Ensuring that your little one gets all the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and brain development is a top priority for every parent. Here’s a round up of the Best Infant Multivitamins with Iron.
Iron is a vital mineral that plays a crucial role in the overall health and development of little ones. Iron supports the formation of hemoglobin in red blood cells, meaning oxygen can be carried efficiently around the body. Without enough iron, infants are at risk of developing iron deficiency anemia.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, iron is the most common deficiency in infants 0-3 years worldwide. Infant have high iron requirements for their size as they are growing so quickly and a lack of iron can affect your baby’s cognitive development (brain).
If you worry about your infant’s iron intake, worry no more. In this blog, we’ll dive deep into the best infant multivitamins with iron out there at the moment.
Do infants get enough iron from breast milk?
In the first 6 months of life, breastfed babies have stored iron from when they were in the womb. The amount of iron babies have stored can depend on their gestational age, mum’s iron stores during pregnancy and when the umbilical cord is clamped. By 6 months, iron stores in breastmilk start to reduce and this means that your baby needs to get iron from other sources too. Generally, this extra iron comes in when they start weaning.
Is formula milk rich in iron?
Yes, formula-fed babies should get their daily iron requirement from the formula they receive in the first 6 months. In the UK, Canada, Australia & USA formula milk should be fortified with iron but always double-check the label.
Why Infants Might Need Iron Supplements?
Iron is super important for our little ones. It helps make hemoglobin, which carries oxygen around in our blood. As babies grow, they need more iron. Even though they are born with a reserve of iron, it can begin to deplete after a few months.
So, when you start introducing solid foods, it’s a good idea to include iron-rich foods. If you are worried that there aren’t enough iron-rich foods in your child’s diet. Their iron might be a bit on the low side.
7-12 months – 11 mg of iron
1-3 years – 7 mg of iron
This intake is recommended to come from diet, however, if supplementation is required it can help to reach this level.
11 Infant Multivitamins with Iron: 2023
NovaFerrum is a supplement suitable from 4 months. Manufacturers use natural fruit extracts to give these drops a fruit flavor. It doesn’t contain gluten, sugar, alcohol, parabens, synthetic colors, or caffeine and has a little twist of blackcurrant. The dose is 1ml which packs 15mg of iron It can be dispensed directly or mixed with formula or juice for easier consumption.
Enfamil’s liquid multivitamin supplement provides 11mg of iron alongside essential vitamins such as A, C, D, E, B1, B2, and B6. Suitable for infants from 6 months and described as ‘fruit flavored’.
It’s another 1ml dose which is easy to dispense through the dropper or you can mix with formula or in food. One important factor is that this is not vegan according to the manufacturer due to the Vitamin D contained. It is however free from milk.
Starting from just 4 months of age, this supplement offers your little one 6mg of iron, enriched with zinc and Vitamin C to support iron absorption and also support your baby’s immune system. This is a simple 0.5ml dose and for vegan parents, this product is also vegan-friendly too!
Designed with the tiniest members of your family. For those aged 3-6 months, just a 0.5ml dose is recommended. From 7 months onward, a 1ml dose is recommended with contains 10mg of iron. Packed with Vitamin C and B12, it’s a comprehensive boost for their budding systems. Plus, it’s flavorless which might just make it more easily accepted by even the fussiest toddlers.
This supplement provides a range of vitamins and minerals containing Vitamins A, C, D, E, and B Vitamins; B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12. Additionally, it includes key minerals like Folate, Zinc, and Copper. Each 5ml dose delivers 4mg of iron and can be mixed into formula or water. While the dosage volume might be a challenge for younger babies, it could be more suitable for older children. This product is vegetarian but not vegan due to the Vitamin D supplement contained.
Perfect for your toddler, this product is recommended from 2 years old. Each daily sachet delivers 5mg of iron complemented by 80mg of Vitamin C. Importantly, Vitamin C not only nourishes and provides immune support but also aids in the absorption of iron, ensuring your little one gets the most from each dose. If you’re looking for a plant-based option this is also vegan. Plus, the apple flavor is a delightful touch for young taste buds!
From 6 months onwards, this product offers more than just iron. Each 1ml dose provides a solid 10mg of iron, with a lineup of essential vitamins, including; C, D3, E, B1, B2, and B6. It has a kid-friendly grape flavor and for parents keeping an eye on ingredient quality, It boasts 70% organic ingredients. Plus, it’s vegan-friendly.
Suitable from 4 months, this product emerges is a convenient choice for parents. With a straightforward 1ml dose which contains 10mg of iron, it’s especially easier to introduce to the younger ones. It has a slight cherry flavor and a certified organic badge. It is also free from Preservatives, Gluten, Parabens, Artificial Colors, and Artificial Flavors. However, just as a note I couldn’t find out whether it is vegan.
