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Meeting iron requirement through wholefood & ditching synthetic vitamins

Starting solids is the beginning of a universal language that brings connection & laughter around a table. It supports social development & fine motor skills. 

Food is also the vehicle of nutrients that support each & every cell in our body. There are some specific nutrients that babies need to acquire when they begin their journey into solid food, and it is no coincidence that these nutrients stores start depleting around 6 months, it is actually the perfect timing to introduce nutrient dense meals.


At 6 months of age, a baby requires 11mg of iron per day, a lot more than an adult male who requires 8mg. 

…But their portion size is so tiny compared to a fully-grown man… this is why we emphasise ‘every mouthful matters’.

A baby will start building their iron stores in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy & this is dependent on maternal iron intake. Delayed cord clamping will help boost these iron stores, which will typically last up to six months. Delayed umbilical cord clamping can allow more blood transferred from the placenta to the baby.

Iron is an essential nutrient for making haemoglobin a key element of red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body. Iron is also essential for baby's development. Whilst breast milk or formula will still be baby's first form of nutrition it will not meet the iron requirements from around 6 months of age. 

The type of iron you feed your baby is important. 

Fortified iron in the form of ferrous sulphate, found in some commercial baby food is very difficult for your baby to absorb and is the leading cause of constipation in babies. Unfortunately health professionals recommend rice cereal often as a first food for babies because it has been fortified with synthetic iron, whilst its terribly difficult for a baby to digest it also is void of other essential nutrients.

You see mother nature gets it so very right, when we consume whole foods we find combinations of nutrients that work synergistically to support absorption. So if you decide not to use fortified baby food you must ensure your little one is getting iron from whole foods, and while puree vegetables & fruits are nutritious they alone do not meet iron requirements.

The most bioavailable form of iron is heme iron, this type of iron is found in animal products, these foods also offer bioavailable zinc, choline, folate, essential fatty acids & protein. Sources include:

  • Red meat
  • Liver
  • Bone broth
  • Bone marrow
  • Poultry
  • Eggs 
  • Salmon

Non-heme iron is a plant source of iron that is not as bioavailable as heme iron but much better than synthetic iron. Natural sources include:

  • Quinoa
  • Lentils
  • Pulses
  • Beans
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Tofu
  • Kelp
  • Leafy greens
  • Spirulina

Pairing these foods with vitamin C rich foods will aid absorption.


Foods high in vitamin C include:

  • Cauliflower 
  • Peppers
  • Blackcurrant
  • Guavas
  • Kiwifruit
  • Papaya
  • Camu camu

The ingredients in Norish puree’s have been carefully selected to ensure your baby is getting the most nutrient dense whole foods. 

The have been purposely paired together to maximize absorption and to nurture their delicate digestive system. 


Because every mouthful matters.

Gina Urlich 

BHSc Nutritional Medicine

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