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Salt in food

(29 Posts)
ElphabaTheGreen Sat 03-Nov-12 15:11:52

We'll be starting weaning with DS in three weeks on his six month 'birthday'. From what I can gather he can pretty much eat what we eat after six months, although I will, of course, keep it simple to start with (veg, fruit etc). Please correct me if I've got this wrong.

I do, however, add salt to our food when cooking - not copious amounts, just seasoning. Does that mean I definitely can't give it to him, or is a little added salt OK? We're veggies, so I never cook with anything like bacon which has a high salt content anyway, and I make my own veggie stock rather than use cubes (although I do add some salt to that). I'd like to take a bit of a BLW approach because I'm bone idle and can't be bothered pureeing so it would be nice to just be able to give him finger food versions of our meals.

Thanks in advance! smile

FredFredGeorge Sat 03-Nov-12 18:02:26

no need to keep it simple to start with - fruit and veg are not really very dense nutritionally and because of that aren't ideal as they fill baby up without providing much nutrition.

With a little salt added to the whole dish - you'll be fine, just give them what you eat, don't be too worried about making everything "fingers" either.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 03-Nov-12 20:39:34

Agree with fred, if you wait until six months you can just offer what you eat. I think the salt warnings are more about processed food. Heard a Paed talking on R4 who had known parents blend left over takeaway and feed it to their 4 month oldsshock

Iggly Sat 03-Nov-12 20:41:45

I don't add any salt to my cooking for the kids. Even ds who's 3, still gets unsalted food.

I just add salt to mine after dishing theirs out.

ElphabaTheGreen Sat 03-Nov-12 20:43:07

Was in a baby massage class the other day where a mother (and I use that term loosely) whipped out a bottle of juice and started giving it to her four month old. I didn't know where to look.

Thanks for your responses ladies. smile

Indith Sat 03-Nov-12 20:43:41

We too jsut add salt to our own plates afterwards. We don't add salt to home made stock either.

Iggly Sat 03-Nov-12 20:44:43

Babies need less than 1g of salt a day. Milk (inc BM) has salt in. Cows milk and cheese have more salt. Bread is pretty salty as are many breakfast cereals. So adding salt to your cooking will add even more to baby's diet. Their kidneys are not able to cope with too much.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 03-Nov-12 20:48:52

Ok, I stand correctedblushgrin

Pastabee Sat 03-Nov-12 22:43:16

I personally cut out adding salt to food. I can't make up my mind whether I was being over cautious or not but it wasn't a hardship really and was probably good for DH and I to cut back anyway.

As mentioned bread, cheese etc already has a lot of salt in it which doesn't leave you much breathing space if you are trying to limit your baby's salt intake.

FredFredGeorge Sun 04-Nov-12 07:37:48

Whilst there is a real risk of excess salt, there are also problems with too little salt, sodium is a completely essential nutrient, and one that you don't see any symptoms of in the short term. Don't take the message "watch for salt" as "eliminate salt from diet".

Processed food can contain lots of salt and sensibly avoided, home cooked food with a small amount of salt added, almost no chance of being a problem.

Also, the limits for a baby as a proportion of the calories they eat is higher than for an adult (because there's little research and the number was simply chosen by scaling an adults needs the same as other nutrients and babies need more nutrient dense food) So you as an adult would need to be eating well in excess of your limits from the food for it to be close to the babies limits.

Indith Sun 04-Nov-12 09:18:57

I think as with anything you have to look at the whole and not the individual bits of food so I would give ds2 stew that had salted stock in but not soup with salted stock as he would be eating that with bread which has salt in.

It has been good for all of us though as although we do add salt to some of our own food we don't do it all the time and we have less than we used to.

comixminx Sun 04-Nov-12 10:57:58

We tried monitoring how much salt we used in cooking over a couple of weeks, and concluded that home cooking was fine with our normal level of salt, just to be careful of processed foods including bread.

