Is your toddler getting enough iron?
Iron plays a vital role in carrying oxygen around the body and a deficiency in iron levels results in anaemia.
The common symptoms of anaemia include poor appetite, paleness and tiredness. Parents often think that their baby is simply tired or just irritable. Anaemia can also result in the more serious problem of a delay in mental development, the effects of which can be irreversible.
Why do iron deficiencies occur in babies?
One of the main problems is the lack of sources of iron in the Western diet. Red meat is of course the best source available, but as it’s only eaten in very small amounts by babies, it’s harder for them to get all the iron they need from their daily diet.
Another problem is that cow’s milk is often introduced too early, and is often made the main drink when babies are six months old. This type of milk contains only traces of iron which are not enough to provide a child with an adequate supply.
A brighter, healthier baby
Other research has revealed that babies who receive an iron-fortified milk until they are at least 18 months have been shown to be more intelligent than their cows’ milk-fed counterparts. These results are thought to be linked to iron deficiency.
Iron-fortified milks such as follow-on milks and growing up milks also offer other nutritional advantages. They contain the ideal proportion of protein, as well as higher levels of iron, vitamin D, essential fatty acids and zinc compared to cows’ milk.