Cookies Policy statement X

 

 

Join the Nestlé Baby Program

 
Iron Needs for Your Growing Baby

Iron Needs for Your Growing Baby

Iron is a vital nutrient that contributes to the normal growth and development of infants and young children. Iron is also essential in building red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout your baby’s little body. When babies don’t get enough iron they can become iron deficient and may be less active than usual and could develop more slowly. Healthy full term infants are born with iron stores, which meet their needs until about 6 months of age, when these initial reserves may start to run out.

Your baby will be ready to start eating solid foods by around 6 months. Read more about introducing solid foods.

Pumping meals with iron

While you're busy introducing your baby to new people and places, it's important to introduce him to iron-rich foods, as well. Health Canada recommends that breast milk or iron-fortified infant formula is still the main source of nutrition during the 6-12 month period, and emphasizes that baby's first foods be iron‑rich1. Healthy options are meat, meat alternatives and iron-fortified baby cereal. Between 6-12 months, the introduction of foods is a steady progression of single ingredients and portion sizes, and babies should be offered iron-rich foods 2 or more times a day1,2. The nutrition recommendations in the chart are typical for infants 6-9 months of age, once they have been introduced to and are accustomed to eating solid foods3.

Sitter Daily Nutrition Recommendation

Things to remember

Proper feeding choices are the key to ensuring that your baby is getting all the iron his little body needs. Here are some guidelines to follow: 

  • Breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months of your baby's life. It will provide your baby with adequate iron until you introduce solid foods. If you choose to supplement or replace breastfeeding with infant formula, use an iron-fortified infant formula from birth. 
  • Whether you're breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, introduce iron-rich foods including meat, meat alternatives and iron-fortified infant cereal starting around 6 months of age, after talking to your baby's doctor. 
  • It is a myth that iron can cause gastrointestinal side effects. There is no scientific data that shows any relationship between iron-rich foods and gastrointestinal problems such as colic, constipation and fussiness. 
  • If your healthcare professional has advised supplementing your baby’s diet with iron, be sure to store all vitamin supplements that contain iron out of children's reach. These supplements taken in very large amounts can be harmful. This includes iron supplements for children and adults, and prenatal vitamins with higher iron content. In fact, all supplements should be stored out of your baby’s reach. If excessive iron intake is suspected, call your doctor or visit your local emergency room immediately.

If you don't find the information you're looking for, please feel free to contact us for additional support.


References:

1 Joint statement of Health Canada, Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada, and Breastfeeding Committee for Canada. Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from Birth to Six Months. 2012. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/infant-nourisson/recom/index-eng.php
2 Joint statement of Health Canada, Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada, and Breastfeeding Committee for Canada. Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from Six to 24 Months. 2014. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/infant-nourisson/recom/recom-6-24-months-6-24-mois-eng.php
3 Adapted from the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada. Manual of Clinical Dietetics, Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data, Chicago

 
440