If your baby is less than 6 months of age, they most likely have enough iron in their diets. Babies at this age are getting all the iron they need from formula or breastmilk, and they are born with iron stores that will last 4-6 months. Once your baby is 7-12 months old, however, those iron stores may diminish and become depleted. Formula-fed babies will continue to receive enough iron from the formula and their solid food diets; however, breastfed babies are at risk of iron deficiency at this age. At your baby’s 9 month appointment, they will most likely have their iron levels tested. Since exclusively breastfed babies are more at risk for iron deficiency, as a safeguard, your pediatrician will likely have already recommended a vitamin supplement that contains iron. If your baby’s levels come back borderline or low for iron, it will be important to start including extra iron in their diet. It is also a good idea to be proactive about this and focus on iron rich foods — even if your baby’s levels measured fine. Babies 7-12 months of age need 11 mg of iron per day.
Here are some great choices of iron rich foods to incorporate into your little one’s diet:
Iron fortified baby cereal 5.9 mg per serving of 5 tbs— this is by far the best and easiest option. You can feed this to your baby as a part of their meal, or you can even cook with it and prepare things such as baby pancakes. 2 servings will get them all the iron they need!
Cheerios® 2.25 mg per serving of 1/4 cup
Chicken liver 3.32 mg per serving of 1 oz
Beef liver 1.76 mg per serving of 1 oz
Ground beef 1.76 mg per serving of 1 oz
Egg yolk .46 mg per serving of 1 large egg
White beans1.66 mg per serving of 1/4 cup
Lentils1.65 mg per serving of 1/4 cup
Black beans0.9 mg per serving of 1/4 cup
Spinach1.61 mg per serving of 1/4 cup
Peas0.61 mg per serving of 1/4 cup
Kale0.29 mg per serving of 1/4 cup
Sweet potatoes0.2 mg per serving of 1/4 cup
Note: Vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron, so make sure to also include lots of fruits and vegetables in your baby’s diet as well. Dairy can hinder the absorption of iron. Make sure to feed plenty of dairy so your baby is getting enough calcium, but do so as a snack or during a meal that is not intended for much iron consumption.
Remember to consult with your doctor and your pediatrician.
*This post is sponsored by vitaMedMD, a division of TherapeuticsMD. I received compensation in exchange for writing this article. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own and I do not have any relationship to the companies or brands I suggest.