Salt found naturally in breast milk or formula is safe for babies, but for babies under 1 year of age, salt should not be added to solid foods and processed foods that are high in sodium should be avoided.

Why shouldn’t I give my baby salt before the age of 1?

  • Babies’ kidneys are not yet fully developed, they may not be able to handle excess salt, and thus kidney damage may occur.
  • Getting used to salty foods at a young age may increase the tendency towards salt and salty foods in adulthood. A diet high in salt poses a risk of high blood pressure.
  • Recent studies link excessive salt intake to a weakened immune system. Consuming too much salt can cause the body to release substances that inhibit the functioning of the immune system.

What amount of salt should I give my baby?

  • 0-1 year: less than 1 gram per day (no added salt)
  • 1-3 years: no more than 2 grams per day
  • 4-6 years: no more than 2 grams per day

After age 1, they can consume a very small amount, about as much as a pinch added to home-cooked food. However, prepackaged and restaurant foods tend to contain high amounts of salt, so babies should be avoided these foods whenever possible.


  1. National Health Service. Salt: The Facts
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most People Consume Too Much Salt
  3. Waseem, A., Nafees, M., Murtaza, G., Sajjad, A., Mehmood, Z., & Siddiqi, A. R. (2014). Salt Toxicity (Sodium Intake): A Serious Threat to Infants and Children of Pakistan. Iranian journal of public health43(9), 1204–1211.
  4. Jobin, K., Stumpf, N. E., Schwab, S., Eichler, M., Neubert, P., Rauh, M., Adamowski, M., Babyak, O., Hinze, D., Sivalingam, S., Weisheit, C., Hochheiser, K., Schmidt, S. V., Meissner, M., Garbi, N., Abdullah, Z., Wenzel, U., Hölzel, M., Jantsch, J., & Kurts, C. (2020). A high-salt diet compromises antibacterial neutrophil responses through hormonal perturbation. Science translational medicine12(536), eaay3850.