We all need iron, but it's essential for babies for many reasons. It is an essential component of haemoglobin which transports oxygen in the red blood cells and so is necessary for optimum growth and development.
The signs and symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia in children may include:
- Behavioural problems including sleep issues
- Repeat infections
- Loss of appetite
- Increased sweating
- Strange ‘food’ cravings (pica) like eating dirt
- Failure to grow at the expected rate.
Major risk factors for the development of iron deficiency in children include:
- Prematurity and low birth weight
- Late introduction of solids - past 6 months
- Introduction of cow’s milk as the main drink before 12 months of age
- High intake of cow’s milk
- Low or no meat intake and unbalanced vegetarian/vegan diet
- Poor diet in the second year of life
- Possible gastrointestinal diseases
- Lead poisoning.
How do you know your baby is low in iron?
- It's impossible to tell just by 'looking'. A pale looking child is not necessarily an anaemic one. It requires a blood test, thorough physical examination as well as a medical history.
- To absorb iron we also need an adequate intake of foods that contain vitamin C and preferably at the same meal e.g. red meat and broccoli, scrambled eggs and spinach. This is especially important with non-haem sources e.g. pulses, lentils and chickpeas.
- Tea and coffee contain tannin and can hinder iron absorption so young children should not be given tea or coffee. This is especially important with non-haem iron diets and if tea or coffee is drunk at the same time as a meal.
I'm going to look at how to get enough iron into your baby's diet in another blog (soon) and break it all down into an easy way of looking at amounts of iron needed each day. Read it here: https://nurtureparenting.com.au/iron-rich-foods-how-much-does-your-baby-or-toddler-need/
For the National Health & Medical Research Council recommendations for infant and child intake of iron visit this link: http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/iron.htm
Some further reading below
Learn about my new online Nurture Sleep Program. It will stop the guesswork and give you:
✅ A tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep)
✅ Gentle baby sleep methods
✅ Holistic assessment
✅ Nurture & Nourish nutrition program - all recipes have sleep-inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep
✅ Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos
✅ Prevention for under 4 months so no need to do sleep training ever
✅ And all at a low $97 for a very limited time
Can you tell Karen is getting rather excited for all you parents who need a good nights sleep and one that happens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and not just in a blue moon ? .
CLICK on the link below to find out how my new online program can help you and your baby