Breastfeeding and Iron Intake - Is Iron-Supplementation Necessary

Food and Diet Related Feb 5, 2021

If you are breastfeeding, and iron along with other nutrients have been a source of concern, it is vital for you to know that the right diet of a healthy breastfeeding mum should ideally contain a well-balanced portion of calcium, iron, minerals, and other vitamins.

Breastfeeding and Iron Deficiency

The cause of concern lies in the fact that even if you are deficient in iron, the breast milk would generally be nutritious enough. Surprisingly, it is the mother who will face the brunt, since she will already be low in iron, and breastfeeding will further deplete her of the nutrient, making her anemic.

Experts in the subject are of the opinion that it is right for the nursing mother to be concerned about her supplies of iron, especially if iron levels are already low.

Research shows that it is your age that will determine the amount of iron you will need when breastfeeding. To be more specific, it is recommended that you consume around 10 mg of iron a day if you are between 14 and 18 years of age.

For women in the age group of 19 to 50 years, around 9 mg a day is the required dosage.

Our tip: It is always advisable to get your daily iron quotient from your diet. Having it in the form of external supplements could hurt your digestive system.

Learn more about nausea, headaches, and hair loss while nursing.

Top Foods to Boost Iron Levels

Here, we have given a list of the food groups you can include in your diet to ensure that you are fine while breastfeeding, and iron doesn’t remain a concern.


You can include some vegetables that are especially high in their iron content. Some of the common vegetables include:

  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach.
  • Pumpkin.
  • Lentils.
  • Kidney beans.
  • Chickpeas.

Whole grains and cereals

The likes of iron-fortified cereals, pasta, and bread are a good source of whole grains that give a rich supply of iron for breastfeeding mothers.

At times, iron, especially the non-heme one is not absorbed readily by the body. You can improve the absorption of iron by eating fruits that are rich in vitamin C, such as kiwis, grapefruit juice, oranges and strawberries.

oatmeal, oats


Experts vouch for the high iron content contained in meat, especially in organ meat such as liver, carrying something like 5.2 to 9.9 mg of iron per serving. You can also consume more duck, lamb and chicken.


Eggs are another source of iron that can be incorporated as an integral part of your diet when nursing. Mothers who are breastfeeding can include at least 1 egg a day for breakfast.


Seafood such as shellfish is known to be very high in iron. Just consider the fact that a 3-oz can of clams carries around 23 mg of iron while 3-oz of cooked oysters contain around 10.2 mg of iron.

By Jasmin Pannu


Tracy Behr

A homeschooling mother of two, breastfeeding helper, and lover of all things natural!

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