Does your child have enough iron?

Your little one may be tiny, but do you know that babies may require more energy, mineral and vitamins than an adult? Iron especially, is key to your little one’s growing body and mind. Iron helps to move oxygen around your little one’s body. Without enough iron, your little one may feel tired or have trouble learning and concentrating . Whereas with enough iron, it helps to support your little one’s brain development and the ability to learn.1

How much iron does my little one need?

Most new-borns have enough iron stored in their bodies for at least the first 4 months of life and breastfeeding alone for the first six months can provide enough iron for your little one. When little one reaches about 6 months of age, energy and nutrient needs, including iron exceed what is provided by breastmilk alone.1,2 Figure below shows that iron is the largest gap to be filled by solid foods for a breastfed child.2 That is why, it is especially important that solid foods contain iron to ensure your little one is getting enough iron that he needs and according to Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI)  for Malaysia, the daily recommended amount of iron intake for little one from 6 to 11 months old are 9mg per day.3   

 

How to make sure that my little one gets enough iron?

(a) Choose animal-based food1-3

Both animal and plant-based food has iron. Animal sources are more easily absorbed by the body, whereas plant-based sources are less easily absorbed.

Animal sources

Plant sources

Red meat (lamb, beef)

Tofu

Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel)

Beans, lentils, pulses

Poultry (chicken, turkey)

Dark green leafy vegetables

 

(b) Choose food fortified with iron1,2

Another easy way to get iron for your little one is choosing iron fortified cereals that are readily available over the shelf now. With things made easier for parents nowadays, there are many trusted brand and available products that meet the nutrient needs of your little one. Of course, you can also find them in our store! Simple and easy to get the job done without worry and hassle!

(c) Pair iron-rich food with Vitamin C2,3

To maximise the absorption of iron, tip is to pair your iron rich food with food that are high in vitamin C! With the combination of Vitamin C, it can further enhance the absorption of iron into the body. Remember that plant-based food is less easily absorbed by the body? Pairing them with vitamin C-rich foods aid to increase the iron absorption!

High Vitamin C Food sources

High citrus fruits (oranges, lemon, grapefruits)

Berries

Orange-coloured fruits & vegetables (tomatoes, carrot, pumpkin, papaya)

Dark green leafy vegetables

Broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes

 

References

  1. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and USDA. 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. [Internet]. 9th ed. Washington (DC): US DHHS and USDA; 2020; [cited 8 November, 2021]. Available from: https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf.
  2. World Health Organization. Infant and young child feeding: model chapter for textbooks for medical students and allied health professionals. World Health Organization; 2009.
  3. Recommended Nutrient Intake for Malaysia, Ministry of Health Malaysia, NCCFN; 2017.

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