The child’s diet, especially at an early age, has its own characteristics that parents must consider. Salt is a specific component of baby’s diet. How much salt can give your child – the question is acute and significant.
The child’s Need for salt at an early age
First, salt (sodium chloride) is included in the composition of breast milk. Its content in mother’s milk is ideal for the child and is about 7 mmol/l. For comparison: cow’s milk salt much more – 25 mmol/L.
Secondly, the transition of the child to other foods, it is important to know that salt already contains them in natural form. The need of the child’s body in a salt continues to be very low. If you do not add salt in food, up to 2 years the child will not even notice it. In addition, if a child gets used to the low salt content in childhood, it may remain a good habit in the future.
As a drawback, and an excess of salt are accompanied by pathological changes in the body. It is believed that a salt deficiency may occur in cases of excessive sweating, severe vomiting or diarrhea, and in disorders of kidney function. However, the absence in the body of sodium can lead to such disorders as muscle cramps, dizziness, lethargy, lack of appetite and even coma. Poison normal salt hardly possible, but with insufficient fluid intake due to excessive consumption of salt can develop hypernatremia with increased loss of body fluids (dehydration). In the first year of life and at an early age (1-3 years) such a condition may even threaten the child’s life, because during these periods, the ability of the kidneys to concentrate urine and remove from the body the excess of salt is limited.
The properties of salt
- does Not cause allergies (because it is a part of all the body’s cells).
- Helps to maintain water balance in the body, prevents dehydration.
- Improves the taste of food.
- Retains fluid in the body.
- Increases the load on the kidneys.
When to insert the salt in the child’s diet?
We used to think that salt is a very important component of any diet, so if it is not in the child’s diet, parents start to worry.
However, we must remember that in the diet of infants and children up to the first year of life the daily norm of salt is 0.3 g (after a year — 0.5 g) that it receives from mother’s milk or infant formula. If in addition you want to enrich your baby’s diet with salt, that his kidneys and pancreas just can’t handle such a huge load.
Also one of the reasons for disputes on the topic of salt in children’s diets is the fear of parents that they are deprived of a beloved child, denying him the usual for us taste sensation when applying this product. Actually, the problem is not here, the receptor perceives the salt, the child born has not developed, so he doesn’t understand, salted his food or not, and, accordingly, does not feel the lack. But when you will acquaint the child with the taste of salt, these receptors will begin to grow and require salt in food in different quantities. In this regard, most pediatricians strongly recommend to abandon the salt, until the child turns at least a year.
After that, parents need to adhere to the following dosage of salt: not more than 0.25-0.35 g of salt (actually on the tip of a knife) in a day, then you can increase to 0.5-1 g (3 years) and gradually increase to the adult dose of 4-5 g of salt per day.
What kind of salt necessary to give the child?
Buy normal table salt. If you live in Central Russia, which is considered to be iodine-deficient region, buy iodised salt (keep in mind its shelf life of only 3-4 months).
There is also giponatriemia salt in which the sodium content, compared with sodium, is much lower. Usually it is prescribed for hypertension, obesity and kidney disease. To determine the type of salt which is really needed for your child, consult your doctor.
Attention! Sea salt in the diet of children under one year not being used.
Helpful tips for families
- Salt products “by eye” is undesirable as it may lead to excessive use of salt. For example, 1 tablespoon contains 10 g of salt (which is 2 times higher than the adult daily requirement).
- Try to minimize the use of the following baby foods containing salt: ketchup, mayonnaise, salt-preserved foods, salted fish, sausage, etc.
- Be careful with salt-free diet of fashion: it is prescribed only for medical purposes and is carried out under the strict supervision of a pediatrician.