Getting enough iron in your baby’s diet

Feeding and Iron

Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby. Breast milk or infant formula is all your baby needs for around the first 6 months. Introduce solids at around 6 months (but not before 4 months) when baby is showing developmental signs of being ready for food.

Your baby is born with a natural supply of iron, but this starts to run low at around 6 months of age. From this age babies need additional foods containing iron. Iron is essential for normal growth and development and a balanced diet is important for good health. Offering your growing baby a variety of foods will encourage them to eat well and get plenty of nutrients.

A few tips to maximise iron intake:

Iron-enriched dry baby cereals: Farex iron-enriched infant cereals are a good source of iron.

Meat is full of iron: Meat, chicken and even fish are all good sources of iron. The more red-coloured the meat is, generally the higher the iron content, so beef and lamb are up there with the best sources of iron. You can offer cooked puréed meat to your little one once they start solids. For older babies finely chopped soft slices of meat are good as finger food.

Plant foods contain iron: Although it’s not as well absorbed as iron from meat, chicken and fish. Cooked pureed legumes and lentils are first foods containing iron. From around 7-8 months introduce cooked green veges like mashed broccoli and finely chopped spinach and silverbeet.

High Vitamin C foods: You can help your baby absorb iron from 'non-meat' foods by including Vitamin C rich fruit and vegetables at meal times. Lots of fruit and vegetables contain Vitamin C including capsicums, broccoli, tomatoes, mandarins, oranges and kiwifruit. An idea for lunchtime is offer some mashed kiwifruit after baby's meal for some high Vitamin C food.

Milk: Breastfeed or use formula until your baby is at least 12 months old. The iron in breast milk is well absorbed and formula is made with added iron and Vitamin C. Note that cow’s milk isn’t suitable as a drink for babies younger than 12 months. Cow's milk is low in iron and Vitamin C. As a part of solids, small amounts of cow's milk can be given from around 7 months.

If you would like further information to make sure your baby is getting enough iron in their diet please contact our Careline team to speak to one of our dietitians on 0800 222 936.

Please see link here to the Wattie’s Guide to Baby Feeding printable with helpful feeding tips, texture and examples for each age stage.

The materials published on this website are of a general nature and have been provided for informational purposes only. Always consult your medical practitioner or a qualified health provider for any further advice in relation to the topics discussed.

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