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Gentle by nature

Symptom Spotlight: Iron Deficiency in Toddlers

Smiling toddler playing with toys in playroom

Iron deficiency in toddlers may affect up to 15% of little ones. Read on to learn more about low iron in toddlers and how iron-rich foods for toddlers may help resolve the problem.

Iron deficiency in toddlers

Iron is a critical micronutrient that supports red blood cells and is essential for delivering oxygen from the lungs to the body. Inadequate iron may lead to a serious condition called iron deficiency anemia. Symptoms of low iron in toddlers may include pale skin, fatigue, and frequent infections. Iron deficiency anemia can also have long-term, irreversible effects on children’s cognitive and behavioral development.

Causes of low iron in toddlers

Determining whether your little one has low iron and investigating the root cause requires careful evaluation by a health professional. In the US, children should have bloodwork screened sometime between 9-12 months, and again between 15-18 months to assess their risk. Babies who are born prematurely, have not been given complimentary iron-fortified foods after 6 months of age, have had lead exposure, or have an underlying health condition may be at increased risk for iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia.

A diet that does not provide adequate iron is the most common cause of low iron in toddlers. In particular, little ones who drink more than 24 ounces a day of cow (or goat milk) may be at risk if they do not eat enough foods that have iron; milk is not a good source of iron and may block its absorption.

Iron-rich foods for toddlers

While diet is one of the best ways to prevent and manage iron deficiency in toddlers, some children may need an iron supplement to get what they need – you’ll want to talk with your healthcare professional if you’re unsure.

Generally, children one to four years should aim for 7 mg of iron daily. And, for many, this can be achieved by offering iron-rich foods each day. Some healthy, iron foods for toddlers can include red meat, chicken, leafy greens, nuts, and beans. Also, complementing the iron-rich foods with those naturally high in vitamin C, such as oranges, strawberries, melons, and bell peppers, will naturally help with iron absorption.

Getting enough iron into your little one each day can be tricky, especially if your toddler is a picky eater. Fortified milk, such as Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula* contains over 3mg of iron in two 4-ounce servings. That’s 30% of your toddler’s daily iron (compared to only about 0.7% and 1.2% in the same amount of cow and goat milk respectively!). Adding iron-fortified foods for toddlers, such as Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula, is a wonderful complement to your little one’s favorite foods, and can help fill nutrient gaps that may not be achieved through diet alone.

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Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula may be an option for little ones during feeding transitions, such as weaning and supplementing, or those with minor issues associated with cow milk sensitivity*.

*Not suitable for children with a confirmed cow milk protein allergy