Is Your Baby Getting Enough Iron?
A recent national survey of Canadian Moms showed that 70 per cent were unaware that babies 6 to 12 months need 11 mg of iron per dayi – that’s nearly 40 per cent more than is required of a full-grown man!
The survey also reported that Canadian moms seek infant feeding information from many sources including doctors and pediatricians, online resources, baby care books, magazines and of course, friends and family.
While moms of infants are aware that iron is an essential nutrient, there is confusion surrounding when parents should be introducing iron-rich solid foods like meat into their baby’s diet.
Health Canada released new guidelines advising parents to offer their six-month old infants meat, fish, poultry or meat alternatives two or more times a day, on a daily basisII.
Only about half of moms (55 per cent) surveyed were aware that heme iron found in meats is better absorbed than other dietary iron, or that iron deficiency anemia in infants is associated with irreversible developmental delays (51 per cent).
i National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand including Recommended Dietary Intakes. Canberra: NHMRC, Wellington: Ministry of Health, 2006.
ii Health Canada joint statements (2015). Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: 1. Recommendations from Birth to six Months, and 2. Recommendations from Six to 24 Months.
iii Experiments suggest that adding 50 to 85 grams of meat to a meal results in a 1.5- to 4-fold increase in iron absorption (Baech 2003; Baynes and Bothwell 1990; Cook et al 1976; Engle-Stone et al 2005; Navas-Carretero 2008).
Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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