Iron deficiency and babies
Suggestions to prevent or treat iron deficiency in babies less than 12 months of age include:
- Eat an iron-rich diet during pregnancy. Red meat is the best source of iron.
- Tests to check for anaemia should be conducted during pregnancy. If your doctor prescribes iron supplements, take them according to instructions.
- Breastfeed your baby or choose iron-fortified milk formulas.
- Do not give your baby cow's milk or other fluids that may displace iron-rich solid foods before 12 months of age.
- Do not delay the introduction of solid foods. Start giving your baby pureed foods when they are around four to six months of age. Fortified baby cereal made with iron-fortified formula or breast milk, at first along with pureed fruit and vegetables. Gradually include finely minced meat at one mealtime at around eight months.
Practical ways to increase iron in the diet for young children
- Include red meat three to four times per week
- Offer meat alternatives including dried beans, lentils, chickpeas, canned beans, fish, eggs and small amounts of nuts and nut pastes.
- Include foods rich in vitamin C like oranges, mandarins, berries and tomatoes.
- Encourage young children, toddlers or fussy eaters to try minced meats, fortified breakfast cereals, eggs and smooth nut pastes