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Iron - how much does your baby or toddler need?

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
Iron - how much does your baby or toddler need?
Well, peeps my voice is back, sort of, but I have the vilest cold and feel rather under the weather but must soldier on...after all I have blogs to write, babies to weigh and sleep problems to sort out. I don't think my body realises how inconvenient this is!

I feel a need to revisit the iron deficiency issue and help you parents out there with an easy no-nonsense approach to how much your baby/child needs and how best to get the right amount.

  • A baby from 0-6 months needs 0.2mg of iron a day. Iron in breast milk is more readily available and absorbed than iron in formula...not a widely known fact. My source for this info is NHMRC - Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council.

  • Older babies  (7-12mths) need significantly more iron - 7-11mg per day.

  • At 1-3 years this increases rapidly to 9mg/day. Phew, an awful lot to get in isn't it especially for those fussy toddlers.
Which foods are highest in iron?

Now I'm going to break it down into iron points and I feel another Olympic theme coming along!

I'm giving 0.3mg of iron to 1 iron point and a baby over 6 months and toddler, up to 3 years old, needs 26 iron points a day

Gold Medal Category

  • Red meat 1 serve (50g) = 5 iron points

  • Sardines (5 small) = 6-7 iron points

  • Weetbix 1 biscuit = 5 iron points

  • Lentils, chickpeas and pulses = 4 iron points

  • Chicken 1 serve (50g) = 4 iron point

  • Milo 2 teaspoons = 7 iron points

Silver Medal Category

  • Green vegies - spinach = 3 iron points

  • Broccoli = 2 iron points

  • Salmon (50g) = 2-3 iron points

  • Egg (one medium) = 3 iron points

  • Dried apricots (5) = 3 iron points

  • Porridge oats (half a cup) = 2 iron points

Bronze Medal Category

  • Milk 1 cup = 1 iron point

  • Wholemeal/wholegrain bread 1 slice= 2 iron points

  • White bread 1 slice = 1 iron point

  • White rice (half a cup) = 1 iron point

  • Pasta (half a cup) cooked = 1 iron point

  • Fresh fruit (small apple size) = 1-2 iron points

  • Cheese 1 slice = not even an iron point!

So there you have it The Iron Olympics! Hopefully I've given you an easy to follow guide to help you provide optimum nutrition for your bub.

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