Iron is an essential nutrient that the body uses to produce hemoglobin – the protein in red blood cells that helps the blood carry oxygen to all the other cells in the body.
Breast-fed babies usually get enough iron from their mother’s milk, while infants fed with formula should receive iron-fortified formula. Once your infant is weaned you will need to make sure they are receiving adequate amounts of iron rich foods in their diet.
Iron is essential for the following functions
✅. Supplying the body with oxygen
✅. Muscle metabolism
✅. Maintaining connective tissue
✅. Physical growth
✅. Nerve development
✅. Cell functioning
✅. Producing some hormones
Iron-deficiency = anemia
When your infant begins to eat regular foods, they might not get enough iron. Low iron levels can lead to anemia where the number of red blood cells in the body are too low, potentially causing problems with oxygen getting to key organs.
Symptoms of low iron levels include:
✅. Pale skin
✅. Fast or irregular heartbeat
✅. Decreased appetite
✅. Slow weight gain
✅. Difficulty concentrating
How much iron to feed each age-group
Iron is essential for a rapidly growing toddler. That’s why a lot of cereals and other toddler foods are fortified with iron.
Infants born preterm or with a low birth weight usually need more iron than those born with a healthy weight.
The recommended daily requirements for iron vary by age.
✅. Age 0–6 months: 0.27 milligrams (mg) per day
✅. Age 6–12 months: 11 mg per day
✅. Ages 1–3 years: 7 mg per day
✅. Ages 4–8 years: 10 mg per day
Foods high in iron include:
✅. Red meat
✅. Pumpkin seeds
✅. Beans (Soybeans, lima beans, kidney beans, lentils, and other beans)
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