The Importance Of An Iron Rich Diet

Iron is a nutrient that's essential to your child's growth and development. Iron helps move oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and helps muscles store and use oxygen. If your child's diet lacks iron, he or she might develop a condition called iron deficiency.

If a baby or child is low in iron, they can become tired, susceptible to infections and may even have difficulty learning.  A baby is born with a natural supply of iron which starts to run out by around six months of age.  Iron is replenished through the introduction of solids, which is why there is so much emphasis placed on giving your baby a diet rich in iron.  

Excellent iron-rich first foods to offer your baby include

  • Cooked and pureed meat (lamb, beef, venison, chicken & fish)
  • Cooked vegetables (sweet potato, broccoli, potatoes, kale, peas, silver beet & legumes).


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Foods to exclude from your baby's diet

It's particularly important to avoid salt, excessive sugar, wheat, nut products, honey, soft eggs & soft cheeses in your baby's diet.

Pureed fruit and vegetables are ideal first foods, it can be as simple as mashing up an avocado or banana. Or you can cook various fruit and vegetables and puree by either pushing the food through a sieve or by using a blender or food processors.  Make sure you remove all pips and fibrous material.

We obviously believe organic fruit and vegetables are the best option for your young baby and we believe that using seasonal produce is also highly beneficial (tastes better, better value, full flavour, locally sourced). Using a variety of flavours ensures your baby / toddler learns to enjoy a wide range of tastes and textures which can only be a positive thing.

The early weeks of weaning of weaning are when you should try to promote new textures and tastes.

Your 'Little Monkeys' first vegetables - a simple recipe idea.

  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 large carrot (peeled and diced)
  • 1 potato (peeled and diced)
  • Tablespoon of peas (frozen)
  • 3 tablespoons of Water

In a medium sized pan (on a medium heat) put the olive oil in with the carrots and potatoes sauté for about 3-5 mins until soft. Add the peas and water and stir for another 3-5 mins until boiling.

Take off the heat and let simmer for 15 - 20 mins, then puree by using a sieve or by using a blender or food processor. Add additional water if you require a thinner texture.





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Guidance on first foods

It is recommended that babies be exclusively breastfed for at least the first 6 months of life. At approximately 4 to 6 months of age, your doctor may give you the green light to introduce solid foods to your baby. Signs that your baby may be ready for solids can include: being able to eat from a spoon, to sit with support, to turn their head, and to grasp and raise objects to their mouth.

We understand how important it is to you that your baby establishes healthy eating habits right from the start. The Green Monkey Guide to Starting Solids is a resource designed to make introducing solid foods to your little monkey a little easier. Please keep in mind that you should make all decisions about your child’s diet under the guidance of your child’s pediatrician or nutritionist, who understands your child’s individual needs.

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When is your baby ready for solids?

Weaning – when your baby is ready for more than a liquid diet

The New Zealand Food & Nutrition Guidelines for ‘Healthy Infants and Toddlers (aged 0–2 years)’ recommend that most infants are ready for complimentary feeding (weaning) between 4 and 6 months.

Signs to indicate when your baby is ready for weaning

  • is able to hold head up.
  • tongue no longer protrudes (extrusion reflex).
  • wakes more at night.
  • is interested in others eating.
  • seems hungry after liquid feeds.
  • frequently puts things in mouth.
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How much food should you introduce first?

When introducing solids to babies it is important to always offer breast-milk or formula first as this is still the baby’s main source of nutrition. You need to do this from the time you start solids (approximately 6 months) until the baby is 8-9 months old. Only from 8-9 months should you start offering solids before their breast or formula feeds.
What you decide to feed your baby as a first food may be determined by your culture or independently held views. There is no ‘best’ first food although a hypoallergenic iron-fortified rice cereal with added breast-milk, formula or cooled, boiled water is a very common ‘starter’ food in New Zealand.
Whatever weaning food you decide to start your baby with, always remember that initially the ‘solid’ must be a very small amount of a thin, smooth mixture (use a rubber tipped spoon to protect your baby’s mouth). Your baby will probably not want much (approximately 2 teaspoons) and may spit back what it has been given. The initial trials with ‘solids’ is really only to provide something ‘new’ after the baby’s usual liquid feed and is not going to add significant energy to their day.

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What should you introduce first?

It has been suggested that vegetables should be introduced into a baby’s diet before fruit. The hypothesis is that the introduction of vegetables before fruit may prevent a preference for the sweeter, milder taste of fruit.

Sweet Potato (also known as Kumara), Pumpkin (Paukena) and Carrot (Karoti) make mild, smooth, and slightly sweet cooked vegetable purees. Cooked pureed Parsnip is another sweet vegetable that your baby may enjoy – especially when combined with pureed cooked Carrot. Silverbeet has an earthy flavour, perfect to mix in small amounts with a combination of the Pumpkin and Sweet Potato to a delicious pureed consistency.

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