Though it is a known fact that babies are supposed to be restricted from sugar and salt till 1 year, it has never been explained why. Keeping babies away from salt or sugar until they turn one year is a practice being followed since forever. Today moms want to know why this rule is there and how it affects their baby.
Firstly, most mothers mistake your baby to not eat well because it finds the food bland. This is where the mistake is. Your baby is used to breastmilk and shows no interest in any new foods whether bland or flavored. Your baby has no idea how salt or sugar tastes, it has spent its first 6 months feeding on your breastmilk. so technically, there is nothing your baby is missing as it has never tasted salt or sugar before.
Effects Of Adding Salt To Baby Food
Your baby’s salt requirement per day is less than 1 g per day (0.4g of Sodium). This daily requirement is usually met by the breastmilk or formula which you feed it. Your baby’s kidneys are still small and developing, so any extra amount of Sodium will burden its tiny kidneys. This will cause the kidneys to malfunction leading to kidney disease and hypertension later in adult life. Studies also show that excessive salt intake during childhood attributes to diseases like osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory diseases.
Some people may ask you to add a pinch of salt to your baby food. Remember, one pinch of salt is approximately equal to 0.25g. Adding one pinch of salt to your baby’s meals in one day equals adding 0.75g salt extra apart from the salt in breastmilk or formula. This is highly excessive and cannot be digested by your baby’s tiny developing kidneys.
How To Add Flavor To Baby Food?
Many mothers tend to add salt in order to make their baby’s food tasty. You can make your baby’s food more appealing by adding spices according to your baby’s age.
Most of us prefer homemade baby food but certain circumstances call for emergency commercial baby food. Commercial baby foods or even children foods generally have a high salt content so you should always be careful when you select your baby’s food. The salt content in these foods is given as figures of Sodium present in the food. If you find the amount of Sodium is more than 0.6g in a packet of 100g of baby food, it is high in salt. If you’re confused, multiply the amount of Sodium mentioned by 2.5 to decipher the quantity of salt present in the food.
Why No Sugar for Babies?
When we say no sugar for your baby up until one year, most mothers refrain from feeding their babies nutritious fruits that have natural sugar. You can give your baby fruits, it is only the white refined sugar that is dangerous for your baby. Natural sweeteners, natural sugars in fruits and vegetables are completely safe. Here is a list of why sugar is bad for your infant:
- Refined sugar undergoes many chemical processes which may be harmful to children
- Excess sugar can lead to cavities and tooth decay in children
- Excess sugar can depress the immunity of your baby
- Research shows that children fed with high sugars are more prone to cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes
Your baby does not need sweetening in foods every day, but a few natural sweeteners in Kheer, Porridge, and desserts which are baby-friendly are not harmful.
Natural Sweeteners For Baby food
You can add fruits to your baby’s food to make it naturally sweet. Dates syrup can be added after your baby turns 8 months. One year later, you cna give your baby a taste of honey.