has a salty meal occasionally, you may notice they are thirsty. In extremely rare cases, babies who have ingested large amounts of salt may develop hypernatremia and require medical attention.

As a parent, you can limit the amount of salt your baby eats in several ways.

Most baby food purées may contain small amounts of naturally occurring sodium from the foods they are made with but very little, if any, added salt. If your baby is currently eating them exclusively, they’re unlikely to ingest too much salt.

If you make your own baby food, skip adding salt, choose fresh foods, and check labels on frozen or canned vegetables and fruits to find lower sodium options.

Also, remember to rinse canned foods, such as beans, lentils, peas, and vegetables, before adding them to purées or meals. Doing so helps reduce their sodium content (16).

If you’re doing baby-led weaning, you can set aside a portion of meals for baby before adding salt or make family meals with spices and herbs instead of salt.

Check the sodium content of foods you frequently buy, such as bread, cereal, and sauces. Lower sodium versions are available for most packaged foods, and comparing labels can help you find a brand with less salt added.

Frozen meals, as well as takeout or restaurant foods, are generally higher in salt. Occasionally, it’s fine for baby to have these meals, but when dining out, a lower salt alternative would be to bring a few foods from home for your baby.


You can minimize the amount of sodium your baby eats by offering them foods without added salt. Replacing pantry foods like bread and sauces with low sodium alternatives can also help.

Babies need small amounts of salt in their diet. However, their bodies can’t handle large amounts. Babies fed too much salt may be at risk of kidney damage, high blood pressure, and possibly even an increased risk of heart disease.

Moreover, a salt-rich diet may cause babies to develop a lifelong preference for salty foods, in turn, possibly lowering the overall quality of their diet.

Try not to add salt to your baby’s foods when they are under 12 months. After 1 year, you can include a small amount of salt in your child’s diet.

Just one thing

When cooking a family-style meal, get into the habit of adding salt near the end of cooking. This way, you can reserve a no-salt-added portion for your baby.

Why shouldn’t you add salt to the baby’s meals?

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by Babymoov

Many of you have been asking about adding salt to your baby’s meals. So can you put salt in your child’s meals, yes or no? Starting from what age and how much?

Salt: use with moderation!

Salt is an important and essential element in our diet because it is made of sodium chloride. However, in Western society, salt consumption is considered to be too high (WHO) and may have adverse health effects (high blood pressure, obesity).

The recommended amount is 2 to 5 grams of salt per day for adults, for babies it is best not to add any. Why? On the one hand, the food given to your child already has a small amount of salt that is naturally contained in it, either in milk or the first purées you prepare for your baby. On the other hand, you should not add salt to your child’s food because its kidneys are not ready yet and therefore it will find it more difficult to eliminate it.

Do not create bad eating habits

Let’s put an end to the popular misconception according to which, without salt, there is no flavour: this is not true! First of all, salt is not a flavour enhancer, as it changes how we perceive flavours. And the taste of salt is not an innate taste, but has been developed by the food industry, which creates a form of addiction to salty flavours. Moreover, it is best to exclude industrial food, which very often contains salt to preserve it better and artificially improve its flavour.

So if you are preparing jars of home-made food yourself, do not add salt: even when you think the meal does not contain enough salt, it will still be tasty for your child. If you add salt, you might create bad eating habits. Bear in mind that weaning is not just about gradually passing from a liquid diet to solid food, but it is also about developing your child’s taste!

How much salt for the baby? At what age can I start adding cooking salt?

Until the child is about 1 year old, it needs less than 1 g of salt a day. As stated above, salt is already naturally found in milk and the food you prepare (obviously if you do not consider ready-made meals and processed food).

After the child is 1 year old and up to when it is 3 years old, the recommended amount of salt is 2 grams.


* Salt is already naturally found in some foods, like cheese or canned vegetables: use them sparingly! If you cannot avoid using ready-made meals, read the ingredients on the product’s label to identify the amount of salt hidden in it. Beware, the label does not always say it contains « salt », but « sodium ». Do not overdo the portions.

*  If the baby finds that a dish really seems too bland, consider using herbs and spices: sage, thyme, rosemary and paprika will enhance the taste of your food!

* Finally, do not hesitate to ask your paediatrician who will advise you on your child’s diet!

Is it necessary to salt baby food

Reviewer Kovtun Tatyana Anatolievna


September 15, 2021


The salt we use every day in cooking is called sodium chloride. But if we talk about salt from the point of view of the human diet, then it makes sense to consider two elements, chlorine and sodium

Sodium and chlorine ions play an enormous role in the human body - they maintain homeostasis (the constancy of the internal environment of the body), the level of fluid concentration inside and outside the cells necessary for normal life, ensure the normal permeability of the membrane of each cell in the body, participate in the conduction of electrical impulses in cells and perform a number of other physiological functions. nine0005

But do not immediately reach for the salt shaker.

Firstly, salt in its natural form can be obtained from many products, and secondly, there are strict restrictions on salt intake, and if they are not observed, then you can harm the body.

After all, a number of important mechanisms (renal, adrenal, vascular, etc.) are responsible for maintaining the balance of sodium and chlorine ions in the body, which, with excessive intake of salt from food, can experience excessive stress, and some systems can even fail. nine0005

Today we will talk about the “salt” subtleties.

To salt or not to salt - that is the question

As for children, experts are unanimous in their opinion: infants do not need salt "from the outside" at all. Nature made sure that there was enough of it in mother's milk. By the way, it is equally important that mommy does not lean heavily on salty food.

