Iron Rich Foods





As your baby approaches the 6-month mark, his or her iron reserve will have depleted and, to top it off you no longer produce adequate amounts of iron in your breast milk. So what do you do? We have made a list of iron rich foods that you can incorporate into your baby’s diet.

Types of Iron

  • Heme: Found in animal and fish hemoglobin (25-35% gets absorbed).
  • Non-Heme: Found in plant sources (only 10% gets absorbed).

Note: Liquid iron supplements tend to have non-heme iron so it may be easier to get your child's iron levels up through diet. 

Ways to Increase Absorption

  • Avoid mixing meat and dairy (dairy hinders the absorption of iron).
  • For poultry, give your baby the dark meat (it has the most iron).
  • Try to incorporate fruits that are high in vitamin C with the meal like mangos, pineapple and oranges (increases absorption of iron).

Recommendations

The table that follows provides a list of iron rich foods that you can incorporate into your baby’s diet. We have the following recommendations:

  • Try to get heme iron of 0.7 mg/oz. into your baby’s diet at least 3 times a week.
  • Try to get different types of fish into your child’s diet at least 2 times a week.
  • Eggs are a super food for babies that can be given every day.
  • Try to incorporate different types of nut butters to reduce the risk of allergies.
Iron Levels Food Comments

Heme

1 mg/oz.

Beef liver

Upon doctor’s recommendation, liver has high levels of vitamin A so not more than once a week

1 mg/oz.

Chicken liver

Upon doctor’s recommendation, liver has high levels of vitamin A so not more than once a week

0.7 mg/oz.

Beef

Choose quality cuts of meat (avoid ground meat)

0.7 mg/oz.

Lamb

Choose quality cuts of meat (avoid ground meat)

0.7 mg/oz.

Turkey

Choose quality cuts of meat (avoid ground meat), the dark meat has more iron

0.7 mg/oz.

Sardines

Low in mercury

0.23 mg/oz.

Chicken

The dark meat has more iron

0.23 mg/oz.

Haddock

Low in mercury

0.23 mg/oz.

Perch (ocean)

Low in mercury

0.23 mg/oz.

Salmon (wild)

Low in mercury

0.23 mg/oz.

Veal

None

Non-Heme

0.88 mg/serving

Cooked beans

Buy dried beans and soak them overnight (canned beans are salted)

0.88 mg/serving

Tofu

Tofu should always be organic

0.88 mg/serving

Pumpkin seed butter

Can usually be found in the organic section of grocery stores or in health stores, we recommend mixing it into cereal

0.88 mg/serving

Sesame (tahini)

Without salt

0.88 mg/serving

Infant cereals

Try to eat at the same time as a banana as babies don’t produce enough of the enzyme Amylase to break down cereals until 1 year and bananas are full of this enzyme

0.6 mg/egg

Egg

Scramble with milk or formula for picky eaters

0.52 mg/serving

Baked potato

Wash and leave the skin on (more iron)

0.52 mg/serving

Broccoli

Steamed or raw

0.18 mg/serving

Peanut butter

Buy organic with no additional ingredients. There will be a clear liquid at the top which can be mixed into cereal

0.18 mg/serving

Tree nut butter

Buy organic with no additional ingredients. There will be a clear liquid at the top which can be mixed into cereal

0.18 mg/serving

Dried raisins, peaches or prunes

Avoid added sugar

0.18 mg/serving

Spinach

Can be blended with other fruits

0.18 mg/serving

Green peppers

Steamed or raw

*Iron levels are approximations

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