When to introduce salt in baby’s food?

Many people may be surprised to find that salt should only be included in the preparation of a baby’s meal from the age of 1 year . As we adults are used to salty food, it can be difficult to accept that a child will consume non-salt foods. It is common to see parents reluctant to this recommendation of pediatricians justifying that the food is “bad”.

That is why it is very important that we understand the development of our babies and see each phase as learning . We need to avoid passing certain habits and customs that can harm the baby for simple lack of information .

Why is salt contraindicated for up to 1 year?

Salt should start to be used, in moderation, after 1 year of age. Even the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics (SBP) refers to baby food no longer as salty porridge but as main porridge .

The amount of sodium sufficient for babies’ needs at this stage are found in almost all the foods we consume daily: fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, etc. Since salt is high in sodium, which is more than 40% of its composition . Thus, including salt in the diet greatly increases the amount of sodium ingested.

It is also important to point out that the exaggerated consumption of salt requires a greater effort from the kidneys – organs responsible for eliminating salt from the body. For babies in full growth and development, overloading such an important organ can be very harmful.

The influence on the child’s taste and habits

According to Junaura Barreto, from SBP, adding salt to a baby’s food early can influence the child’s taste . The pediatrician emphasizes the importance of the baby knowing the flavors of foods for a better acceptance of a variety of foods. In addition, creating the habit of salty eating increases the predisposition to hypertension in the future.

Remember that the baby does not know any taste other than milk until the introduction of food . Everything will be new and all flavors will be foreign to him, even salty food. In addition to giving the baby the opportunity to know the real taste of food, you will be avoiding the exaggerated consumption of sodium , which easily exceeds the daily intake indicated by nutritionists.

How to avoid salt in practice?

For this to really work, the ideal is for the family as a whole to cut back on salt intake . And reducing your salt intake may not be as difficult as it sounds. Adding salt to salads, for example, is a habit that can be changed little by little. Many people consume salads without any seasoning and enjoy the taste of fresh food.

In practice, what you should do is separate the baby’s food before seasoning the family’s food . Or prepare separately when possible. This may seem like a lot of work, but you must remember that little by little, from the age of 1, the child will be able to start eating salty food (preferably, slightly salty) .


Should I put salt in the baby food? . São Paulo: Brazilian Society of Pediatrics, 27 Jan. 2017. Available at: https://www.sbp.com.br/imprensa/detalhe/nid/devo-colocar-sal-na-papinha-do-bebe/. Accessed on: 5 Oct. 2019.

Guidance manual for infant, pre-school, school, adolescent and school feeding . Brazilian Society of Pediatrics. Department of Nutrition, 3rd. ed. Rio de Janeiro, RJ: SBP, 2012.

Dr. Tabriella Perivolaris, Sara's mother and fan of fashion, beauty, motherhood, among others, about the female universe. Since 2018 she has been working as a copywriter, always bringing to her articles a little of her experience and experience as a mother and woman.

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