This product features Ferrochel®, a unique form of iron known for its potentially higher absorption and better tolerability than standard iron salts. Designed for children from 12 months and up, this product delivers 3.5mg of iron in every 1ml dose. It is also vegan and has a grape flavor.
Suitable from 3 years
These Kids Iron Gummies are more than just a tasty treat. They have a strawberry flavor and each teddy-shaped gummy provides 2mg of iron — a tad on the lower side, but boosted with added Vitamin C to maximize absorption. Plus, it’s good to note that these gummies have the Vegan Society’s seal of approval
These cute animal-shaped tablets come in an orange flavour, making them a hit with the little ones. Each serving, which is two tablets, provides 5mg of iron along with a host of vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin A, B complex, C, and Zinc. They also include the ingredients spirulina and broccoli.
However, the need to take two tablets might not be ideal for every child, especially the younger or more fussy ones. On the plus side, they’re vegan, free from gluten and dairy, and have no artificial additives.
5 Plant-based Iron-rich Foods for Infants
Breast milk and formula provide all the iron that your baby needs in the first 6 months of life. By around six months of age, the iron that they have stored up before birth combined with breast or formula milk starts to reduce. This can mean that they may be at risk of iron deficiency.
Here are some of the best natural sources of iron for vegan and plant-based families;
- Fortified infant cereals: A common first food, which typically contains iron and also Vitamin B (Thiamin)
- Beans and pulses: These are an excellent plant-based source of iron for your little one. This includes foods such as chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans and white beans.
- Green leafy vegetables: Spinach, kale, and chard can also add additional iron to your infant’s diet. They are also a great source of calcium to support strong bones.
- Tofu: There are so many different styles of tofu that you can offer to your little one. You can easily mash tofu because of its soft texture, or offer it as a finger food. It also contains calcium to support bone development.
- Sweet potatoes: These great toddler foods are rich in several nutrients, including iron and Vitamin C.
Picky Eaters and low iron.
As babies start to do their own thing and become toddlers, they can get a bit fussy with food and become a little picky. This can be a tough time for us parents, especially when the little ones say “nope” or refuse to eat foods that we provide that are rich in iron. Don’t worry as this is generally a normal phase of development but over this time it might mean they not getting all the essential nutrients they need and may be missing out on a little bit of iron.
If you are worried that your little one isn’t eating a balanced diet then you may need an iron supplement to support their nutritional needs during this time. I would always suggest to speak to your child’s pediatrician or a health professional if you are concerned.
How do I know if my baby has an iron deficiency?
Babies who have iron deficiency may show signs of;
- Slow weight gain.
- Pale skin.
- No appetite.
- Irritability (cranky, fussy).
If you are concerned that your baby may have an iron deficiency then speak with your doctor as you’re little one need to have a blood test.
What’s the difference between iron deficiency and anemia?
These two words might be used interchangeably but they are not the same thing. Iron deficiency can usually be supported by giving an infant multivitamin with iron and including iron-rich foods in their diet. However, iron deficiency anemia may require medication from your doctor to help to return iron levels to within the normal range.
Vitamin C and iron absorption
Vitamin C plays a crucial role in enhancing iron absorption, especially for non-heme iron, the type of iron found in plant-based foods. When consumed together, Vitamin C can bind with non-heme iron. This makes it easier to absorb by the body. Non-heme iron might not absorb as effectively as heme iron (found in animal products), so this can be helpful.
So, by including Vitamin C-rich foods with iron rich foods can help iron absorption.
Can my baby have too much iron?
Yes, there is an upper limit for iron, and if your baby has too much this can lead to toxicity and adverse health effects.
Consuming excessively high levels of iron, which is only likely via dietary supplements, can lead to symptoms such as stomach pain and constipation. It’s crucial to make sure that if you give your baby any supplement that it’s right for them.
Ensuring that our little ones receive the right balance of vitamins and minerals is so important for their overall health and development. While a vegan diet offers numerous benefits and if supplemented correctly is amazing for infants, it’s essential to be aware if there may be potential nutrient gaps.
The best multivitamins can play a crucial role in complementing your little ones’ diet by filling in any nutritional gaps. I would always suggest to look out for a vitamin with no artificial sweeteners or added sugar.
Remember to store vitamin supplements safely out of the reach of children. It’s important to note that this information is generic and does not replace professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best dietary choices and supplements for your child’s unique needs and don’t exceed the recommended doses.
Hannah is an Expert Registered Dietitian specialising in Vegan Family Nutrition and Cows Milk Protein Allergy.
She is a respected figure in the field of nutrition and a captivating speaker and sought after media spokesperson being featured in esteemed publications including the Sunday Times, Independent and Huffington Post.
- Registered Dietitian
- First Class Degree in Nutrition
- Over 15 years experience working in the field of nutrition
- Respected Media Spokesperson both in the UK & USA; quoted online, TV and in local and international news
- Writer & Researcher, supporting the BDA and PEN Nutrition