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The importance of iron

Iron is important for brain development

Every new skill your toddler learns, whether it’s giggling and chatting, taking little wobbly steps or scribbling their first work of art, relies on healthy brain development. So it’s important to include iron-rich foods in your toddler’s daily diet.

At this stage, your toddler is using their brain for four key skills:

4 key development areas

Physical development:

Good co-ordination skills are essential for any physical activity, including learning to walk, using a crayon and playing catch with a ball

Language development:

These first few years of life are the prime time for learning to use words

Emotional and social development:

Interacting with other people and learning to share toys with other children encourages good relationships

Visual development:

This is a key time for learning to recognise objects, shapes and colours in the world around them

Iron deficiency and your toddler

Due to toddlers’ relatively high dietary iron requirements, they are vulnerable to iron deficiency if they are not regularly consuming iron rich foods. If iron levels get too low, this can leave your toddler tired and lacking in energy. In a small number of cases this can lead to iron deficiency anaemia which can affect a toddler’s development in the longer term.

If you have any concerns about your toddler’s iron intake or general health please consult your health care provider.

Iron rich foods

Iron rich foods include red meat - like beef, lamb, liver,  eggs,  and green leafy vegetables. 

You can increase your toddler’s iron intake is by giving vitamin C at the same time, as this helps the body absorb iron. So it’s a good idea to occasionally give your toddler some diluted orange juice with their food. Or try getting more vitamin C in their diet by using tomatoes or peppers in their meals or by serving up delicious kiwi fruit or juicy strawberries for dessert.