Iron Deficiency and Brain Development

Iron is a mineral that is involved in brain development and infants with an iron deficiency test lower in cognitive function and motor skills. 

Whilst still in their mother’s womb, newborn babies absorb enough iron from their mother’s blood to sustain them for the first 6 months of life.  But once have your infant reaches 6 months of age their stores start to naturally dwindle. 

Between the ages of 7 to 12 months babies require 11 milligrams of iron a day – more than a adult male.  And because infants and children consume small amounts at mealtimes, it is imperative every mouthful is super nourishing by including iron-rich food with their equally important fibre-rich vegetable.  have depleted and they need to get more in their diet to support their brain development and oxygenation requirements.

Types of iron

Iron is naturally available in the foods your child eats and there are two main types of iron – heme iron and non-heme iron.  The term ‘heme’ is derived from the Greek word that loosely translates to ‘blood’.

Heme Iron is the easiest for your child’s body to absorb and is found in animal products such as:

  • ✅ Beef
  • ✅ Pork
  • ✅ Lamb
  • ✅ Fish & shellfish
  • ✅ Chicken (especially the darker flesh)
  • ✅ Turkey
  • ✅ Liver
  • ✅ Marrow

On the other hand, Non-Heme iron comes from plant sources.  Eating foods high in vitamin C will help with the absorption of non-heme foods such kiwi fruit, tomato, broccoli or citrus such as a squeeze of lemon juice.

The best sources of non-heme iron include:

  • ✅ Legumes and lentils
  • ✅ Egg yolks
  • ✅ Tofu & tempeh
  • ✅ Sea vegetables (nori and kelp)
  • ✅ Chickpeas
  • ✅ Apricots
  • ✅ Green leafy vegetables
  • ✅ Wholegrains (quinoa, oats, spelt, amaranth) 
  • ✅ Nuts and seeds.   

How much iron does your child need?

When you child reaches 4-6 months of age, milk alone can’t meet their growing demands for iron.  Therefore you will need to ensure there is enough iron in their diet.  Eating too little iron over time can cause a deficiency and this is called anemia. Because iron is essential during times of rapid growth and development, young children need to regularly eat iron-rich foods.

Here is a guide of their daily requirements.

0 – 6 months olds = 0.27 mg

7 – 12 months old = 11 mg

1 – 3 year olds = 8 mg

4 – 8 year olds = 10 mg

How much iron does food contain?

Beef = 3mg iron per 1/2 cup meat

Chicken = 0.5-1mg iron per 1/2 cup of meat

Cooked pulses = 6.6mg iron per 100 grams of legumes

Tofu = 3.5mg iron per 1 cup

Dark leafy greens = 6mg of iron per 1 cup

1 egg = 1mg of iron

Sardines = 2.5mg per 100 grams

Iron Deficiency Signs

Eating too little iron over time can cause a deficiency and this is called anemia. Because iron is essential during times of rapid growth and development, young children need to regularly eat iron-rich foods.

Deficiency signs of low iron include:

  • ✅ General fatigue
  • ✅ Weakness
  • ✅ Pale skin
  • ✅ Shortness of breath
  • ✅ Dizziness
  • ✅ Strange cravings for items such as dirt, ice or clay
  • ✅ Tongue swelling or soreness
  • ✅ Cold hands and feet
  • ✅ Brittle nails
  • ✅ Headaches


Online Learning – Building Healthier Kids

Would you like a child naturopath consultation with me at a fraction of the cost? My online learning classes are jam packed with more advice than I provide in a face-to-face appointment. It’s evidence-based naturopathic wisdom coupled with the latest scientific research on kids health I’ve successfully shared with clients over my 20+ year career.

I’ve also included cheatsheets, checklists, nourishing recipes and 25 page book of class notes.

