Iron deficiency anemia in children is one of the major concerns in the medical world. Especially in developing countries, where parents lack minimum awareness, iron deficiency anemia affects almost 5 out of 10 newborns. Fortunately, research has shown that iron deficiency anemia in kids can be avoided by practicing proper dietary intake of essential iron.
Since kids usually develop iron deficiency anemia due to the lack of dietary iron, practitioners have come up with a list of iron-fortified food items and some clinically approved iron supplements for anemia treatment to ensure that newborns are free from the risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia and related ailments.
What Is Iron Deficiency Anemia?
Iron deficiency anemia is an ailment that occurs due to the lack of iron in the bloodstream. This hampers red blood cell production and maturation, thus affecting reducing hemoglobin content. Since hemoglobin is responsible for oxygen transportation, the body tissues get devoid of minimum oxygenation, resulting in a chain of health issues.
What Are The Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency Anemia In Kids?
Iron deficiency in kids usually comes with the following symptoms:
- Pale Skin
- Delayed Growth
- Poor Appetite
- Pica (Appetite for non-food items)
- Sore Tongue
How Does Iron Deficiency Anemia In Kids Affect Their Health?
The early signs of iron deficiency anemia in kids, when left untreated, lead to,
- Skeletal & Muscular Weakness
- Low Birth Weight
- Slowed Neurological Responses
- Reduced immunity
- Chronic exhaustion
How To Ensure Your Child’s Adequate Iron Intake?
To avoid the above consequences, physicians and nutritionists recommend the following ways of iron deficiency treatment:
Dietary Iron Intake
It should be always kept in mind that the diet is the root of your child’s health. So, as parents, you should make sure that your child receives adequate iron, be it in supplement form or through iron-rich food items.
For Breastfed Babies
Usually, breastfed babies get all the necessary nutrients from their mother. So, the chances of developing iron deficiency anemia from as early as breastfeeding days are extremely rare. Still, if your baby shows anemic conditions, consult a doctor for carefully quantified and monitored doses of iron supplements for kids. Remember, a breastfed baby’s body is highly sensitive to external elements, so adding iron supplements should be clinically approved and carried out as per the specified instructions.
For Babies Post-Breastfeeding Period
Once your baby is past the breastfeeding days, try adhering to the following:
- Iron-fortified meals including baby cereal, pureed meats, and pureed beans. For older kids, parents are suggested to start feeding them good sources of iron include red meat, chicken, fish, beans, and dark green leafy vegetables.
- Bottle-fed babies should be discouraged from taking too much cow milk. The latter dilutes iron content in the diet and hampers absorption.
- Parents are advised to add Vitamin C along with iron-fortified diet, since Vitamin C helps in proper iron absorption in the system.
Although the World Health Organization recommends iron supplementation after 1 year of birth, parents should always consult specialists and strictly adhere to the instructions while giving iron supplement doses to children below 1 year of age. Remember, an over intake of iron may lead to a series of other hazardous ailments. The best combination, however, is a clinically prescribed blend of natural dietary iron and clinically monitored doses of iron supplements. Getting your child adapted to this combination can ensure keeping away iron deficiency anemia for good!