4 Ways to Overcome Iron Deficiency in Babies, Let's Try it!
Iron is one of the essential nutrients that the body needs, especially for babies. Iron deficiency will cause a person to develop anemia.
Dr. Cut Nurul Hafifah, Sp.A, on the website of the Indonesian Pediatric Association, wrote that iron deficiency could have a negative impact on children's intelligence, behavior, and motor abilities.
In addition, iron deficiency in babies or children under the age of 2 years causes children to respond longer, more easily fussy, and difficult to control themselves.
The journal Paediatrics Child Health mentions the symptoms and signs of iron deficiency in babies. Here are the signs:
- Slow weight gain
- Pale skin
- No appetite
- Irritability or fussiness
- May be less physically active and may develop more slowly
In children, iron deficiency can affect performance at school, due to concentration problems, shorter attention spans, and poor academic performance, as well as feeling tired and weak.
How to Deal with Iron Deficiency in Babies
Then how to ensure that the iron needs of babies and children are still fulfilled every day? Here's how to deal with iron deficiency in babies that you can do.
1. Eat Foods High in Iron At Least 2 Times a Day
Eating foods that contain iron is the best way to deal with iron deficiency in babies. The highest source of iron is red meat.
Green vegetables are also high in iron but are only absorbed by about 3-8 percent compared to animal sources absorbed by 23 percent. Here are other foods with high iron sources:
- Meat (beef, lamb, veal, liver, chicken, turkey)
- Fish (avoid giving lobster, shrimp or shellfish to babies under 1-year-old)
- Eggs (do not give egg whites to babies under 1-year-old)
- Grains and cereals
- Wholemeal bread, pasta and rice
- Green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, string beans)
2. Eat Foods High in Vitamin C
Vitamin C can help by increasing iron absorption by 2 times, so that iron can be absorbed by the GI tract which can then be flowed into the body.
Consume foods with high iron alongside foods that have a source of vitamin C, such as oranges, limes, strawberries, broccoli, or peppers to prevent iron deficiency in babies.
3. Avoid Drinking Milk or Tea during Main Meal
Although the Little One also needs calcium intake as nutrition for their growth and development, it is not recommended if you want to overcome iron deficiency in babies.
The high calcium content in milk can inhibit the absorption of iron, by making it compete against calcium absorption. Meanwhile, tea contains substances that inhibit the absorption of iron.
Preferably, you can give milk and tea outside the primary meal time of the Little One.
4. Weaning Food Fortification Can Be an Alternative Choice
Contrary to myths related to fortified complementary food which is not better at providing the nutritional needs of the Little One, fortified complementary food can be an alternative choice to combat iron deficiency in babies, you know!
As a parable, babies need to eat 85 grams of chicken liver a day (equivalent to 3 medium-sized pieces), or 385 grams of beef (almost 1.5 times the serving of an adult steak) to meet the iron needs of 11 mg per day.
Of course, this amount is very large for babies aged 6-12 months, so fortified complementary food that has been enriched with iron can be an alternative to an intake that contains high iron.
That's it, some ways to deal with iron deficiency in babies can be done. If your little one shows signs of lack of iron, immediately do the treatment. Don't be delayed!