Iggly Sun 04-Nov-12 11:01:23

Sodium is naturally occurring in breast milk and added to formula plus other foods. So silly to add extra to your cooking as well.

FredFredGeorge Sun 04-Nov-12 12:08:10

Iggly breast milk contains the correct amount in proportion to the calories provided, if you replace the calories from bm with something with no salt, then the diet would be deficient in sodium.

Now of course, salt is also in other foods so it may well not be a problem depending on what is being eaten - and most people who seem to be obsessed with no salt fortunately don't know what food has salt in. But please don't think "no salt" when feeding a baby, salt is essential. Just not too much. Same as everything really.

Iggly Sun 04-Nov-12 13:09:35

No I said no added salt. Because there's salt in dairy already (especially cheese and cows milk), salt in bread and cereal. So no need to add it to your cooking too for a baby.

Iggly Sun 04-Nov-12 13:13:20

NHS guide

It's too easy to overload a baby with salt so let's not pretend you need to add it to cooking for them. Babies are more likely to be given too much rather than too little salt.

I don't add salt for my children. My youngest has BM - no dairy. She gets salt from bread/biscuits/cereal but even those I'm wary of too much.

JollyJack Sun 04-Nov-12 13:17:40

I stopped adding salt to cooking when weaning Ds who is now 18mo. We now occasionally put salt in things like spag bol, but usually don't.

1g of salt is very little. If you have a baby like mine who eats loads it would be very easy for him to have too much salt. I don't think it's worth the risk.

Why can't you just stop adding salt to your cooking?

Mrscog Sun 04-Nov-12 19:46:44

What's everyone's take on using normal stock cubes in cooking (or 1 normal one salt free?), I don't add salt to any cooking, but I do use stock cubes - if I made sure that on days when we had a spag bol/cottage pie etc DS (8months) didn't have salt (other than that found in BM) do you think it would be ok?

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 04-Nov-12 19:54:51

I used the low salt ones for the first 3 years. Don't know why I changed to ordinary ones at that time though.

Indith Sun 04-Nov-12 19:54:59

I don't for the baby no, I find them too salty myself! We make stock or use a lo/no salt cube. You can get some very good ones but sadly they are hard to find. The baby ones are a pile of tasteless shit. As the big ones got older we started using them sometimes but usually just half a cube.

Indith Sun 04-Nov-12 19:56:41

kallo do low salt versions of chicken, beef and veg.

Mrscog Sun 04-Nov-12 19:58:43

Great - thanks, just need to convince DH!

garlicbaguette Sun 04-Nov-12 20:09:44

Exactly what Fred said. You die a lot faster from too little salt than too much. The warnings about added salt are for people who consume a lot of takeaway-type food, which tends to have extra salt in it to mask cheap ingredients' lack of flavour. Unless you're a daily KFC diner or live on bacon, you don't need to worry. Weigh out 6g of salt and take a look - it's quite a lot!

Babies eat less than adult, obv, so their salt intake per serving will be proportionately smaller.

FredFredGeorge Sun 04-Nov-12 20:54:42

Why can't you just stop adding salt to your cooking?

The point is not that you should add salt, or can easily stop. It's that, that a babies proportionate needs to the number of calories its getting are for more salt than an adult child or adult. So if you and your older children are having the meal, then it should be fine for the baby too.

Now of course you may not be feeding baby the exact same meals (hopefully not in fact as the nutrition needs are different) but the foods that tend to provide the extra carbohydrates that adults need tend to be higher in salt (bread etc.) than the main meals that people eat.

So yes - limit salt for your whole families benefit (especially if you have any sort of high blood pressure) but that doesn't mean no salt ever.

Iggly Sun 04-Nov-12 21:18:25

<rolls eyes>

There is already salt in processed food. Giving baby food cooked with salt in it is foolish.
No wonder we've got problems with high blood pressure etc in this country if people think we're in danger of having too little salt.

Only if we avoid dairy, bread, cereal, biscuits etc etc. which is highly unlikely.

Read the NHS advice.

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