It is important for children to take in an adequate amount of iron in their diets!
Iron deficiency anemia is a condition that can occur when your body does not have enough iron to make hemoglobin, which is the part of a red blood cell that carries oxygen throughout your body. Symptoms of iron deficiency can include weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath while exercising, and irritability, among others. Some patients may have no symptoms at all.
Breastfed babies start to lose their iron stores around 4-6 months. For this reason, we recommend either supplementing with iron fortified rice cereals or adding meat purees to the diet starting at 6 months of age. Almost all formulas are fortified with the proper amount of daily iron your baby needs.
We check hemoglobin levels for all children at 12 months of age and every female who has started having menstrual cycles at their annual wellness visit.
A list of iron rich foods is found below!
- Lean red meat
- Turkey (especially dark meat)
- Shellfish (clams, shrimp)
- Egg yolks
- Quinoa or beans (chickpeas, lentils, soy beans, pinto beans)
- Dried fruits such as raisins, prunes, dates or apricots
- Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, collards and kale
- Sweet potatoes
- Iron fortified breads and grains
The body does not easily absorb iron. To increase absorption, consume iron rich foods together with foods/drinks high in vitamin C. Add a cup of orange juice, citrus fruits or vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes to meals to help your body absorb the iron it needs.