Iron deficiency is a very common deficiency in young children especially when infants start the transition from milk onto solid food. Iron deficiency is most often caused by a poor intake of iron-rich foods which is very common in young children as they navigate new tastes and textures when especially during weaning.
Iron-rich foods can be been divided into animal and plant based sources. Animal sources of iron are two to three times more readily absorbed by the body than plant based sources however both sources of iron-rich food are needed in your child’s diet.
|Animal based source of iron||Plant based source of iron|
|Lean beef||Beans and lentils|
|Organ meat eg. Liver||Dark green leafy vegetables eg. Spinach|
|Fortified breakfast cereals|
|Whole grain and enriched breads|
If you are concerned your child might have an iron deficiency, here are some symptoms to watch out for:
- Fatigue (constant tiredness)
- Pale skin and fingernails
- Brittle nails
- Hair thinning or hair loss
- Weight loss
If you have any concerns your child has an iron deficiency this can be easily diagnosed with a blood test to detect haemoglobin and ferritin levels. Contacting your GP would be useful for further assistance.