We are all well aware that the body needs iron to make hemoglobin, which is typically the oxygen carrying component, present in one’s RBCs or Red blood cells. These red blood cells are transported all throughout the body, so that they can deliver oxygen to all cells. When there is not enough iron, one’s body will be unable to make the required amount of RBCs and therefore the various tissues and organs of the body will be unable to get their supply of oxygen for smooth functioning. Therefore, it is extremely important that kids get an adequate supply of iron in their childhood.
How Much Iron Do Kids Need?
Children require different amounts of iron as they age. Below is the amount of iron that kids would require as they start growing up.
Breastfeeding Infants: When children are still breastfeeding, they get the required amount of iron that is required from their mother. When the child reached the age of 4 – 6 months, iron fortified cereals will be introduced. It is important to note, that prenatal vitamins are essential for mothers. Kids who are being fed formula, should be only fed formula that is ion fortified.
Infants between the age of 7 – 12 months: Kids between these ages should consume at least 11 milligrams of iron in a day. Children, who are younger than one year, should consume iron fortified cereals.
Toddlers will need at least 7 milligrams of iron in a day. Children between the age of 4 and 8 will need about 8 milligrams of iron in one day.
Adolescent boys should get at least 11 milligrams of iron and girls 15 milligrams. Girls especially should get more, especially in their teen years and during that time of the month.
Young athletes who lead a strenuous life should include extra iron in their diets.
When the sources of Iron in the body become depleted, this may cause a problem for some kids, especially those that are in their teens or are toddlers. It is common for girls in their teens to suffer from iron deficiency, even if they are menstruating normally. It is important that kids this age should continue to replete these resources, by consuming food that is rich in iron. This applies to athletes too.
After 12 months of age, toddlers are at risk for iron deficiency as they will no longer be having mother’s milk, which contains iron and will therefore need iron fortified cereals to increase the sources of iron.
It is important to note that infants who have more that 24 fluid ounces of cow’s milk are more likely to develop a deficiency. The reason being:
1) Cow’s milk is low on iron composition
2) Toddlers who are consuming a lot of cow’s milk, may not be too hungry to consume foods that are rich in iron
3) Milk is often responsible for the lack of absorption of iron and it may also cause bleeding in the intestine along with irritation, which will gradually lead to loss of iron in one’s stool as well.
Iron deficiency is important to be paid attention to. It not only affects growth, but could also cause behavioral and learning problems.
Kids may not showcase symptoms of iron deficiency right away. These symptoms will come about slowly. The symptoms may surface in the form of weakness and fatigue, a heart murmur or a rapid heart beat, pale skin, a decreased appetite, feeling lightheaded or dizzy.
If you notice these symptoms in your child, seek the help of a medical professional immediately and understand what treatment can help. You should speak with a Registered Holistic Nutritionist too, to gain an insight into foods that can help avoid iron deficiency. Homeopathy too has a host of solutions that can help you gain an edge on the iron front.