Your baby grows rapidly during the first year of life.2 Till your baby is 6 months old, your breast milk provides all the nutrients in adequate amounts. After 6 months, along with breast milk, adequate complementary feeding should be started as the nutrients in your breast milk, especially iron, is not sufficient for your baby.3 Therefore, by the time your little one is 6 months old introduce complementary foods containing iron in sufficient quantities to support his/her growing needs.3,4
Complementary foods should provide nutrients to your growing baby:
Complementary foods are started at 6 months of age to meet the nutritional needs of your baby.4 If your baby’s food does not contain iron in sufficient amounts, then he/she may be at risk of developing iron deficiency.5
Iron-fortified foods help to prevent your baby from becoming iron deficient:
In order to improve the intake and absorption of nutrients otherwise consumed in less-than-recommended amounts, some foods products are nutrient-enriched.5 Several iron-enriched or iron-fortified food products are readily available. The World Health Organization recommends that iron-fortified complementary foods should be given as needed during the complementary feeding period for children aged 6 – 23 months of age.1 Studies have shown that providing iron-fortified foods improves iron levels in the body and thereby reduces the rates of iron deficiency and anemia.5,7 So, make sure to include iron-fortified foods in your baby’s diet right from today!
- World Health Organization. Guidelines for the use of iron supplements to prevent and treat iron deficiency anemia. Available at: http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/micronutrients/guidelines_for_Iron_supplementation.pdf Accessed on August 4, 2016.
- World Health Organization. Essential nutrient actions: improving maternal, newborn, infant and young child health and nutrition. 2013.
- World Health Organization. Infant and young child feeding. Model Chapter for textbooks for medical students and allied health professionals. 2009.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Infant Nutrition and Feeding. Chapter 5: Complementary Feeding. Available at: https://wicworks.fns.usda.gov/wicworks/Topics/FG/Chapter5_ComplementaryFoods.pdf Accessed on June 23, 2016
- National Institutes of Health. Iron. Dietary supplement fact sheet. Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/IronHealthProfessional/ Accessed on June 23 , 2016.
- Liu P, Bhatia R, Pachon H, et al. Food Fortification in India: A Literature Review. Indian J Comm Health. 2014; 26 (Suppl 1):59–74.
- Domellof M, Braegger C, Campoy C, et al. Iron Requirements of Infants and Toddlers. JPGN 2014;58: 119–129.