All parents want to do what is best for their kids regardless of the choices that they make. So when I read about how immature babies’ digestive systems are when it comes to processing salt, I decided that I wanted to do my best to keep table salt out of Kaia’s diet as much as possible before the age of 1. What this ultimately meant was not allowing her to taste food at restaurants or food that’s pre-prepared, and looking at all canned or jarred items like tomatoes, sauces, or even peanut butter, to ensure no salt was on the ingredients list. But a little salt here and there would not hurt them: I’d already given her some ricotta and goat cheese, both of which have a little salt, but not too much (cheese is not cheese with salt, by definition). And she really loved both. Plus, I wanted to expose her to kimchi, and the Solid Starts app suggested rinsing it of excess salt and hot pepper, and she gobbled this up. One day last week, when I was multitasking, I finely minced kimchi for her and completely forgot to rinse the salt off. And in the middle of her feed when our nanny was feeding her, I remembered and panicked and ran out of the room to tell her. Our nanny nearly jumped out of her seat.
“You scared me!” she exclaimed. “I thought a real emergency happened!”
I told her I had forgotten to rinse the kimchi of the excess salt, but she had already fed some of it to Kaia. And granted, there was barely a teaspoon of kimchi in total on her plate, but I still felt bad. Our nanny reassured me that this would not kill her.
“A little is fine,” our nanny insisted. “She’s going to have some salt eventually, and she’s already getting some from the kimchi even when it’s rinsed because you can’t get it *all* off. It’s okay. Don’t worry so much about it. Plus, you can tell she LOVES it.”
Of course she does. Human beings are wired to enjoy salty things. But… It’s hard not to worry a little, though. I don’t want her to get addicted to salty foods or depend on salt for flavor. I don’t want her kidneys to malfunction because she has too much salt. There are lots of worries all parents have about setting their kids up for success as early as possible, and in this case, it’s in the realm of eating. As she approaches 9 months of age in a couple days, she’s just around the corner from her 1-year birthday, and so eventually, I will need to stop obsessing about the salt and just focus on making sure she’s getting a well-rounded diet.