You will learn:

  • ✅ Understand the cause if common childhood conditions (eczema, poor immunity, food allergies, food intolerances, poor focus & concentration, ADHD, behavioural problems).
  • ✅. Supporting immune function to help support allergic conditions.
  • ✅. Support optimal brain function.
  • ✅. Healthy Eating Plan – including portion size for each age-group.
  • ✅. Natural medicine recommendations,
  • ✅. Plus much more…

Naturopathy Can Help With the following childhood conditions

Fiona provides tailored health plans based on a multitude of factors relevant to your child’s symptomology (how they are feeling), pathology (how their body is responding), plus dietary and lifestyle factors.

  • ✅ Digestive complaints – constipation, diarrhoea, loose stools, pain or bloating
  • ✅ Allergies and allergic conditions – such as asthma, eczema or hayfever
  • ✅ Poor Immunity – recurring colds or ear infections
  • ✅ Skin Conditions – rashes, eczema, acne, pimples or allergic reactions
  • ✅ Moods – anxiety, depression or mood swings
  • ✅ Food Intolerances – identifying food reactions
  • ✅ Food Allergies – identifying food reactions
  • ✅ Growth and development issues – fussy eaters or nutritional malabsorption
  • ✅ Behavioural challenges – ADHD or others
  • ✅ Energy – poor energy or chronic fatigue
  • ✅ Picky Eaters – fussy eaters
  • ✅ Sleep – trouble falling asleep or staying asleep

What happens in a consultation

During your consultation, Fiona will seek information about your pregnancy, birth and post birth experiences. This will provide an integrated view to give a full picture of the foundations of your child’s health status. You can expect to leave your consultation with a thorough understanding of the potential contributing factors of the presenting symptoms. Fiona will provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan that incorporates possible herbal/nutritional medicine, dietary/lifestyle recommendations, recipes and handouts. Plus an overview of the consultation so you feel empowered to care for your child’s wellbeing with Fiona’s guidance. At The Children’s Naturopath, Fiona Stock an expert in childhood health, she understands children’s needs and considers working with kids and teens to be an absolute joy. She finds that children typically respond to naturopathic treatment very well – bouncing back to good health in no time.  And she treasures the opportunity she has to teach kids about their bodies and engage them in their health journey, setting them up with strong foundations and knowledge for life.



Meet Fiona Stock

Fiona is skilled at getting to the heart of childhood health challenges – helping to initiate lasting change.

Fiona Stock is a respected Paediatric Naturopath & Children’s Nutritionist with a career spanning over 23 years. Armed with an abundance of experience and a true desire to transform your child’s health, she’ll listen closely to understand the underlying causes of their troubling condition. Fiona gets to the heart of your child’s presenting symptoms by deciphering what their body is trying to tell you. She will suggest simple and specific changes as well as herbal or nutritional medicine where required to nurture and restore your child, so they can enjoy the good health they deserve. Deeply compassionate and highly skilled, either of the Naturopathic Consultation Options with Fiona is a wonderful investment in your child’s health. If you’ve tried everything and are yet to find solutions to your child’s health challenges – this could well be the path to take.

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  • ✅Poor Immunity
  • ✅Poor Focus & Concentration
  • ✅ Behavioural Problems
  • ✅ ADHD
  • ✅ Depression
  • ✅ Anxiety
  • ✅ Food Allergies
  • ✅ Food Intolerances
  • ✅ Constipation
  • ✅ Diarrhoea
  • ✅ Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • ✅ Tummy Pain
  • ✅ Eczema
  • ✅ Asthma
  • ✅ Obesity
  • ✅ Auto-Immune Disease
  • ✅ Recurring Infections
  • ✅ Fussy Eaters
  • ✅ Sleep Issues
  • ✅ Plus many more…



To make an appointment with Fiona Stock, naturopath in Melbourne, Contact I’m here to assist you and your child on your journey to better children’s health.


Fiona Stock is a Naturopath Melbourne depends on. Fiona focusses on natural therapies for children’s health.

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