Posted by: Admin | October 21, 2013

Starting to introduce solids to your baby? Start by iron-rich foods!


Introducing solids too early is associated with higher risk of obesity, as well as allergies and diabetes! It is now recommended that we introduce babies to solids at 6 months, but cultural ways and habits are hard to change; many mothers still introduce solid foods at 4 months or earlier. A few days before or after 6 months is not detrimental, but the baby’s development is not ready before that.

When babies receive solids at 6 months, the order in which you introduce solids is not important. You do not have to follow the cereal, vegetables, fruits and meat pattern anymore. Simply introduce iron-rich foods first!

All through the first six months, the baby’s blood stays rich in iron because of his own stores (obtained during pregnancy) supported by the bioavailability of the iron in breastmilk. Breastmilk contains a small quantity of iron but it is extremely well absorbed (49% of the iron in breastmilk is actually absorbed by the baby, as opposed to only 4% of the iron from iron-enriched baby artificial milk). When a baby is exclusively breastfed, we do not worry about the iron in his blood until around 6 months of age, as it takes about that long for his body’s iron stores to start to decrease. Introducing other food before the 6 month mark will also reduce the iron received from breastmilk, because it will stop the iron from being well absorbed.

The first foods given to a baby should vary according to one’s culture, but we need to consider iron-rich ones, such as meats and iron-fortified whole-grain cereals (baby cereals, cream of wheat, iron-rich instant oatmeal). Certain vegetables (like spinach) are a little higher in iron than other vegetables, but vegetable iron can never be compared to the iron in meats. Fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C can increase the absorption of the iron if eaten with the iron-rich food.

In Eeyou Itschee, some great sources of iron and the best first foods to introduce to our babies, are (in order of highest iron content): boiled seal, simmered bear, goose, duct, ptarmigan, caribou, moose, beaver, rabbit and meat broths!

And now, to start the day with a smile, here is a video showing you what happens when babies are introduced to lemons for the first time…Have a great day everyone!
A

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