Why is iron important for your baby?

Why is iron important for your baby?

By 6 months, your baby will be starting to run low on the stores of iron they were born with. Iron is especially important to keep blood and brain cells healthy.

By 6 months, your baby will be starting to run low on the stores of iron they were born with. Iron is especially important to keep blood and brain cells healthy. Iron helps children to learn.

Lean meat, chicken and fish contain lots of iron, and vegetables and fruit help the body to absorb the iron.

Don’t give children tea to drink, as it contains substances that stop iron from being absorbed.

Offer your baby meat at least 3-5 times a week, or offer suitable vegetarian alternatives (such as cooked puréed or mashed lentils and chick peas, and dark green leafy vegetables). Eating foods that are high in vitamin C (like oranges and tomatoes) at meal and snack times helps the body to absorb more iron. This is important for vegetarian babies as the iron in plants is harder for the body to absorb than the iron in meat. 

Tips for preparing meat:

  • cook and purée the meat (such as lean lamb, beef or chicken) and add vegetable water, meat juices or water to make them easy to eat, or
  • freeze uncooked meat and grate the frozen meat into your baby’s raw vegetables before cooking

This page last reviewed 09 June 2013.
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