The AAP recommends varying amounts of iron based on a child’s age:
- Term, healthy infants have sufficient iron for the first 4 months of life. Because human breast milk contains very little iron, breastfed infants should be supplemented with 1 mg/kg per day of oral iron from 4 months of age until iron-rich foods (such as iron-fortified cereals) are introduced.
- Formula-fed infants will receive adequate iron from formula and complementary foods. Whole milk should not be used before 12 months.
- Infants 6 to 12 months of age need 11 mg/day of iron a day. When infants are given complementary foods, red meat and vegetables with high iron content should be introduced early. Liquid iron supplements can be used if iron needs are not met by formula and complementary foods.
- Toddlers 1 to 3 years of age need 7 mg per day of iron. It is best if this comes from foods such as red meats, iron-rich vegetables, and fruits with vitamin C, which enhance iron absorption. Liquid supplements and chewable multivitamins can also be used.
- All preterm infants should have at least 2 mg/kg of iron per day until 12 months of age, which is the amount of iron in iron-fortified formulas. Preterm infants fed human milk should receive an iron supplement of 2 mg/kg per day by 1 month of age; this should be continued until the infant is weaned to iron-fortified formula or begins eating foods that supply the required 2 mg/kg of iron.