High and Low Sodium Levels in Babies


Salt is an electrolyte nutrient that carries an electric charge throughout your body. Salt is a necessary nutrient that helps control the absorption of other nutrients, manages your blood volume and blood pressure. Salt levels in babies can change, specifically soon after birth when a newborn’s physical systems are beginning to work on their own.

Testing Sodium Levels

A blood test is used to test your baby’s salt levels and might be done if your child is displaying symptoms constant with levels that are either too high or too low, according to the American Association for Scientific Chemistry, but can also belong to a blood panel used to keep track of electrolyte levels and dehydration. The Merck Handbook discusses that typical levels of salt for a baby variety between 135 and 150 mEq/L.

High Sodium Levels

Neonatal hypernatremia is the condition where a baby’s blood salt levels are expensive, typically above 150 mEq/L. Babies who are born pre-term or at low birth weights are more likely to establish hypernatremia than full-term babies of average size. Infants who suffer from diarrhea, high fevers and dehydration associated with these health problems are at risk ofr the condition also. Symptoms of high salt include seizures, lethargy and spastic, or tight muscles, according to Merck Manual. Your hypernatremic baby might be dealt with through the administration of an intravenous saline solution to boost blood volume, and possibly dialysis to get rid of excess sodium in severe cases.

High and Low Sodium Levels in Babies
High and Low Sodium Levels in Babies

Low Sodium Levels

Low salt levels in babies is called neonatal hyponatremia, and is defined as measuring lower than 135 mEq/L. The most common causes of low sodium levels resemble the reasons that a baby would establish higher-than-normal salt levels, and include diarrhea and vomiting that throws off the balance of electrolytes within the body. Your baby might also develop hyponatremia if he drinks juice or baby formula that does not include the correct concentration of sodium. Symptoms of low sodium levels can include nausea and vomiting, an unresponsiveness that can lead to coma, muscle cramps and seizures. Intravenous saline options will be provided to your baby to replace the amount of salt that is lacking.

Sodium Levels and Breastfeeding

La Leche League International describes that a nursing mom’s health and breastfeeding capabilities of the child can contribute in an infant’s sodium levels. Moms who experience milk production issues, may make milk that is more focused in salt when compared to a woman who has plenty of milk offered to her baby. The included salt in the milk can result in dehydration in the child, in turn developing a possible sodium imbalance. New moms who produce only colostrum in the first few days of their baby’s life may also unconsciously expose their babies to excessive salt if the regular milk supply does not come in when expected, and is postponed.

Future Implications

Your baby could be at risk for kidney damage and problems of other organs if sodium is not restored to appropriate levels. Israeli scientists from Emek Medical Center and Galilee Medical Center found that low birth weight babies who lacked salt in their early days, displayed an enhanced desire for salted foods during their childhood, even after their conditions had actually been treated. Restricting the amount of salt your child eats can add to a much healthier life in regards to high blood pressure and weight gain.


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