Let’s be honest here, before we go into the best ways to make a liquid iron supplement taste better (and get your kiddo to take it), we should probably start by answering the burning question: “Why do I need to take an Iron supplement to begin with?”
According to this clinical report: “Breast milk contains highly bio-available iron but in amounts that are not sufficient to meet the needs of infants older than 4 to 6 months.”
The TL:DR (too long, didn't read) version of this answer is that your body is constantly regenerating and creating new red blood cells through complex biological processes, and they need iron to complete this regeneration!
While there are many foods with iron for babies, toddlers and adults alike, it is still one of the most common nutrients that people are deficient in.
According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency affects as much as 30% of the world’s population.
Common Symptoms of an Iron-Deficiency:
These are only a few of the many symptoms that can arise when you’re iron deficient.
An iron deficiency leads to a lack of oxygen and nutrients in the blood and will lead to overall weakness.
- Constant Fatigue
- Chapped Lips
- Brittle Hair
- Struggle to Concentrate
- Ridges Along Fingernails
- Dark Circles Under Eyes and/or Paleness
- Frequent infections
- Endurance Decreases
How Much Iron Do May Baby And I Need?
Check out the handy table below from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. You can also read more about what they say about iron here.
|Birth to 6 months||0.27 mg*||0.27 mg*|
|7–12 months||11 mg||11 mg|
|1–3 years||7 mg||7 mg|
|>4–8 years||10 mg||10 mg|
|9–13 years||8 mg||8 mg|
|14–18 years||11 mg||15 mg||27 mg||10 mg|
|19–50 years||8 mg||>18 mg||27 mg||9 mg|
|51+ years||8 mg||8 mg|
The Best Ways to Make A Liquid Iron Supplement Taste Better
We’ve covered the reasons your baby and you need iron, as well as things to look for if you’re deficient, so now it’s time to get down to the good stuff... how to make your liquid iron supplement taste good!
While many people complain about the ‘metallic’ taste, we do have to remind you that iron is a metal ion so this is not an uncommon description.
However, we’ve gathered a few hacks that will help you get this essential supplement down!
Add It To Food
The best types of food that will help to mask the flavor of your liquid iron supplement include things like: applesauce; various fruit & veggie purees; chocolate syrup; honey*; maple syrup.
AVOID mixing your liquid iron supplement into yogurt or any other milk type product as it can limit absorption.*
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the spores in honey from bacterium Clostridium botulinum, giving honey to a baby that is less than 12 months old is not advised.
While rare, it can cause botulism, a possibly life-threatening by affecting the nerve function leading to weakness and possible paralysis. Symptoms of botulism include constipation, weak cries and difficulty sucking.
Mix It Into a Drink
One of the easiest ways to make your liquid iron supplement taste better is to mix it with a liquid of some kind.
The most common suggestion is orange juice; however, apple juice, grape juice, and any other kind of juice with high levels of Vitamin C will help with absorption as well as cover the metallic taste.
Ideally, you'll want to get young children to eat a variety of foods that contain iron like beans (kidney, lima, navy, black, pinto, soy and lentils), as well as greens (collard greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach and turnip greens).
Other foods with iron for babies and toddlers include vegetables like broccoli, swiss chard, asparagus, parsley, watercress, brussels sprouts as well as meats like chicken. turkey, and lean red meats.
We here at UpSpring know it can be a struggle to get your baby, toddler or older kids to eat the foods we all know are good for them.
Hopefully with a little creativity, you can incorporate a supplement or iron-rich group of foods to ensure that your baby or child gets the nutrients they need most.