Why is iron-fortified infant cereal required for older infants?
Iron-fortified infant cereal (IFC) is required because:
- it is easy for the infant to digest.
- the consistency can be altered to meet the infant's developmental feeding skills.
- it does not have added salt and sugar; and,
- it is fortified with electrolytic iron which is more easily absorbed by infants than the form of iron used to fortify or enrich adult cereals.
Iron is an essential nutrient for infants. The label should say "Excellent Source of Iron for Infants" or "Excellent Source of Iron and Zinc for Infants."
It is important that infants consume foods that are rich in iron as they begin to eat and rely on solid foods as a significant source of their calories. However, older infants may reach a point in their development where they can chew and swallow foods with more texture, and may object to the consistency of IFC. If this occurs, try mixing the IFC with fruit or serving the meat/meat alternate at lunch and supper. If the older infant continues to refuse IFC, consider using the IFC Muffin and IFC Pancake recipes (last page of "Reimbursable Foods for Infants" located our website) as an option to offer IFC in a form that may be preferred and accepted by older infants. Before serving, be sure that parents have indicated that the baby has first been introduced to all the ingredients. When served, label as IFC Muffins or IFC Pancakes on the infant menu. (The recipes do not credit toward the bread/cracker optional component at snack for infants 8-11 months old.)