How much iron is required in the first 1000days?
Pregnancy is a period of rapid growth and cell differentiation both for the mother and the fetus. During this period, inappropriate nutrition leads not only to an increased risk of death in the uterus, but also alterations in birth weight and functional changes.
There is an argument, therefore, for supplementation in the diet, in order to avoid the consequences of deficiency during pregnancy.
Iron is very important in women who are pregnant for the rapid growth of the unborn baby. Did you know that during pregnancy you need twice the amount of iron as you did before you were expecting? During pregnancy, your body uses iron to make extra blood for your baby, and also uses iron to move oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body and to your baby's lungs. Getting enough iron can prevent anemia, a condition characterized by too few red blood cells that can make you feel tired.
Having anemia can cause your baby to be born too small or too early. It’s important to eat iron-rich foods such as animal protein which includes: fish, meat, chicken, eggs and liver and plant protein such as black beans, soybeans, and green grams. It’s important to consume vitamin C rich foods for the Iron to be readily available in the body when you taking plant proteins.
Taking extra iron supplementation as your doctor recommends can help keep your iron level in check. In case your baby does not have enough iron you can also consider giving iron fortified toddler milks and baby iron fortified cereals.
Early childhood is the most demanding period of human life when it comes to how much iron children require, iron deficiency anemia in early life is known to alter behavioral and neural development. When an infant is breastfeeding, he or she will get their iron from their mother and stores from the womb.
6 months and above
When your baby is 6 months and above you can make sure your child gets iron through iron-fortified cereals, iron fortified milk as well as iron rich foods. Fortified infant cereals are a healthy source of nutrition and they maintain a balance of nutrients and are a good source of energy due to their high carbohydrates content.
If you are not sure if the cereal is appropriate for your baby, check the cereal label or see if it is clearly indicated that the cereal is an iron-fortified baby cereal. Fortified baby cereals help the baby to meet the daily dietary requirements for vitamins and minerals.
After 6 months in case your baby does not continue to breastfeed the next best option is iron fortified formula. Consult your health care provider to advise you appropriately.