If you are breastfeeding, and iron along with other nutrients have
been a source of concern, it is important for you to know that the right
diet of a healthy breastfeeding mum should ideally contain a
well-balanced portion of calcium, iron, minerals and other vitamins.
Breastfeeding and Iron Deficiency
The cause of concern lies in the fact that even if you are
deficient in iron, the breast milk would generally be nutritious enough.
Surprisingly, it is the mother who will face the brunt, since she will
already be low in iron, and breastfeeding will further deplete her of
the nutrient, making her anaemic.
Experts in the subject are of the opinion that it is right for
the nursing mother to be concerned about her supplies of iron,
especially if iron levels are already low.
Research shows that it is your age that will determine the amount
of iron you will need when breastfeeding. To be more specific, it is
recommended that you consume around 10 mg of iron a day, if you are
between 14 and 18 years of age.
For women in the age group 19 to 50 years, around 9 mg a day is the required dosage.
Our tip: It is always advisable to get your daily iron
quotient from your diet. Having it in the form of external supplements
could have an adverse effect on your digestive system.
Top Foods to Boost Iron Levels
Here, we have given a list of the food groups you can include in your diet to ensure that you are fine while breastfeeding, and iron doesn’t remain a concern.
You can include a number of vegetables that are especially high in their iron content. Some of the common vegetables include:
Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach.
Kidney beans *
Whole grains and cereals
The likes of iron-fortified cereals, pasta and breads are a good source
of whole grains that give a rich supply of iron for breastfeeding
At times, iron, especially the non-heme one is not absorbed
readily by the body. You can improve the absorption of iron by eating
fruits that are rich in vitamin C, such as kiwis, grapefruit juice*,
oranges* and strawberries.
Experts vouch for the high iron content contained in meat,
especially in organ meat such as liver, carrying something like 5.2 to
9.9 mg of iron per serving. You can also consume more duck, lamb and
Eggs are another source of iron that can be incorporated as an
integral part of your diet when nursing. Mothers who are breastfeeding can
include at least 1 egg a day for breakfast.
Seafood such as shellfish is known to be very high in iron. Just
consider the fact that a 3-oz can of clams carries around 23 mg of iron
while 3-oz of cooked oysters contain around 10.2 mg of iron.
By Jasmin Pannu
* Foods that could cause colic/gassiness or allergy in some babies.
So if your baby does start to show any colicky signs, you will know
which foods to start illuminating. Most babies are fine with these foods