Since children only absorb a small amount of the iron they eat, most children need to have 8 to 10 mg of iron per day.
DIET AND IRON
During the first year of life:
- Do not give your baby cow's milk until age 1 year. Babies under age 1 have a difficult time digesting cow's milk. Use either breast milk or formula fortified with iron.
- After 6 months, your baby will start to need more iron in their diet. Start solid foods with iron-fortified baby cereal mixed with breast milk or formula.
- Iron-rich pureed meats, fruits, and vegetables can also be started.
After one year of age, you may give your baby whole milk in place of breast milk or formula.
Eating healthy foods is the most important way to prevent and treat iron deficiency. Good sources of iron include:
- Chicken, turkey, fish, and other meats
- Dried beans, lentils, and soybeans
- Peanut butter
- Prune juice
- Raisins and prunes
- Spinach, kale and other greens
If a healthy diet does not prevent or treat your child's low iron level and anemia, the doctor will likely recommend iron supplements for your child. These are taken by mouth.
Do not give your child iron supplements or vitamins with iron without checking with your child's doctor. The doctor will prescribe the right kind of supplement for your child. If your child takes too much iron, it can cause poisoning.