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Why Is Iron Important For Babies?

Iron supplements are also known as iron salts or iron pills, are a number of iron formulations used to treat iron deficiency. They are taken by mouth, injection into vein or injection into the muscle. A human body needs iron to make haemoglobin, which takes oxygen through blood to all cells. Mostly, foods are rich in iron and iron for infants are very important. Infant iron supplement and iron-fortified cereal, vegetables and fruits are easily available nowadays. 

Table Of Contents

Sources of Iron

Iron Rich Foods and Fruits For Babies

Why Iron Is Important For Babies

Iron Needs Of Babies

Should Babies Be Given Iron Supplements

Conclusion

Sources Of Iron

Here are some foods which shows the amount of iron content in 100 gm of each:

Iron Rich Foods and Fruits For Babies

Feeding the babies with iron-rich foods and fruits helps to decrease the risk of developing iron deficiency. The following are some iron-rich foods and fruits for babies.

Lean meats
sources of iron

Meat and poultry are good sources of iron because they contain large amounts of heme iron. Beef, organ meats, and liver, in particular, have a lot of iron. Dark chicken and turkey meat are also rich in iron.

Fortified cereals

Fortified and low sugar cereals like oatmeal are one of the best ways to ensure that the babies get enough iron. A serving of iron-fortified cereals and oatmeal typically has 100 percent of the daily value for iron in just one serving.

Beans
sources of iron

A half cup of beans has 4 milligrams of iron. Mash up some cooked beans or make a soup and feed your baby with it. This will provide loads of iron to the baby.

Spinach 

Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach is one among the best iron rich vegetable especially for babies. Boiled spinach or spinach juice should be provided to the babies to increase the amount of iron in their body.

Tuna

Canned light tuna is a low calorie and low-fat addition to the baby's diet that supplies iron and other nutrients like omega 3 to the baby.

Bananas
sources of iron

This is a fruit which is known as one among the iron-rich fruits for babies. It is also a good source of potassium and calcium. Banana can be mixed with yoghurt and milk to make it tastier for the baby.

Avocados

This buttery fruit is rich in iron that helps boost iron development. It is very beneficial for the growth of the babies.

Blueberries
sources of iron

The deep brilliant blue of these berries comes from flavonoids that helps or benefits the baby's eyes, brain and even urinary tract because of the high content of iron in it.

Mangoes

Although not available throughout the year, mangoes are considered as the king of fruits as it has a high content of iron in it. It is also considered as a main iron-rich fruit for babies because it helps build strong eyesight especially in babies.

Apple
sources of iron

Apple contains nutrients, vitamins and mainly iron which are very important for the growth of babies. As the baby grows it developing the baby's body resistance to infections as well as the immunity power.

[Read: Top 25 Iron-rich Foods You Need To Include In Your Diet]

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Why Iron Is Important For Babies

sources of iron

Iron is an essential nutrient for making haemoglobin, a key component of red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body. If a baby is deficit in iron then he or she may experience cognitive and behavioural development deficits and delays. For the first six months, breastfeeding babies are able to absorb iron from breast milk. Breastfeeding mothers who are anaemic or iron deficit, should gave their babies screened for iron deficiency as well. Once babies reach 6 months, a time of rapid growth and start of solid, their first food should be iron fortified. A diet full of iron rich foods will help to prevent anaemia in baby. Babies need iron to carry out many processes properly in their body. If babies don't get enough iron, they start showing signs of slow weight gain, pale skin, no appetite, irritability etc. Babies with an iron deficiency may be less physically active and may develop more slowly.

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Iron Needs Of Babies

Babies are born with a reserve of iron which comes from their mother's blood while they are in womb. For the first six months of life, breastfed babies will get what they need from their mothers milk. If breastfeeding is not an option then a store bought iron fortified infant formula must be used for the first 9 to 12 months. Once babies start eating solid foods the amount of iron they need depends on their age. Here is a table showing the age and the amount of iron needed.

sources of iron

To help the baby's body to absorb even more iron, all the iron rich foods and fruits need to be combined with good sources of vitamin C such as oranges, tomatoes and red peppers. Babies need iron to carry out many processes properly in their body.

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Should Babies Be Given Iron Supplements

sources of iron

Full-term babies who are breastfed or who get iron-fortified infant formula from birth do not need an iron supplement.

Premature babies should get an iron supplement by the time they are 8 weeks old until they become 1 year old.

Children over a year old don't need an iron supplement unless they aren't eating enough iron-rich foods.

Conclusion

Iron is an essential element of the human body - especially for babies. There are a lot of problems which would be faced by the babies during their growth if they have iron deficiency from a small age. Hence it should be taken care that babies are provided with iron rich foods, iron rich fruits, iron rich supplements, iron fortified cereals, vegetables high in iron and many more from their childhood itself.

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