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Phoebe Talks Weaning

Episode 5

The importance of iron in your baby's diet

Episode 5 of "Phoebe talks weaning" podcast is about iron. Why is iron important for a baby and what foods contain it.

In this episode, I will discuss the importance of iron in your baby's diet and I will also share some foods that are rich in iron. Don't worry, you don't need to offer steaks on a daily basis, there are plenty of alternatives.

Transcript

I love receiving and answering weaning questions, and because every question is valuable to so many other mums, dads and carers so I thought it’s a good idea to include them in this course.

Question: I was reading that after 6 months breastmilk doesn’t provide all the nutrients a baby needs so how did you get around this with introducing one food a day for a while?

So you’ve been exclusively breastfeeding your baby for six whole months or preparing all those formula feeds day in and day out, and suddenly your baby hits the six month mark and you’ve been told milk isn’t enough. Well, it’s not like your milk is suddenly less nutritious or you now need to buy formula that’s aimed at 6 months+, your baby simply needs a booster to keep up with the rapid growth and it comes in the form of solid food.

Iron is the main concern

Your baby is born with an iron reserve, which they feed off, till they are about six months and then their growing body needs a little extra. Your baby’s need for iron shoots up dramatically at the six months mark.

While it’s unlikely that your baby will eat a whole steak at 6 months of age, try to include two servings per day of iron rich foods. Do this gradually, remember that food is a whole new world for your baby, so take it easy (see my newsletter for the food sequence I followed for weaning). Below is a list of iron rich foods. If you decide to wean your baby on a vegetarian or vegan diet, speak to your health visitor or GP as they might advise you on extra supplements for your baby. NEVER give iron supplements to a baby or child unless it has been discussed with your GP.

Iron rich foods

  • beef, chicken drumsticks, lamb
  • pulses (lentils, chickpeas, beans)
  • egg
  • green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale
  • tofu
  • dried fruit and nuts (make sure they’re chopped small enough or even ground)
  • quinoa
  • cereals fortified with iron, oats

Good to know:

  • You can boost the iron absorption of meat alternatives, by offering it together with fruit and veg that is high in vitamin C. These include citrus fruits, kiwi, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, melon, mango, persimmon, broccoli, brussels sprouts, sweet yellow pepper and even herbs such as parsley and thyme are said to have a very high vitamin C content.
  • Dairy products like milk and yogurt lower the absorption of iron, which kind of makes it an irony to eat cereals with milk… But in the bigger picture the benefits outweigh. However, you could prepare your porridge with water instead of milk and offer a few slices of orange to go with it.

Our next session we will find out if BLW is saving your child from becoming a fussy eater.

*Disclaimer: Please be advised that any information is given as general guidance only. Should you have any concerns over the wellbeing of your child such as intolerances, allergies and weight, or your baby was born prematurely or you are unsure if your baby is ready for solids, it is always best to consult with your Health Visitor or GP.*

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