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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Quinn

Breastmilk to Grain for a Baby's Iron Intake

A nursing mother produces more iron in the first six months than the second six months.

Simultaneously, a newborn baby's requirements for iron are greater in the first six months than the second six months.

Newborn babies get their primary source of iron from their mothers, as do all lactating species. It is normal for mothers to primarily breastfeed for the first six months. Traditionally, babies are not given food until they grow teeth and therefore can begin eating.

The first front teeth, or top and bottom incisors, become visible in the mouth around four to six months. Herbivores, such as rabbits, squirrels, and zebra, chew with these front teeth.

After about a year, the next teeth that sprout from the gums are the molars. Across the board, most omnivores, carnivores, and herbivores have a set or more. Molars are shaped well to grind foods such as leaves, berries, and fish, but they also nicely tackle the denser and harder foods such as grain and nuts.

As the molars mature, the baby's salivary glands begin to produce and release ptyalin into the mouth. Ptyalin is an enzyme which aids in the digestion of starch. Known also as a salivary amylase, ptyalin is a biological catalyst speeding up the rate of metabolic reactions as the body's natural process.

While the molars are still developing, a baby can practice chewing soft foods such as bananas and cucumbers, and then gradually try harder foods such as celery and carrots. These foods help the teeth and gums strengthen during the development.

When the molars are mature, the salivary glands secret ptyalin, and the baby can now process grain and starches.

The baby now has a colorful pallet of iron-rich options!


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