Around the age of 6 months (some pediatricians say up until 8 months), a baby’s natural stores of iron will almost be gone. It’s at this time that babies typically begin to eat solid foods. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies not be started on solid foods prior to the age of 6 months old; this coincides with the fact that during the first 6 months of life, babies need all of their nutrition from breast milk and/or formula.
Iron Rich Breast Milk and Formula
Breast milk is an important source of iron (lactoferrin) as is formula. These are important sources of iron for your baby and once solids are introduced, you baby will be consuming less and less breast milk or formula. It is important for you to begin to introduce iron rich foods into your baby’s diet as you begin introducing solid foods.
Introduce meats and fish for the best form of iron, heme iron. Heme iron is more easily used and absorbed by the body.
Non-heme iron is found in plants like grains and seeds and fruits and veggies. Non-heme iron is also important even if it is not as easily used or absorbed by our bodies.
To help you figure out what foods are rich in iron and great for babies, I have created a handy graphic and a more detailed list. I hope you find these helpful!