The best iron-rich food source is red meat, in fact, meat should be one of your babies first foods.
Other good sources of iron are egg yolks, dark poultry meat, fortified breakfast cereals and pulses such as lentils.
Iron is considered to be the most critical nutrient for babies, they need a lot more iron between six months to 2 years than any other time in their lives. Iron deficiency is the commonest deficiency in babies and toddlers. It’s essential for brain growth and babies who don’t get enough can be both sensory and cognitively impaired leading to learning issues. It can also affect their motor development.
Most babies are born with enough stored iron in their bodies to last them around 6 months. This is very helpful as breast milk contains only a small amount of iron and although infant formula is supplemented with iron, your baby’s body does not easily absorb it.
Because your baby’s built-in stores that they’re born with are depleted by 6 months – or even earlier if you were iron deficient when pregnant or your baby was very small when she was born (less than 2.5kg or 5lb 8 oz), iron has to be obtained through food. Furthermore, breast milk contains little iron and although formula is supplemented with iron it’s not easily absorbed in your baby’s body. Therefore it’s really important that iron-rich foods are given at least twice a day from 6 months of age.
Iron is much better absorbed from a meat source but paring iron-rich food like pulses or dark leafy green veg with vitamin C food is a great idea as vitamin C helps your baby absorb the iron in non-meat sources . Vitamin C is found in fruit and vegetables.