Why Say NO to Salt & Sugar for Babies


When is it Safe to Start Salt and Sugar in baby Food?

Salt and sugar are the two elementary taste creators. We consume both the elements regularly according to the cravings of our taste buds overlooking the actual need of those elements in our body. But, things don’t happen so casually for babies. The pediatricians suggest that salt and sugar should be avoided in the dietary regimen of the babies below 1-year-old.
As a mom, you be worried about offering a bland food to your baby but the fact is, if you haven’t offered them food with salt or sugar, they are still unaware of those elements and happy with the bland food. To decode this No Salt, No Sugar puzzle, here is a brief fact for you.

When to start giving Salt and Sugar to Babies?

It’s recommended to add as small amount as 0.8g of sodium or salt to your baby’s diet when he turns 1. This can be followed till his 3rd birthday. Babies below 1 year don’t need any external sodium in their food. It’s better to increase the proportion of salt in your little one’s food by 0.4-0.6g after every 2-3 years. This will help him achieve a control over his taste buds and suppress the cravings for extra salt in food.
Talking about sugar, there is no need to make your baby’s food sweeter if you got naturally sweet dietary elements. If you are worried about the carbohydrate level, your baby gets it enough through the bland foods only. After all, it’s your small baby with small needs. The 0-1 year old baby needs and deserves extreme care as his immune system and overall health is fragile during that period. You can also add sugar to your baby’s foods in small quantities after he turns 1.

Why is Sugar Harmful for Babies below 1 year old?

For the babies under 1 year, the pediatricians often prohibit the new mommies from inclining towards the sugar while offering diet to their babies but the naturally sweet foods are perfectly okay. Additional sugar in your baby’s diet is a big NO. You baby already has sweet tooth and the breast milk, formula milk, fruits and a range of dietary elements fulfill your baby’s basic sugar needs. Adding external sugar to their diet may cause following problems –
• Cavity
• Unpredictable temperament
• Obesity
• Poor immune system
• Type 2 Diabetes (in rare cases)
The aforementioned troubles occur when you don’t have a control over deciding how much sugar to add to your baby’s food.
The other problems related to adding sugar to your baby’s diet is the exposure to harmful chemicals. Sugar is refined in the factory using various chemicals which can obviously cause severe damage to your little one’s health.

When is it Safe to add Salt to Baby Food?

A baby less than 1 year needs 0.4g of sodium every day in his diet. As the baby grows, his salt cravings increases and the bland diet gradually turns into delectable ones meeting the sodium requirement of his body. The breast milk meets the everyday sodium requirement of your baby’s body. The same goes with the formula milk available in the market. After your baby turns 1-year-old, you can stop offering him salt-less foods and introduce the salty flavors to him. You can also wait for few more months if you want and wait for his immune system to become stronger.

What are the Alternatives to Sugar?

Moms are emotional and they often try to introduce something salty or sweet to their babies being curious. Well, moms will be moms but to sustain your baby’s good health, you can try the substitutes of sugar. This can offer you the best of both the worlds. The top sugar substitutes are –
• Fresh sweet fruits
• Brown Rice Syrup
• Agave
• Dates
All these sugar substitutes have enough nutrients and glucose and fructose to keep your baby hale and hearty.

Is it ok to add Jaggery/Gudh to Baby Food?

Well, Jaggery or Gudh is a common substitute for sugar and used in almost all the households to cook various recipes. But, when it’s about your below 1 year baby’s diet, you may have to give a second thought. In Indian tradition, jaggery is considered as an energy booster for babies. Even the Indian pediatricians and diet experts believe so but the fact is jaggery’s benefits depend on the way of living and the dietary regime.
If your kid is getting enough nutrition and that too from time to time then he or she doesn’t need jaggery. The babies in the countryside locations often suffer from malnutrition and hence they badly need a cheap energy source and jaggery perfectly does the job. The babies living in urban areas and getting constant care don’t need jaggery in their diet.

When To start using Jaggery/Sugar to Baby Food?

Be it the salt or sugar or jaggery, anything that adds an extra flavor or taste to your baby’s bland food should be preferred after the baby turns 1. It helps the baby seamlessly digest the solid foods and the diet with sugar, salt or jaggery.

Teach your Child to Admire the Real Taste of Nature

The salt and sugar are for pampering the taste buds, why not admire the real taste of any food? It’s only the mother or father who thinks the baby will not like the food without these harmful tastemakers but you will see amazing reactions from baby when he or she tastes different foods without these two ingredients. The food should be admired to get full nutrition from it. Teaching respect for food and nature starts from this thing. Offering food with a normal amount of sugar or salt to the babies exactly like what adults prefer can not only make your baby addicted to high sugar or salt intake and invite a slew of diseases as he grows but it can affect his health as well as an infant.

Read: Why Not to Give Honey To Babies below 1 year?


About Author


An IT professional, a mom of two, Sapana had belly-only pregnancies in her life & has lost 15Kg weight twice. Along with fitness, Sapana is an expert in Indian names & has helped scores of Indian parents to shortlist suitable baby names by virtue of her years of expertise in Sanskrit origin names & logical approach towards cultures & trends during the name research. Drop a comment to get help from her.


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    Whenever i read your posts(never missed a single one in last one year) every time it surprises me coz every time it opes a new dimension, it shows still there are so many things related to pregnancy and baby care…those were beyond my imagination.

  2. Pingback: When to Introduce Jaggery to your Baby? | GoMama 24/7

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