You toddler needs iron to power their growth and development. It’s a key element in ensuring your toddler stays healthy as it works like an internal taxi, delivering oxygen via hemoglobin (a large part of a red blood cell) around their body to grow new tissue and bone marrow. So, what does it mean to be iron deficient and what are the signs of anemia in toddlers?
Anemia in toddlers comes from an imbalance of iron levels
It’s when there’s not enough iron being absorbed in the blood to accommodate the body’s needs. Anemia in toddlers means there’s less iron being stored and fewer red blood cells growing. An iron deficiency can cause health issues like anemia, which can leave your little one feeling constantly tired, short of breath, and in the longer term can affect growth and motor skills development.
Signs of anemia in toddlers to watch out for
In mild cases, it can be hard to notice any signs of iron deficiency—especially in young toddlers. There are a few possible signs of anemia to be on the lookout for:
- They have a poor appetite: They’re not hungry or are disinterested in eating.
- There’s an overall lack of energy: Is your child more fatigued than usual? Iron deficient anemia can make them feel weak and tired.
- Their appearance is pale: As hemoglobin levels drop, your little one may lose color or look washed out.
- They complain of a headache: Iron deficiency can cause headaches and lightheadedness.
What to do if you think your child is anemic
If you think that your toddler is being affected by iron deficiency anemia, you should check with your pediatrician first and foremost. Iron deficiency isn’t something that should be self-diagnosed or treated without a professional weighing in. Your child’s doctor will provide recommendations if they think anemia might be the culprit.
Normally, an iron-deficient diet can be boosted through a combination of what your child eats and by using supplements. Toddlers aren’t typically fond of the iron-rich nourishment of a perfectly cooked steak, kale shakes, or sautéed mushrooms. But there are other toddler-friendly foods that can help to satisfy their needs.
Kid-friendly iron sources:
- Red meat, like ground beef
- Dark green vegetables like kale, spinach, and peas, iron-enriched pastas and cereals and dried fruits
Toddlers actually absorb more iron from red meat than other sources, and the addition of vitamin C in their diets will help with iron absorption. Iron deficiencies can also be handled through supplements like iron drops. Your doctor will identify the right quantity to ensure your little one gets the boost they need.
Anemia in toddlers and children can be treated
You’ll be relieved to know that iron deficient anemia can be treated through the use of supplements and dietary changes. Once your doctor has diagnosed it, they may recommend a toddler formula or milk drink to give your child need the boost they need.
When your child has the iron they need, they’re super-charged and ready to power through this exciting period of growth. Discover ways that you can harness their sense of wonder through learning or these activities to spark their thinking.