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Nutrients that are needed by your baby during weaning

Your baby should be given certain foods to make sure they receive the nutrients they need while weaning. This will help your baby grow and develop.

Parents normally begin weaning their baby at around 6 months.


Iron is important to help your baby grow and develop. It is an important part of the pigment in red blood cells called haemoglobin. This carries oxygen and prevents iron deficiency anaemia.

Your baby needs to get iron from solid foods from about 6 months old. This is because their stores of iron are depleted.

Good food sources of iron

Iron from meat is easily absorbed.

The best sources are:

  • beef
  • pork
  • lamb

Non-meat sources

Iron in non-meat sources is not as easily absorbed as meat sources without vitamin C.

Non-meat sources include:

  • eggs
  • baked beans, lentils, peas
  • dark green leafy vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, spinach
  • cereals with added iron
  • dried fruits, such as raisins, sultanas, apricots

Iron in your child's diet

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron when eaten at the same time as non-meat sources.

Good food sources of vitamin C include:

  • oranges or mandarins
  • plums
  • berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
  • kiwi fruit
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • peppers

Vitamin D

Give your baby 5 micrograms of vitamin D3 as a supplement every day from birth to 12 months if they are:

  • breastfed
  • taking less than 300ml of infant formula a day

All babies who are being breastfed should continue to get a vitamin D supplement after birth. This is even if you took vitamin D during pregnancy.

You do not need to give your baby a vitamin D supplement if they are fed more than 300ml of infant formula a day. This is because there has been an increase in the amount of vitamin D added to infant formula.

There are many suitable infant vitamin D3 supplements available to buy in Ireland. Use a supplement that contains vitamin D only.

Omega 3

Omega 3 is important for brain and eye development.

Oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel or sardines are good sources of omega 3. These can be tinned, fresh or frozen.

Include 2 portions of oily fish a week from 7 months of age.

Page last reviewed: 13 October 2022
Next review due: 13 October 2025