Re: confused about iron
The advice on iron is one of those things the just drives. me. nuts. because it is so lacking in nuance. Yes, iron stores from birth generally do run out around 6 months. Yes, breastmilk does not contain an overabundance of iron, the way formula does. Nevertheless, most breastfed babies do not become anemic even if they don't get supplemental vitamins or lots of iron-rich solids. This is because breastmilk generally contains enough iron to meet a baby's needs, and the iron it has is in a form which is easily assimilated into the baby's body.
That being said, some breastfed babies run a higher risk of becoming anemic if they don't get vitamins or iron-rich solids. These are the babies who were born premature, since iron stores are not complete until term, the ones with an innate predisposition towards anemia, and the ones whose mothers are themselves anemic and are therefore producing milk which has lower than average iron content. Moms who are vegetarian or vegan, of course, are somewhat more likely to be anemic than those who eat meat- which is not to say that vegetarians/vegans are always anemic, just that it's very easy to get enough iron when you're an omnivore and not quite as easy when you're not.
Meats are really easy to make for babies. You don't need to purée them- meat purée sounds gross to me, too! Just roast or boil them until they are soft enough to shred, and then put the shredded bits in front of your baby. Shredded meats- like the chicken from a soup- make great starter foods. Very easy for baby to pick up, gum, and swallow. And who cares is puréed meats have iron which is easier to assimilate than whole pieces? For the average, non-anemic baby, you're only looking to offer a little supplemental iron, not to correct a problem with low iron.
ETA: Meats are just one way to get iron into a baby. Leafy green veggies- spinach, kale, Swiss chard- beans, blackstrap molasses, and dried fruit are also great sources of iron.
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