That's so metal: iron in your baby's diet

Eating & Nutrition   |   Age: 6 months 1 week

That's so metal: iron in your baby's diet

At this point in your baby’s development, iron plays a key role in the growth of her body and brain, so it’s important that she gets enough in her diet. Most healthy, full-term infants up to 6 months old can get all the iron they need from breast milk or an iron-enriched formula, but around the time you start introducing solid food, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor about your baby’s iron levels, to see if you should increase her iron intake. Babies who are weaned off of breast milk before a year old should be switched over to a formula that's iron-fortified. Babies 7 months to a year old should be getting 11 mg of iron a day, according to the National Institute of Health.

Your doctor might recommend introducing an iron-rich rice cereal to your baby’s diet, because these cereals are mild enough not to offend her little stomach or palate. On the other hand, if your baby is getting all of the iron she needs, your doctor may recommend a high-fiber fruit puree as her first food, instead. Iron-fortified cereal is a popular option, but since cereal doesn't provide many other nutritional benefits, many parents choose to work iron into their children's diets through other iron-rich foods, like chicken or egg yolk.

Iron’s best friend is vitamin C. Iron from plants, like leafy greens or peas, can be harder for your baby’s body to absorb, so if a significant amount of her iron starts to come from these sources as she gets older, consider introducing some C-rich vegetables, like broccoli, or fruits, like kiwi fruit or tomatoes, into iron-heavy meals. In addition to boosting your baby’s immune system, a healthy amount of vitamin C in her diet can help her absorb and process the iron better, so she can get the most out of her food.

Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit  have high vitamin C content, but many healthcare providers recommend waiting to introduce citrus until babies are 6 to 12 months old, since the acidity in citrus fruits can cause a rash or diaper rash, and be a little hard on little tummies, until they grow a bit more robust. Luckily, oranges aren't the only fruits that are high in vitamin C, so there are plenty of other fruits to keep your baby's diet robust, varied, and C-rich as she grows.

There’s a school of thought that says that too much iron in an infant’s diet causes constipation. However, a study by a professor at John Hopkins Medical School suggests that this isn’t true. In either case, however, it’s important that your baby gets the right amount of iron, so if she is constipated, consult with your pediatrician about what to do. Since your baby needs iron in her diet whether she is constipated or not it's important not to reduce her iron intake unless your pediatrician recommends it.

More articles at this age

It's raining, it's pouring, my baby is snoring

Although snoring in babies is, for the most part, safe, there are a couple things you'll want to watch out for if you hear your baby snoring.

Why is my baby a lighter sleeper now than before?

Did your baby go from an anytime, anywhere sleeper to a wakes-at-the-sound-of-a-footstep-in-the-next-room kind of sleeper, or did she just get a little jumpier? Either way, she isn't alone in raising her standards for sleeping conditions.

Putting the FUN in food

Did your parents ever tell you not to play with your food? Well, sometimes a little play at mealtime is exactly what your baby needs.

What to do when baby hates the car seat

your baby is a little too young to understand the concept of 'safety first,' but that doesn't mean a car seat is negotiable. Before you throw in the towel and decide to buy an old-fashioned buggy to transport your baby around, try some of these tips for helping your baby make friends with the car seat.

Signs baby is getting ready to start crawling

Babies generally crawl before they walk, but what do they do before they crawl? There are a few signs that most babies give before they take that last (metaphorical) step towards crawling.

What if my baby's teeth are crooked?

If you once had the exquisite pleasure of wearing braces, you might see orthodontia everywhere you look. But when it comes to your baby's teeth now, a little crookedness doesn't necessarily mean anything. In fact, some baby teeth differences mean good things for a future adult smile.

Welcome to lil'bee!

It looks like you're using an ad blocker. That's okay. Who doesn't? But without advertising-income, we can't keep making this site awesome. Please disable your ad blocker and refresh this page.

Thanks for understanding 🙏