The importance of iron in the baby’s weaning diet should not be underestimated. Many parents spend the first few months of weaning letting their babies get used to healthy fruits and vegetables, and forget all about the other food groups including foods high in iron. Iron is a very important mineral needed for red blood cell production, energy and metabolism. Recent research has shown a lack of iron in the early years can have a long term and possibly irreversible effect on brain development, meaning if infants are not given adequate iron foods their IQ may be compromised.
Babies are born with approximately 6 months of their own supply of iron. Thereafter (and around weaning age) foods containing iron need to be introduced. Foods high in iron include fortified baby foods (check the label; the fortified ones normally aren’t organic I’m afraid), animal foods such as red meat, chicken and fish, eggs, legumes, dried fruit and in smaller amounts, green vegetables. Formula companies would like you to believe that baby formulas can supply all the iron an infant needs, but weaning is all about setting up healthy eating habits for life. Try to include some high iron foods in the baby’s weaning diet every day.
For more information, the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has released a thorough report on Iron and Health: http://www.sacn.gov.uk/pdfs/sacn_iron_and_health_report_web.pdf