Iron And Our Babies

Healthy eating is about all members of your family. Including your children and baby.

On Wednesday we posted about the new Infant Feeding Guidelines which have been published by the government in consultation with many health professionals.

Encourage Your Baby To Eat Well Before They're Born

One of the big changes in these guidelines is the move away from a staggered regimented approach to introducing different foods to your baby.

There is no longer the need to worry about whether your child is old enough to eat egg yolk or whether yoghurt should be eaten at breakfast time.

Please note that if you or a close family member have an allergy to any food, it is best to seek medical advice when introducing solids to your baby.

The change in this guideline is around research into allergies and the earlier the introduction of foods to the child there is potentially a reduced rate of developing allergic syndromes related to that food as they grow older.

The other reason why there is the change is because the focus is on incorporating all food groups and getting an all rounded balance of nutrients from different food groups.

This above point is also directed linked to move away from the recommendation of using iron fortified rice cereals as the first food as the suggestion now is to introduce iron enriched foods in general.

Of course, if you feel comfortable using commercial rice cereal, by all means do.

When our babies are in utero they build up their sources of iron from the mother. This source of iron starts to deplete from the baby’s system around six months old resulting in their need to incorporate iron in their diets.

Please note that if your child is consuming formula the formula is fortified with iron. Breast milk has a relatively low source of iron (but this is not a reason to stop breastfeeding as your baby will consume adequate iron with the introduction of solids).

With the move away from such a ridged introduction of solids to our babies, it means that foods that are higher in iron can be incorporated earlier on in their diets, rather than relying on iron fortification of baby rice cereals.

So what are some sources of iron which you can incorporate in your babies’ diet:

  • Red meats
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Peas
  • Turkey meat
  • Chickpeas
  • Leafy greens
  • Egg yolks
  • Organ meats like liver

One interesting fact is if you combine your iron rich foods with vitamin C, your body is more easily able to absorb the iron.

The most important point when introducing solids to your baby is to have fun and enjoy the experience. Listen to your child and laugh about the mess!!!

Please also note that our summary of the Infant Guidelines is based on a full term healthy baby.

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