And if the baby is bottle-fed, then the principle is the same - the balance of all the necessary elements has already been observed in the mixtures. nine0005

Salt can only be administered after breastfeeding or artificial feeding is completed, usually this happens at 1 or 1.5 years old. The baby will receive a third of the daily intake of sodium and chlorine "naturally" - from vegetables, fruits, cereals, meat and fish.

    Here are some foods from the high sodium diet for children:
  • egg
  • sardine
  • cottage cheese
  • kefir
  • tomatoes
  • oats
  • apples
  • carrots
    And foods that are rich in chlorine :
  • beef
  • rice
  • buckwheat
  • egg white

But the remaining two-thirds of the norm for the baby can be obtained with the help of table salt. The rules of "pinch" or "tip of a knife" do not work very well here - these are not perfect measures of measurement. The only thing that parents should be guided by is that children's food should a priori seem unsalted and fresh for an "adult" taste. nine0005

Additional salting of industrial products for children 1–3 years old is prohibited. Children's "salt norm" per day is about 0.5 g per 10 kg of body weight.

What happens if you add too much salt to baby food

The urinary system of the baby will hardly get rid of the excess of this mineral. The load on fragile kidneys, pancreas, blood vessels will increase, and disturbances in water-salt metabolism are also possible.

Alarming signals for parents can be the presence of edema in the child, unreasonable anxiety of the crumbs and a decrease in the number of urination.

Which salt to choose for the baby

In baby food, it is recommended to use regular table salt. Black, Himalayan pink or sea salt is not suitable for crumbs. Separately, it should be said about iodized salt - it can be included in the diet only after consulting with a pediatrician.

It is better to add salt to dishes after they are cooked so that nutrients do not evaporate after heat treatment. nine0005

The task of parents is to form the right attitude towards salt in the baby, without “hammering” the natural taste of products with it, but also without making it a taboo.

Find your balance and grow healthy!

Reviewer Kovtun Tatyana Anatolievna nine0005

Scientific adviser of PROGRESS JSC, Ph.D. The benefits and harms of salt and sugar in baby food

Salt and sugar are quite controversial foods in the diet of even an adult. But what about the nutrition of children, especially the smallest - babies up to a year old?

Everyone knows that taste preferences and eating habits are developed in a person from early childhood - from the moment the first complementary foods are introduced. And the main task of parents during this period is to instill in the child a love for the natural taste of products, not to provoke the development of taste buds in only one zone, for example, sweet and salty. nine0005

Salt and sugar for children under one year old

Many mothers and fathers worry that without the introduction of sugar and salt, the child will not receive sucrose, which gives energy and mineral salts necessary for cellular metabolism. However, this is a big misconception, as scientists nutritionists have long proven, sucrose is absolutely not needed for children under one year old. Healthy sugars should get into the children's body in the form of fructose, which is found in fruits and vegetables.

As for salt, the product that we see on the shelves of stores with the inscription "Table salt" is again not the salt that a growing body needs. Mineral salts involved in every metabolic process of our body are the most complex substances in terms of their chemical composition. Here are just some of the components of these compounds - sodium chloride (salt itself), zinc, copper, manganese, iodine, selenium, etc. - and all these trace elements are found in complementary foods (vegetables, meat, fish, and others), and can fully cover the daily need of the child's body. nine0005

That is why Materna dairy and dairy-free baby food does not contain refined sugars and table salt. The required amount of nutrients and trace elements of Materna nutrition is calculated taking into account the age needs of the child. Materna infant formulas for babies of the first year of life are as close as possible in composition to mother's milk and are enriched with additional components for comfortable digestion and full growth of the child.

Sugar in baby food

The need for sugar in a child up to a year is only 4 g (slightly less than a teaspoon). Babies up to 4-6 months of age receive easily digestible sugars from mother's milk or formula. Since the introduction of complementary foods, natural sugars of vegetables and fruits, juices are added.

It is advisable to add refined white sugar to children after a year, in an amount of not more than 6 g per day (full teaspoon). Use it to sweeten sour fruit drinks, when baking fruits, in desserts or pastries. nine0005

Too early or too much sugar in a child's diet leads to a number of problems:

  • fermentation processes in the intestines are intensified, which provokes bloating and painful colic. Products of incomplete protein breakdown from the intestine are absorbed into the bloodstream, thereby causing allergic reactions;
  • excess sugar is deposited in fat depots, there are prerequisites for the development of obesity, diabetes and changes in the central nervous system; nine0037
  • tooth enamel is destroyed;
  • interferes with proper nutrition: sweetened food creates an “illusion” of satiety in a child, therefore, having eaten quite a bit, for example, sweet porridge or cookies, he will refuse the main meal;
  • sugar in children is addictive! No matter how scary it sounds, but this pattern has been repeatedly proven: a child, receiving a portion of glucose, experiences an emotional upsurge, he is cheerful and active, but as soon as the blood sugar level drops to normal, lethargy and boredom will set in, so the child will begin to ask himself, and then demand sweets. nine0039

Materna Sugar Free Infant Formula does not have these drawbacks.

Salt in the diet of children under one year old

The stereotype that has been strengthened over the years that the human body without salt can get serious functional disorders, and to this day encourages young mothers to add salt to complementary foods for their beloved child. But is salt really necessary for children under one year old? Many pediatricians agree that the child receives all the necessary mineral salts from milk nutrition or complementary foods without the addition of common table salt. nine0005

The daily salt requirement for a child up to a year is 0.3 g (after a year 0.5 g). Before the introduction of complementary foods, babies receive all this amount from mother's milk or an adapted milk formula. After that, mineral salts of complementary foods are added: from vegetables, fruits, cereals, meat and other foods. If parents want to further “enrich” the child’s diet with salt and add salt to complementary foods, this will create a greater burden on the kidneys (since salt retains fluid) and the child’s pancreas.

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