Iron is a very important and essential mineral in our diets because it keeps our body oxygenated. It is part of hemoglobin, the substance found in red blood cells that’s responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. It gives us our healthy skin color and is essential for a child’s healthy development.
It is important to provide a diet rich in iron because it helps us maintain a healthy level of red blood cells. If the body doesn’t obtain enough iron, the most common type of anemia can appear.
Babies that were born at term and with good weight have a reserve of iron that lasts during the first six months of age. However, at the end of this period it is essential to get iron from other sources because the body no longer contains it. It is very important to do so because anemia that’s not treated could lead to delays in growth and development.
What are the symptoms of anemia?
• Persistent irritability
• Poor appetite
How do I prevent anemia?
To prevent anemia, it is important to ensure that your child receives adequate amounts of iron through food. Here’s how:
• Offer your child a balanced diet with iron-rich foods such as:
o Red meat
o Sweet potato
o Iron-fortified cereals
• Remember not to give cow’s milk to your baby until after his first year.
• If your baby drinks formula, choose one that is fortified with iron.
• Include solids rich in vitamin C in his diet because it helps the body absorb the consumed iron.
Remember if you suspect your baby has anemia, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. By means of a simple blood test, he can detect it and indicate the proper treatment.