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Do You Need To Give Your Baby Iron? It's A Delicate Balance

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Making sure your baby gets all the right nutrients for growth can feel like a full-time job in itself. But because you're setting the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating, it's crucial to make sure your little one gets all the right nutrition from the get-go. With this in mind, do you need to give your baby iron? Making sure your child has enough, but not too much, of this awesome mineral is vital.

For starters, what exactly is iron, and how does it help your baby grow? According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, iron is a mineral that helps transport oxygen to the body's red blood cells, allowing the body to produce energy. This is a vital nutrient for all humans, but babies in particular need iron to thrive. As noted in Parents, iron is a crucial mineral that helps babies hit those growth and development milestones. If your baby does not have enough iron (a condition known as anemia), then she could have delays in her development, as further explained by Parents. It's difficult to overstate the importance of iron.

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Fortunately, it isn't too difficult to make sure your little one is getting adequate iron. For most babies who are under about 6 months of age, getting enough iron is not a problem. In general, breastmilk or iron-fortified formulas will provide these very young babies their required amount of iron, as noted by Caring for Kids. Once your child is around 7 to 12 months old, then she will need about 11 mg of iron per day, as further explained by Caring for Kids. If your kid is not eating enough solid foods, or your milk supply does not provide adequate iron, then your physician may recommend iron supplements.

Giving your child iron supplements is simple enough, but it's crucial to make sure you follow your doctor's recommended amount to the letter. According to Baby Center, your doctor may give your child an 11mg supplement of iron if your little one is not eating much solid food by the age of 4 months or so. But iron is like the Goldilocks of minerals: you don't want too little or too much. In fact, too much iron in your baby's diet may lead to liver damage, as further explained by Baby Center. Because of this, it's critical to give your kid the right amount of iron.

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Lastly, once your little one starts enjoying the world of solid foods, there are plenty of delicious iron sources in baby-friendly foods. Chicken, beans, leafy green veggies, and iron-fortified cereals are all good sources of iron, according to the Mayo Clinic. Whatever the source, making sure your baby has enough iron will go a long way toward setting her up for a healthy life.