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Starting solids can be an exciting new time- watching your baby explore new textures and flavours as they embark on this journey. Nothing is more adorable than watching bub try and eat spaghetti for the first time! At the same time though, starting solids can bring up some worries for mums and dads alike. In particular, worrying about meeting all of your baby’s nutritional needs.
As you have probably heard time and time again, iron is an essential nutrient for growing babies. This is because it plays an important role in brain development and growth. During this life stage where babies are constantly learning and developing new skills, you can understand why iron is so important!
Babies also need iron for healthy blood and energy. This helps them to learn to do new things like walking and talking.
In the first six months of your baby’s life, they will receive all the iron they need from breast milk or formula.
From six months on, bub’s iron stores drop and his/her iron requirements are no longer able to be satisfied by breast milk of formula one. This can only mean one thing- welcome to the fun world of starting solids!
When starting solids, iron rich or iron fortified foods should be among the first foods introduced to your baby. This helps to replenish their iron stores right from the get go!
Luckily, iron is found in an array of different foods, including plant based foods. As bub continues their solids journey, it’s a great idea to offer your baby iron rich foods from both animal and plant sources each day.
This may come as a shock but your baby’s iron needs throughout infancy and childhood is at its highest when they are 7-12 months old!
So how exactly do you make sure your baby gets enough iron during the day? Below we’ll go through 3 simple ways to get more iron into bub’s diet, so you can be rest assured they are meeting their iron needs.
There are two main types of iron- one found in animal foods, known as haem iron, and the other found in plant foods, which is non-haem iron. Haem iron (that is the iron in animal foods) is better absorbed than the iron in plant foods, however it’s very beneficial to include a variety of animal and plant based iron-rich foods in your baby’s diet.
Babies can start enjoying pureed or soft, slow-cooked meat from 6 months. If you are buying cuts of meat, opt for leaner cuts and cut off the fatty parts, as there is no iron in the fatty parts of meat.
In the first few months of your baby’s solids journey, preparing and storing all your baby’s food can be a tedious and overwhelming task. All the shopping, chopping, steaming, pureeing can take up so much time and energy- which you’re already running out of!
When we’re talking about increasing iron absorption, iron and Vitamin C go hand in hand. The Vitamin C found in fruit and vegetables helps your baby’s body get the most iron out of their food.
In particular, Vitamin C rich foods boost the absorption of iron found in plant based iron foods.
If you think of Vitamin C as a chaperone that helps iron get into your baby’s cells, on the other hand, calcium is like a security guard blocking iron from getting in.
Calcium is known as an iron inhibitor- meaning too much of it can actually inhibit the absorption of iron.
Calcium is an important mineral for bone health and it’s best sources can be found in:
While a little sprinkle of cheese served with an iron-rich meal is okay, it’s best to serve larger amounts of calcium rich foods separate from iron rich foods. A glass of milk with dinner may not be the best idea, so instead, try stretching it to at least 30 mins- 1 hour after a main meal.
Check out our range of frozen baby purees - including beef, chicken and salmon! There is a great source of iron and protein packed into each little cube. Better yet, they save you the hassle of cooking and pureeing your own meat, which we all know is not a fun job!
Smartly packaged to easily store in your freezer; you no longer have to worry about shopping for the right cut of meat or fish, trimming away all the fat or getting all the bones out of the fish, using the slow cooker for hours on end, or pureeing meats/fish. Nourishing Bubs’ new chicken, beef and salmon purees can be easily defrosted in the microwave and added to your baby’s meal in a matter of minutes… rather than hours!
Our chicken, beef and salmon purees are also 100% Australian, free-range and grass-fed and contain no artificial flavours, colours, preservatives or salt.
They can be easily mixed in with our veggie purees to offer both animal and plant sources of iron and boost the flavours.
If your baby is showing signs of readiness to start solids, these purees can be introduced from 4 months! This ensures that your baby can continue to thrive after that 6 month mark where their iron stores drop.
You can view and shop the range here: https://www.nourishingbubs.com/collections/all