Iron deficiency can make your little one irritable, pale, fatigued, dizzy and weak- and it is believed to affect neurodevelopment and behavioral development for years to come (i.e. difficulty concentrating in school, higher risk of ADHD, etc.). Although the prevalence of iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia in children ages 1 to 3 has been on the decline since the 1970s, approximately 9.2% of all toddlers (ages 1-3) are iron deficient and 2.1% suffer from iron-deficiency anemia, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data collected between 1999 and 2002. The introduction of iron-fortified formula and infant foods, such as rice cereal, are attributed to the declining rates of iron deficiency over the years, as is the American Academy of Pediatrics’ stance on screening at one year.
If you think your child may be iron deficient, it is important to talk to your pediatrician right away to determine if you should be giving your little one iron supplements. However, all toddlers, even those with normal iron stores, can benefit from an iron-rich diet. Also, Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron, so try to offer fruits and vegetables with iron-rich foods for maximum impact. Here are some foods you can start offering to your little one to help prevent iron deficiency:
Cream of Wheat