Iron is an essential nutrient for us humans as it helps to make haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is needed to transport oxygen around the body. When our bodies do not get the iron they need, red blood cells can not be produced effectively, thus causing our tissues and organs not to get the right amount of oxygen needed to perform.
Making Sure Your Baby Has Enough Iron
Babies that are being breastfed for the first 6 months of their lives can absorb iron from breast milk. However, if the mother is anaemic, or iron deficient, the baby should be screened for iron deficiency as well.
At the age of 6 months plus, your baby will move onto solid foods. You need to make sure their first foods are rich in iron as it will help to prevent anaemia in your Baby. Currently, paediatricians and nutritionists recommended a dietary allowance of iron for babies between 7 and 12 months as 11 mg per day. Symptoms of anaemia can include fatigue, irritability, and shortness of breath. If you notice any of these within your baby, take them to your local doctor.
Introducing Iron-Rich Foods
Babies are normally born with enough iron to last up to six months when babies start the weaning process these levels need to be met to ensure your baby stays healthy.
Foods that are rich in vitamin C such as peas and berries, should be introduced into your baby’s diet, as well as iron-rich food. These will work together to enhance iron absorption. You need to make sure their first solid foods are pureed because your baby is not used to textures yet, and giving them lumps when they do not know how to chew can cause choking. Below is a list of iron-rich foods you can try your baby on when introducing solids:
- Iron-rich cereal
- Iron-rich formula (standard cow’s milk formula)
- Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale)
- Legumes, lentils and other beans (white beans, lima beans, chickpeas)
- Red meats (beef, ham, lamb, and liver)
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